258 THE HISTORY OF WAKE FOREST COLLEGE
us come half as close to deserving that encomium as Mrs. Crittenden
has, no one need worry about the library, for it will assuredly rise to
the high place it should occupy―swiftly, easily, joyously rise." Mrs.
Crittenden remained with the library for several years as director of
the Baptist Collection.
To succeed her the administration chose Carlton P. West, who had
been a member of the social science faculty since 1928. West had
done his undergraduate work at Boston University and held the
master's degree from Yale. He was known for his careful and metic-
ulous approach to assignments of every kind. It had been he who
prepared the voluminous report instrumental in the establishment of
the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Wake Forest in 1941, and he was its
moving spirit for years, many as its permanent secretary. As a lecturer
in history he was so precise that students could take down almost
every word, and he had a keen interest in the library.
To prepare him for his new job the college sent him to library
school at Chapel Hill for a year. He recalls that "although on the
threshold of middle age, I was fresh from library school with a bright-
eyed determination to strengthen the collection and to improve
salaries." In one of his first acts he "horrified" the Bursar's Office by
proposing a 1947-48 library budget of $30,630―almost twice that of
the previous year. He ultimately got it, "despite cries of dismay, even
outrage, as well as vehement questions such as, `Why does the library
have to cost that much'?" Although the book budget remained at the
low level of five-thousand dollars, West was able to make elementary
improvements in the reading rooms by applying new paint, installing
fluorescent lighting, and replacing the tattered window shades with
venetian blinds. Acquisitions were still slow, and at the time of Dr.
Tribble's arrival the library's holdings amounted to just over 76,000
books and 449 periodicals.
In the first decade of his service, West reported later, "advancement
of the library was largely a matter of struggling, year by year, to get
more funds for books and to raise staff compensation to a level at
which there could be hope of recruiting competent personnel, almost
impossible under prevailing conditions." That progress was made is
shown by the fact that the budget for 1955-56 allocated twenty-
thousand dollars for books.
By 1950 the library staff had realized that the stack room was
exceeding its capacity and could no longer accept new purchases.
Previous Page Next Page