A Brief History of the Lake-Sumter Community College Libraries

Lake-Sumter Junior College was authorized by the 1961 Florida Legislature as a comprehensive, public junior college serving Lake and Sumter Counties. The college began operating as part of the state community college system on January 2, 1962. Classes began September 5, 1962, with 137 day students and 225 evening students.

Newspaper clipping--first LSCC library student


Lake-Sumter Junior College (LSJC) opened on the campus of Leesburg High School in Lake County, Florida. On November 5, 1962 the Leesburg campus library opened in the balcony of the high school's Theatre Auditorium. The original collection included 800 books, 86 periodicals and 10 newspapers. The first library staff members were Geraldine Hubert, Librarian, Ginger Gehrke, Assistant Librarian and Ruby Van Dyke, Student Assistant. The library not only served the college but was open to the public a total of 42 hours per week.


Spring of 1963 brought new life to LSJC. Early in the year the Federal Government selected LSJC library as a government depository. The college was honored because at the time most of the institutions selected were four-year universities and large public libraries.

Another major development was the library's acquistion of a photocopy machine. This copier used special paper and could copy from any document. It was the first machine of its kind in Lake County. Later in the year the library acquired phonograph records and a player, a pamphlet file and 300 new books.

By the end of the year, the book collection had increased by 3,000 volumes. The magazine collection had increased to 92 titles with issues going back to the 50's. There were also several new staff members and the library hours had expanded to 46 per week. A new librarian, Delbert Copeland, was hired to work in the library in the evenings.

In that same year, a bond issue was voted into Florida's budget that would fund new facilities for colleges and universities in the state. This ensured that the future campus of Lake-Sumter Junior College would open on the shores of Silver Lake in the Fall of 1964 with four new buildings. One of these buildings was to be a library.


Geraldine Hubert Delbert Copeland Construction for the new buildings on the college site began in 1964. In addition, the college underwent its first Self Study for the Florida State Department of Education and Southern Association of Community Colleges. One of the recommendations of the self-study was for the college to merge with Johnson Junior College, an African-American Junior College in the area.

In July, the head of Library Services, Geraldine Hubert, married and left LSJC for Brevard Junior College. Delbert Copeland, who was serving as evening librarian, was hired for the position and stayed in it until he retired in 1984. Claude Smith was hired as the evening Librarian and the staff of student assistants increased to three.


Leesburg Library & Administration Building in 1965 Helen Sergeson
In January of 1965 the college moved to its new permanent location on the shores of Silver Lake in Leesburg. In addition to the library building, the Silver Lakers' new campus had 2 classroom buildings and teaching auditorium/language lab. The administration shared the library building until an administration building could be added. The library/administration building was placed on the shores of a small lake complete with alligator.

In August, Helen Sergeson was hired as the full-time Assistant Librarian. Also this year, Johnson Junior College merged with LSJC and added its small library collection, about 1,800 volumes, to LSJC's collection. Johnson Junior College was authorized in 1961 to serve the black citizens of Lake and Sumter Counties and at the time of the merger, served more than 400 students of Lake, Sumter, Hernando, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties.


In January of 1966 the library reached a milestone with the acquisition of its 10,000th book. The serials collection included 256 magazines and 19 newspapers.


The administrative offices moved out of the library and to their own building. Despite the extra space that the library received after the administration moved out, the library's collection was outgrowing the building due to the increase in students, classes, and curriculum changes.


The collection consisted of 28,000 books and 30,000 government documents, 300 magazines and 28 newspapers.


The name of the the college was changed permanently to Lake-Sumter Community College by the State Legislature to reflect the college's mission of service to the community.


By 1971, the collection had grown to 32,000 books, 6,000 pamphlets, 300 periodicals, and 20 newspapers. The library also had microfilm, filmstrips, recordings, artprints and films. This year also saw plans being made for an expansion of the library building.


The construction for the library's expansion began in August of 1972. By then the book collection had exceeded 35,000 volumes.


Leesburg Library in 1973 with new wings on either side of the building In May of 1973 the construction was completed and the library staff moved the library collection into the new space. A wing was added to each side of the building. The South side was used for additional stacks while the North side became a Media center. The addition totaled 7,200 square feet. The library was also recarpeted. Doug Trabert, Media Specialist

Later this year the official title of the Library was changed to the Learning Resources Center. It consisited of two departments, a Library and an Instructional Media Center. Douglas Trabert was hired as Media Specialist and an office support position was added to the Media Center staff.


A 33% increase was noted in the number of library cards issued, with 1182 cards issued in the 1974-1975 academic year.


New stacks were purchased to accomodate the 47,000 volume collection.


The eighties brought much change to the LSCC library. In 1980 the collection size had grown to nearly 48,000 volumes, 356 magazines and newspapers, and 40,000 government documents. Library staff included the learning resources director, a librarian, a media specialist and four support staff.


In March 1981 the library staff decided to convert the collection from Dewey Decimal System to the Library of Congress Classification System. Several employees were hired to help with the conversion.


After 18 years of service, Helen Sergeson retired as Assistant Librarian. Her replacement, Denise English, was hired in August. The Assistant Librarian was responsible for cataloging, government documents, and assisted with reference and library instruction. Grant funding was received to purchase 225 books and several periodical subscriptions supporting the new nursing program. The Media Center added Cablevision services, which could be broadcast to classrooms using the closed-circuit television network.


The conversion from Dewey to LC was completed this year. Faced with a greatly reduced budget the collection grew very little. The Instructional Media Center, however, extended the closed circut video hook-up to all buildings on campus and added a broadcast program. This network enhanced the provision of audiovisual resources in the classroom.


After 20 years as library director, Delbert Copeland retired in July of this year. Denise English became Head Librarian and served as acting library director, with responsibility for the Library and Instructional Media Center. A part-time cataloger was hired.


A major reorganization in educational support services occurred when the position of Director of Learning Resources was reestablished. Larry Sgro was named director, uniting the Library, Media Center, Learning Center, and TV station in one department. The library began a subscription to the NewsBank service, a full-text newspaper collection on microfiche and the library's first electronic CD-ROM index.

As part of a statewide effort to automate Florida community college libraries, the College Center for Library Automation (CCLA) was created in 1989 with the purpose of providing service and leadership in statewide automated library resources. Planning began for a statewide community college network that would provide an automated library catalog and circulation system for the 28 public community colleges.


A hydraulic stack moving system was used to move fully loaded stacks By 1990, the book collection had grown to nearly 52,000 volumes, 362 magazine and newspaper subscriptions and nearly 75,000 government document items. Library staff included the learning resources director, a full-time librarian, two part-time librarians, three library support staff and one media technician. A major library renovation occurred in the summer of 1990, and included new carpet and replacement of ceiling tiles. The circulation desk, serials collection and government documents collection were relocated, to update the appearance of the library and to make collections more accessible to users. 23 students were hired to assist library staff with the packing and moving of furniture, shelving and collections.


The Learning Resources Department and the position of learning resources director were eliminated in June of 1991. Denise English, as Head Librarian, retained managerial responsibilities for the library and media center. The collection was weeded extensively during the 1991 - 1992 academic year and nearly 3,000 outdated and damaged volumes discarded. In preparation for joining the online statewide network for Florida community colleges, administered by CCLA (College Center for Library Automation), the library began converting bibliographic records to MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) format, using OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) conversion services.


The LSCC library joined CCLA's Library Information Network for Community Colleges (LINCC), in September of 1992. LINCC was designed to provide an online catalog, technical services management, circulation, serials, and acquisitions support for the Florida community college system, with modules to be added in succession over several years.


The LINCC OPAC (online public access catalog) and cataloging modules were brought online in January 1993, following extensive training in online catalog use and technical services (cataloging and processing) procedures. Staff was also trained on the use of LINCCMail, which allowed library staff to send e-mail messages to other LINCC users, CCLA, and users at FIRN sites. LINCC also provided the Grolier Academic American Encyclopedia, the first full-text online resource delivered statewide. In October 1993, the library began to add records for the federal documents depository to the LINCC catalog. In the fall of 1993, the Media Technician position was eliminated, and library staff assumed responsibility for media services. Library personnel struggled to maintain basic audiovisual services, but met with great difficulties in setting up and maintaining equipment, graphic arts production, closed-circuit television services, and other media services. A part-time Media Technician position was re-created in February 1994, and a student was hired to fill the position. The position was again expanded to full-time in July 1994.


The LINCC network provided text-based Internet access In January 1994 limited Internet access was added to the LINCC Information Gateway menu, with a series of menus available for accessing library catalogs and other frequently used resources. The menu-based access was provided via the text-based Lynx browser.

Library services were disrupted with the noisy remodelling of library restrooms in the summer of 1994. In November 1994, after a thorough review of circulation policies and procedures, the LINCC circulation module was brought online.


In January 1995, browser access to Internet was added to LINCC menu, using the text-only Lynx web browser. Internet mail was added for library staff, along with bookmark (web favorites) and open telnet capability.

Another major renovation occured in the summer of 1995 when asbestos was removed from the library ceiling and the building's air-conditioning unit was converted to the campus wide chiller system. Library services were severely disrupted. Librarians developed and taught two one-credit courses, LIS 1002: Electronic Research and LIS 2003: Introduction to Internet Resources in the fall of 1995. The LINCC serials module was activated in September 1995, necessitating changes in periodicals check-in and processing procedures.

In December 1995 CCLA began providing access to online indexing tools using statewide funding, with the release of UMI Newspaper Abstracts and Periodical Abstracts. These resources offered bibliographic information, indexing and brief abstracts for articles published in more than 1,600 periodicals, approximately 70 television programs and NPR radio programs, and 30 U. S. newspapers.


A campus network connection for graphical Internet access was installed in early 1996 at the Leesburg campus. The libraries web site was created in November 1996, with five pages and a link to the course materials for LIS 2003, a classroom-based Internet research course. The library site was the first departmental web site on the LSCC web server.

The index page for the first version of the library's website

The first full-text periodicals database available to LINCC libraries was released in August 1996. The UMI Periodical Abstracts Research database, containing more than 600 full-text titles, was funded by a unique cooperative database acquisitions agreement among LINCC libraries.

Lake-Sumter opened a branch campus in Sumter County in 1995 and in 1996, the Sumter campus library began operations from a small closet, with 10 hours per week of service. The branch library was staffed with a student assistant.


In May 1997, DLLI (the Distance Learning Library Initiative) was created as a cooperative effort of the State Board of Community Colleges, the Board of Regents, and the public libraries of Florida through collaboration with the State Library of Florida. The program provided online resources via FirstSearch, a statewide courier, a reference and referral center, and fostered reciprocal borrowing among higher education libraries in Florida. The FirstSearch databases replaced and enhanced the UMI databases provided by CCLA.


In July 1998 Denise English, Head Librarian, was made Director of Library Services, overseeing all LSCC campus libraries. Librarians taught the first online course offered at LSCC, LIS 2004: Introduction to Internet Research, in the fall of 1998. LIS 1002: Electronic Resources, a face-to-face class, was first offered as a one-credit class in fall 1998.

In the fall of 1998 the Sumter campus library was moved from its closet-sized space to a classroom, which provided much needed shelf space. The library was staffed 15 hours per week with library staff from the Leesburg campus. CCLA installed a Document Delivery workstation, which provided Ariel software for resource sharing, at the Leesburg library in October 1998.

A classroom was consctructed in the Leesburg campus library to accomodate information literacy instruction and graphic arts classes. The University of Central Florida (UCF), as part of their 2 + 2 program, began to offer 4-year degrees in Elementary Education and Nursing at the Leesburg campus. In support of UCF students, the UCF library installed two PC workstations at the Leesburg campus library. Leesburg library staff provided reference and library instruction for the UCF students.


The original South Lake campus library The South Lake campus opened in Clermont on September 29, 1999. All campus functions operated from a multi-purpose building. This building initially served LSCC students, faculty and staff. A large classroom-sized room was designated for library use and five computer workstations were installed for student use. Betsy Hoagg and Pete Semple joined the LSCC library staff in October 1999 as the first South Lake librarian and library assistant. Planning proceded for development of a joint-use library to serve the College as well as UCF students, faculty and staff.

A joint-use agreement was finalized with the Sumter County Library System in July 1999 for the operation of a shared library facility at the Sumter campus.


Clark Maxwell Library and Student Services Building, Sumter Campus The Clark Maxwell, Jr. Library and Student Services Center was opened and dedicated in January 2000 at the Sumter campus. Approximately one-third of the 16,000 square-foot building space was dedicated to library use. The remainder of the building provided classrooms, administrative office space and meeting rooms. This library was constructed for the purpose of serving as a joint-use facility for LSCC and the Sumter County Public Library System. The Sumter County Library Coordinator and administrative staff were housed in the library space. Dr. Richard Morrill joined the library staff in February 2000 as the first librarian at the Sumter campus library.

In the fall of 2000, reference librarians began using instructional modules that teach basic information literacy competencies for ENC 1101. A pre-test and post-test were developed to measure student achievement. In August 2000 five new databases funded by DLLI were offered through FirstSearch.

The libraries' website was updated with CSS and greatly expanded with the addition of online versions of many of the libraries' instructional handouts. Interactive request forms were added for scheduling library instruction sessions, materials acquisition, and interlibrary loan requests.

The Media Center was moved back under library supervision after several years under the direction of the TV Studio manager.


In January 2001 seven full-text databases funded by CCLA were added, bringing the total to more than 70. In September 2001 FirstSearch databases were charged back to local institutions when DLLI was not funded. In August 2001 a new My Account feature was added to the LINCC Search interface, allowing borrowers to view due dates and fines and renew materials.

A 75% increase in reference questions was logged for the 200-2001 academic year, largely due to South Lake and Sumter campus library activity. Library instruction surveys were conducted to gauge student involvement and satisfaction with information literacy instruction.


In January 2002 the LINCC Search request feature was expanded to allow users to place requests for material located in any community college in the LINCC system. The libraries' annual report shows that in June 2002 college wide collections had grown to 72,025 print and audiovisual items including 10,749 Government Documents. Electronic book subscriptions allow access to 28,816 volumes, and online databases deliver access to thousands of full-text magazine and journal subscriptions. The libraries' web site had grown from an initial five pages to 206 pages in the fall of 2002.

In September 2002, the Leesburg library was again renovated. The carpet was replaced and new furniture ordered to replace the service desk and student seating. The reference computer area was rewired and new tables and chairs installed. A classroom was created in the Media Center, which was dedicated to library instruction and general library/open lab use. Microsoft Office was installed on all publicaccess library computers, and a migration to Microsoft XP as the standard operating system for all library computers.

Lakeside View of the Leesburg Campus Library, 2002

Construction on a second building, serving LSCC and UCF classroom and administrative purposes, was completed at the South Lake campus in March 2002. In the summer of 2002 the library in the original building was renovated. Expanding into an adjacent computer lab doubled library space. Additional shelving was added and space and equipment were reconfigured in a portion of the former lab to provide a library instruction classroom and lab.


Five CCLA-funded databases were eliminated in January 2003 and were charged back to local institutions. Local funding allowed LSCC to retain three of the five databases selected for their significant support of students research needs.

LSCC began participating in the statewide Ask-A-Librarian project in July 2003. The project serves all residents of Florida and provides live chat reference, the ability to co-browse the web and other online resources, and is staffed with librarians from all types of Florida libraries. It also links users to local library e-mail reference services. Reference librarian Rhonda Smith contributed 2 hours per week of service and served on the Virtual Reference Advisory Committee, which guided the project.

Much time and effort was expended in preparing for the activation of Aleph, the client/server-based library management system chosen to replace the outdated direct-wired DRA system. Betsy Hoagg, Nora Rackley and Denise English participated in statewide committee activities involved in customizing Aleph for the LINCC network. Library and media staff prepared for participation in extensive training sessions related to local implementation of the system.

Library staff in 2003
Library staff, 2003
Standing, left to right: Denise English, Rhonda Smith, Suzanne Shaffer, Betsy Hoagg, Nora Rackley, Richard Morrill, Chuck Lewis; seated: Scott Pennington, David Goff, Raechel Gump.

Telecourse videotapes were transferred from the Media Center to library reserves. Library policy was amended to prohibit these tapes from being checked out. Copies are always available for viewing in the libraries. Some telecourses became available online in streaming video format from Annenberg CPB.


The libraries' library management system administered by CCLA was converted on January 12 to the new client/server, web-based Aleph system. In February, the old direct-wired network that supported the DRA system was unplugged and the equipment donated to other college departments or discarded.

The DRA library network was
unplugged in February 2004

Just before the Fall 2004 semester began, the Open Computer Lab at the Leesburg campus was relocated to the library, with 36 workstations placed between the service desk and the reference collection. The graphics classroom was moved to the Fine Arts building and the space it occupied was converted to a quiet study area, with study carrels providing seating for 21.

Rhonda Smith
Lake-Sumter Community College suffered a tragic loss on August 7, 2004 when Rhonda Smith, Reference/Instruction librarian at the Leesburg campus, was killed in a car crash. A memorial service for Rhonda was held in the Leesburg campus Magnolia Room on August 19 and library staff, faculty and other college staff members shared memories, thoughts and feelings. Rhonda is sadly missed by family, friends, and colleagues in Florida and by friends and colleagues from her former residence in Sheffield, England.


Student assistants from the Library and Media Services at the Leesburg campus were consolidated in an effort to achieve greater efficiency. All students were cross-trained to perform a variety of functions, including shelving, materials processing, archives support, media services support, etc. A standardized application form and job description were created for all student workers and a formal training program established.

As part of a college-wide personnel review and establishment of a rank and promotion system for faculty, the issue of faculty status for librarians was reviewed. The outcome, which was supported by the majority of the faculty, reaffirmed faculty status and eligibility for rank and promotion for all professional library staff.

In the spring of 2005, both the Lake County Commission and the LSCC Board of Trustees approved participation in the construction and operation of a partnership library at the South Lake Campus, which will serve LSCC, UCF, and the Lake County Library System. Planning for the facility was set to commence in 2006.


Records for e-books were loaded into LINCC, resulting in a 256% increase in e-book usage. An alarm system was installed at the Leesburg library to protect several exit doors. The Technical Services area was renovated with new shelving and an improved work flow.

Planning began for the construction of a 50,000 square foot joint-use library at the South Lake campus to serve LSCC, UCF, and the Lake County Library System. Five million dollars was received from Lake County and was submitted to the state for an additional five million in matching funds. UCF pledged one million dollars in technology support.

Media Services assumed responsiblity for all classroom technology equipment, including mounted projectors, PCs, etc. Wireless Internet service was installed in the Leesburg library and was made available to the general public as well as students, faculty, and staff.


The libraries experienced a busy academic year in 2006-2007, with library attendance college-wide increasing 20% and reference transactions increasing 17%. The libraries' website was updated, expanded, and converted to Microsoft Active Server Pages, utilizing College website design features. Architectural and policy planning continued for the South Lake Campus joint-use library that will serve LSCC, UCF, and the Lake County Library System.

A Library Technical Specialist position, jointly created by the Sumter County Library System and Lake-Sumter Community College, with the County contributing salary and the College providing benefits, was filled in October 2007. The position provides circulation, reference, and open lab support for basic library functions as well as providing interlibrary loan services for the entire Sumter County system.

Forty seven online databases were purchased by CCLA with statewide funding, providing a $20,000 savings for LSCC libraries, which provided funding to update nursing collections with print books, e-books, and online databases in preparation for National League of Nursing accreditation. Login protocol for library resources was changed from a random 14-digit barcode username to the College's X-ID for LSCC students, faculty and staff.


Architectural and policy plans were completed for the joint-use library at the South Lake Campus. The joint-use library is designed to serve LSCC, UCF, and the Lake County Library System. Construction began on the 50,000 square foot library.

Artist's Rendering of the South Lake joint-use library

Google Analytics was added to the libraries' website, so that usage could be tracked. For the second successive year, the libraries' website was completely revised, and a new home page designed using the CSS box model. Pages were rewritten in XHTML and validated using the W3C validation service.The new design highlights library resources and library research guides in a colored box in the center of the page, since those pages are the most heavily used.

Home Page for 2008 website revision


Much of the year was spent in planning for the new joint-use library at the South Lake campus. In addition to planning for space utilization, selection of colors, finishes, furniture, signage, the three-way partnership required many planning sessions on the issues of staffing, hours and vacation scheduling, and training for library staff.


The new library opened on August 17, 2009 and a Grand Opening Ceremony was held on September 25, 2009. The new building retained the name of the Cooper Memorial Library, in commemoration of the South Lake area's first public library. The library building houses a bookstore, cafe, and three general classrooms outside the library proper.

Cooper Memorial Library

The library provides two computer classrooms, open computer lab space with 67 PCs, wireless access, and a number of small and large group-study rooms equipped with presentation technology. Community residents have access to full library services, including general access to computers, a 6,000 square foot children's section, a separate area for teenagers, and a special collections area housing a genealogy collection.

Cooper Memorial Library Open Lab Area

Library staff was involved with the SACS reaffirmation of accreditation process. Library director Denise English served as chair of the SACS Compliance Committee, created and maintained the College's internal and external SACS websites. Librarian James Cason was named co-chair of the SACS QEP Committee.

This page originally created by Nora Rackley, Reference/Instruction Librarian, in 1998
Last updated January 30, 2010