The Thomas Jefferson Library at UMSL

The moon appears above the Thomas Jefferson Library at UMSL in this archived photo shot at night in the 1970s. (University Archives photo)

Celebrating the life of an institution involves the work of the many individuals who helped create it. Librarians at the University of Missouri–St. Louis played a critical role in its development over the last 50 years. As part of the ongoing celebration of the UMSL Jubilee, the library staff created a video filled with vintage photographs and memories – of ghosts, termites and much more.

“When I was a student in the late 1970s, I worked in the library,” recalled Mary Zettwoch, now a librarian assistant III. “We would tell the new student workers on their first night that a ghost lived on the first floor, then a small and cramped space. Jeff was his name. We said he died and was buried under the elevator shaft. We’d go down on the elevator with them, then turn off the lights and make appropriate ghost noises. There really was no ghost.”

With photos of the old swimming pool in the middle of campus illustrating her memory, a librarian recalls when it was not uncommon for them to swim on their lunch hour. Another librarian remembered the termites in the catalogue room around the time of the addition to the library.

“It was spring and there was a little tiny crack in the corner of the room under the cement,” she said. “There were a few little bugs in the morning. But as time went by and it got warmer, more and more bugs kept coming out of the crack until there were thousands of them. Clouds of bugs. People were lined up outside looking in the windows at us running around.”

The library’s video was one of more than 50 events and activities funded by the university to help support programs sponsored and hosted by units, departments and organizations across campus.

View the library video and lots more on the UMSL Jubilee website.

Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel