Interview with Jerry Stephens, October 29, 2016

Project: Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Jerry Stephens was the Director of the Mervyn H. Sterne Library at the University of Alabama Birmingham from 1985 to 2014. In this interview he talks about beginning his career as an accountant at the University of Alabama Birmingham Library, and the event that lead to him obtaining his degree in library science. He talks about his mentor, Dr. Paul Spence. He discusses the challenges he faced at UAB, including the expansion of the library, their work with OCLC and SOLINET, and the conversion from card catalogs to an online system. He discusses staff and faculty attitudes toward new technology at the library, and how the library assisted patrons through this transition.

Stephens discusses some of the positive aspects of joining consortia like ASERL, including greater access to collections through resource sharing, and more opportunities for small libraries to take part in large organizations like ARL. He describes the culture of ASERL in its early days, and the relationships between its members. He talks about the early meetings, changing the membership dues, and the group's transition from volunteer-only to a more structured organization. He discusses the benefits of interlibrary loan and cooperative collection management through consortia.

Stephens talks about the creation of the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries and the Alabama Virtual Library. He describes the process, from forming the idea, to securing funding from the legislature, to implementation. He talks about how they mobilized the public to petition the legislature for money, and describes their reasons for wanting to create these coalitions. Stephens discusses how libraries can prove their value to people who believe that the Internet replaces libraries and librarians. He talks about the importance of "vetted" or authenticated information, and the importance of branding library services so that patrons know who is providing those services.

Interview Accession

2016oh410_aserl007

Interviewee Name

Jerry Stephens

Interviewer Name

Jennifer Schatz Bartlett

Interview Date

2016-10-29

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Stephens, Jerry Interview by Jennifer Schatz Bartlett. 29 Oct. 2016. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Stephens, J. (2016, October 29). Interview by J. S. Bartlett. Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Stephens, Jerry, interview by Jennifer Schatz Bartlett. October 29, 2016, Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt70zp3vwq21


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