Sherman Fairchild Library Celebrates 10th Year Anniversary

Many thanks to the faculty, students, and staff  in our Caltech community who came by the Sherman Fairchild Library on Friday afternoon, January 12th, 2007 to help us celebrate 10 wonderful years.

Kimberly Douglas, University Librarian, opened the festivities by presenting a short synopsis of the original goals of the SFL while touching on several major changes that have come about in the last 10 years. 


Kimberly Douglas, University Librarian 

“An investment in up-to-date information technology in a library that would be accessible to the community as a whole seemed a worthy goal,” noted Kim in her opening remarks.  “Then President Tom Everhart, EAS Division Chair John Seinfeld, and aeronautics professor Brad Sturtevant, who then became the chair of the SFL Library Committee, led the way in convincing the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to give Caltech nearly $10M for the new library.”

“Brad Sturtevant in particular had a clear vision of what was possible and probable in the network era.  He envisioned work areas in which groups of learners/authors would gather around workstations equipped with necessary peripherals and software to access, manipulate and create content.  He wanted to make it possible for readers to capture content whether print or online in a way that enriches their work.  For that reason this library was among the very first in the country to have workstations equipped with scanners distributed throughout the building.  This was desirable to encourage integration of print and electronic content.”

One of the group study rooms on the 2nd floor is named for The Friends of Caltech Libraries – a volunteer organization that has over the years provided numerous gifts to the library.  An exhibit was set up by Shane Clarke, one of our libraries IT people, chronicling the changes we have seen in the size, weight, appearance, etc. of pcs, laptops, discs, and hardware in the last 10 years.

gsr equip

Equipment exhibit in The Friends of Caltech Libraries Group Study Room

We are lucky that individuals connected with the SFL from its inception in January 1997 were able to attend the party. 

Eric and Gordie

Eric Van de Velde, Director, Library Information Technology, and Gordon J. Ellingsen, Project Manager and Engineer in charge of the construction of the SFL building.

Marie and Efraim

Marie Noren, SFL Staff Supervisor, and Efraim Hernandez, SFL Custodian


Guests enjoying the buffet set out on the first floor of the SFL.

memory book

Frank Perry, from Engineering and Construction Management looks over the memory book as Dana Roth, Chemistry Librarian looks on.  The memory book will be sent to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation – it contains stories and pictures encompassing the SFL from January 1997 – January 2007.

It is our wish that the Sherman Fairchild Library will continue to be a gathering place for students who which to meet and work together (utilizing the newly renovated group study rooms).  With continued faculty and student support we will remain in the forefront of technological advances, providing the Caltech community with up-to-date electronic services. 

We hope those of you who were able to attend the January 12th party enjoyed the music, food, and exhibits.  For those of you who were unable to attend, you may still visit the library and appreciate the beauty found in the architectural details, admire the Noltebahn paintings on the second floor, the Kokopelli wall hanging on the third floor, and look through the leisurely reading section (also on the third floor). 

Our library staff thank you for your participation in making the SFL anniversary party a success and we hope to see you often in the library!