Susan Arnold, University Librarian Emerita and the former director of the WVU Health Sciences Library, retired from West Virginia University on December 31, 2021. She began her career at WVU Libraries in 2001, dedicating over 20 years of service to the institution. Throughout her tenure, she oversaw big changes at WVU Health Science Library, helping to facilitate the innovative experience students have now.
The Morgantown native graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a degree in Dietetics in 1979, before pursuing a master’s degree in Human Nutrition & Foods from Virginia Tech. She worked as a dietitian for 18 years, practicing in Virginia and West Virginia.
During her time as a dietitian, she realized that she had a passion for research. In 1998, Arnold went on to pursue a Masters of Library and Information Science degree from the University of South Carolina.
“I became fascinated with electronic searching, which was just coming into its own at that time,” Arnold said. “So, I decided to go back and get a library degree.”
Arnold worked as a dietetic internship director for Ruby Memorial Hospital for over a decade. When she was finished with her degree in Library Sciences, the WVU Health Sciences Library had open positions. In 2001, Arnold began working at WVU Libraries as a research services librarian.
Susan Arnold (right) at Friends of the Cheat Flagpole dedication.
Arnold’s interest in librarianship stemmed from the enjoyment she felt in searching and finding information, being in an academic environment, and helping people.
After being named interim director of the Health Sciences Library in 2004, she oversaw the library’s move into its new location and its first real upgrade in 40 years, which included the selection and coordination of new furniture and updated technology.
One big change that was happening almost simultaneously was the shift from print to online journals. Arnold, and others at the WVU Health Sciences Center, prioritized getting the resources that researchers needed most, while successfully contending with budget constraints.
In 2008, Arnold was named director of WVU Health Sciences Library. That year, she was also the Co-Chair for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting, which was held in Morgantown. She was named their Librarian of the Year in 2011.
Later in her career, she focused on Open Access resources and identification of predatory journals. She became the Chair of the Libraries’ Open Access Author Fund dovetailed with this interest.
“I kind of became the point person for faculty and students asking about Open Access journals, and whether they were legitimate or not,” Arnold said. “It was a great opportunity for education across the campus about that issue.”
Arnold has been a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals since 2011. She was the Libraries’ representative on the WVU Curriculum Committee for 15 years and has been the HSL representative on numerous library committees, most notably the Collections Advisory, New Faculty Orientation and Research Services committees.
One of the things Arnold will miss the most about working for WVU Libraries’ is that every day was different.
“It was always a new challenge,” Arnold said.
In her retirement, Arnold looks forward to traveling and spending more time volunteering. She also hopes to have more time for genealogy research, and therefore, plans to spend a lot of time at the West Virginia and Regional History Center.
John Cuthbert, former director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center, spent his career telling anyone who would listen, or read, about the Mountain State’s rich artistic heritage.
He literally wrote the book about it. In “Early Art and Artists in West Virginia” Cuthbert documents nearly 1,000 artists active in the state during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The groundbreaking study earned its author a Claude Worthington Benedum Award, WVU’s highest academic honor, among other accolades. And that’s just one line on an extensive resume belonging to Cuthbert, who retired December 31, 2021, with more than 40 years of service to West Virginia University.
“West Virginia is unique in many ways and certainly has one of the most interesting histories of any state in the Union,” Cuthbert said. “My mission throughout my career was to shed light on subjects and people who defy stereotypes about West Virginia.”
The New Hampshire native arrived in Morgantown in the fall of 1975 to pursue his Ph.D. in musicology.
“I remember telling my friends that this was a temporary situation. I had to be in residency for a couple of years and that would be it,” he said.
However, only a few months into his studies, he heard the Library call. The WVRHC was hiring music students capable of listening to folk music and writing it down in musical notation.
He interviewed with WVRHC Director George Parkinson in February 1976, and Parkinson hired him on the spot. He worked for two years to complete the project, which resulted in transcriptions to more than 2,000 folk songs and fiddle tunes.
Parkinson then suggested they apply for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support cataloging the new collection. They won the grant and spent the next two years developing a ground-breaking automated finding aid at a time when computer cataloging was in its infancy.
In the meantime, Cuthbert enrolled in a WVU painting class taught by Urban Couch and soon after began pursuing a masters in art.
“Meeting Urban Couch had an enduring effect on my life and career. I liked him and his philosophy,” Cuthbert said. “He was a great teacher, and in the years that followed, he became a great friend and mentor.”
John Cuthbert, former director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center at his retirement ceremony.
Back at the Center, Parkinson hired Cuthbert as an assistant curator in 1981 and promoted him to associate curator in 1985. In the latter position, he began the WVRHC’s newsletter.
Over the next 35 years, he wrote dozens of articles about every aspect of West Virginia history. Each required hours of reading, deep dives into the archives and long conversations with donors.
Former Dean of Libraries Ruth Jackson named Cuthbert interim curator of the WVRHC in 1990. Then, upon Couch’s retirement in 1993, Cuthbert became director of the WVU Art Collection and associate curator for the arts. He then succeeded Nathan Bender as WVRHC director in 1998.
The new role brought weightier responsibilities and focus on building the archives. Cuthbert rose to the challenge, winning the admiration of John E. Stealey, III, Ph. D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Shepherd University, and chairman of the WVU Libraries visiting committee since 1984.
“For approximately 40 years, I have known Dr. Cuthbert and his diligent work as he progressed through the professional ranks. All curators of the WVRHC have been capable and contributory professionals, but none had Cuthbert’s breadth of knowledge of the state and its people, his diverse intellectual competence in various academic fields, and his energy in achieving results that have benefited the Mountain State,” Stealey said. “Under his leadership, the WVRHC has become the preeminent depository for West Virginia and Appalachian materials, equaled by no other institution.”
Cuthbert has overseen the transformation of the WVRHC to the digital age that makes collections available to state residents. One example is West Virginia History OnView, which catalogs more than 50,000 digital images from the Center’s archives.
Also, Cuthbert and his staff have secured competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the West Virginia Commission of the Arts to make important state newspapers, exhibits, and other items available to the public. The WVRHC increased endowed funding from less than $100,000 to $7.9 million.
Stealey praised Cuthbert’s deep knowledge of manuscript and photographic archive and book values that has made possible bargain purchases from individuals and auction markets. For example, Stealey noted, the Center purchased the lost transcript of the Matewan Massacre trial on auction for $150.
“John has had a major impact in preserving West Virginia and Appalachia history. I don’t know anyone who’s done more,” Stealey said. “John and staff would scour everything that’s available.”
Cuthbert played an instrumental role in the Center’s numerous acquisitions including the political papers of Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Congressman Nick J. Rahall, and Gov. Arch C. Moore; literary manuscripts by Nobel Prize laureate Pearl S. Buck; records of steel executive Hank Barnette; legendary athletes Jerry West and Rod Thorn; Star Trek score composer Jay Chattaway; and literally hundreds of others.
Barnette recalls conversations about donating his papers to the University beginning more than 15 years ago when David Hardesty, Jr. was University president and he was chairman of the Board of Governors.
Discussions continued with President Jim Clements and President E. Gordon Gee, but it was after Barnette met Cuthbert that he made his decision.
“We had many one-on-one discussions. I learned about his work, his leadership, and the other collections of papers already held at the WVRHC,” Barnette said. “How they would deal with the collection caused me to be more interested in placing at least the majority of my papers at WVU.”
Barnette respected Cuthbert, but he was about to see the curator in a new light.
“On one of John’s first trips to Bethlehem, I didn’t know him well, just knew him as Dr. John Cuthbert, a distinguished member of WVU Libraries faculty. But when he came to Bethlehem to acquire the first installment, he was driving a big truck. He had all sorts of tools and equipment, but he didn’t have any assistance. He was the man,” Barnette said.
“That was the beginning of what has become a very fine friendship,” Barnette said. “Since then, as I observe John, his interests and activities, and professionalism, I consider him a man of all seasons.”
“I feel like I actually contributed to the betterment of people beyond myself. I think I’ve helped preserve the heritage of our state and bring positive things to light” John Cuthbert, former director of the WVRHC
Barnette soon began collaborating with Cuthbert and President Gee on the Distinguished West Virginian Archives, a new initiative to document the lives and legacies of West Virginians who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and bring them to the attention of the state and the nation.
“It’s very complimentary to be asked to donate your papers to your alma mater, but there were many other West Virginians far more successful than I am. What are we doing to acquire their papers? That gave rise to the Distinguished West Virginian Archives,” Barnette said.
Barnette and Cuthbert work with Distinguished West Virginians Advisory Board, a group appointed by Gee, to identify prospective candidates to approach, and Gee extends the official request. Their collections are then secured in the WVRHC and made available to researchers, historians, filmmakers and all who are interested in the materials.
“I believe to understand the present and forecast the future we must understand the past. To do that, we must have accurate, reliable resources to learn about the past,” Barnette said. “How was this issue dealt with in the past? What did this person think or say?”
Gee lauded Cuthbert for his decades of dedication to the state.
“As a land-grant university, WVU has a special responsibility to preserve and promote our state’s history and culture,” Gee said. “For more than 20 years, John Cuthbert personified that mission as director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center at the WVU Libraries. From Pearl Buck to Jerry West, from the Civil War to the PRT, from early artists to the health sciences, if it was significant to the history of this university and this state, John collected, cared for, and curated it with elegance and expertise. With John’s retirement, the torch has been passed but he will forever be the keeper of the flame of West Virginia’s memories.”
It probably comes as no surprise that Cuthbert labored greatly over his decision to retire.
“I feel like I actually contributed to the betterment of people beyond myself. I think I’ve helped preserve the heritage of our state and bring positive things to light,” Cuthbert said. “That’s my legacy. I’ve accomplished some things that will outlive me.”
Librarian Emerita Anna Schein retired from the WVU Libraries on Feb. 25 with more than 47 years of service to this institution. Schein began her career in 1974 as a cataloging librarian and was quickly promoted to various positions within the cataloging department. As part of her work, she helped guide the libraries through two important advances in librarianship.
First, she played a leading role in the Libraries’ implementation of OCLC, the largest cooperative bibliographic utility used in libraries worldwide to create and share electronic library records central to our online catalogs. Later, Schein served on the Library Automation Task Force that brought the first online catalog to WVU Libraries in 1992.
Schein later became head of the newly formed Serials Department, which not only managed the demanding upkeep of thousands of print journals, newspapers, and magazines, but also had a public-facing role in assisting our community with the discovery of scholarly research journal articles, a central component of WVU’s research mission. Schein led WVU Libraries’ serials automation efforts and also worked with the architects to design new facilities for the Serials Department as the Downtown Library addition was built in 2000.
As the publication of most serials literature migrated to electronic format, Schein’s automation expertise was transitioned into her role as Associate Curator in the West Virginia and Regional History Center (WVRHC). Here she helped as technology shaped the descriptive work of archives and manuscripts towards internet accessible records.
As the Printed Ephemera Curator, she designed an online finding aid for the Libraries’
Printed Ephemera Collection, the largest collection of scholarly West Virginia
ephemera in existence. The finding aid has helped to ensure that these priceless,
yet hard to find items are electronically discoverable by researchers. In addition
to her technical work, Schein focused her research, exhibits, and outreach programs
on subject areas which promoted the resources of the WVRHC and which also centered
on areas of historical and subject interest to various West Virginia museums and
cultural heritage sites. She presented her work at state conferences, organizations,
fairs, and festivals.
Beyond these automation transitions in the Libraries, Schein also contributed in important ways to the campus and the library profession. She chaired or served on numerous library committees within the Libraries, and at the university, state, regional, national and international levels. On campus, Schein was deeply involved in Mountaineer Week, winning the Mountaineer Week Appreciation Award in 2010. Anna also served as a faculty fellow of the WVU Stalnaker/Dadisman Residential Faculty Leader’s (RFL) program, providing opportunities for students to engage not only with WVRHC collections but also with other cultural history institutions throughout the state.
Anna was also a collection development bibliographer and liaison to the World Languages Department and the Native American Studies Program. Her edited book, “White Pine Spirit of Peace: The WVU Peace Tree,” was one example of Schein’s documentary work to create and publish indigenous primary source materials which were archived in West Virginia libraries, the Library of Congress, National Museum of the American Indian, and others. Her co-edited book with G. Peter Jemison, Seneca Nation, “Treaty of Canandaigua 1794: 200 Years of Treaty Relations between the Iroquois Confederacy and the United States,” received a positive review in the New York Times Book Review, and has been archived by prominent US general academic and law libraries, as well as international libraries, including the US Department of Justice Library, United Nations Library in Geneva, Switzerland and the Peace Palace Library, The Hague, Netherlands.
“Throughout my entire professional career, I have always been committed to sustained excellence in librarianship, professional development/research, and service. I am honored to have maintained a life-long relationship with West Virginia University and to be one of our West Virginia University family.” Anna Schein, LIBRARIAN EMERITA
From 2002-2012 Schein participated in an international collaborative multi-year service activity through the Mali International Economic and Development Institute to work as a member of the Mali Library Project Committee to help Mali plan for the development of digital library services. This work began with a technical report which Schein presented during travel to Mali in 2005 and 2006. Subsequent work included robust networking with Mali and US representatives that culminated in the inauguration of Mali's first digital library, and the creation of a model automation hub in Mali to manage a network of electronic university libraries across eight West African countries.
“My dedication to West Virginia University and the University Libraries has been unfailing,” Schein writes. “Throughout my entire professional career, I have always been committed to sustained excellence in librarianship, professional development/research, and service. I am honored to have maintained a life-long relationship with West Virginia University and to be one of our West Virginia University family.”
While one might expect a significant list of contributions for a librarian with over 45 years of service to our institution, Schein clearly meets – and in fact – exceeds that mark not only in the number of contributions but also in the breadth of contributions both to the Libraries and to the University.
“Anna not only contributed to watershed moments of library automation at WVU, but she also contributed significantly to the profession in both regional and international accomplishment and connection,” Libraries Dean Karen Diaz said. “Anna essentially had one full career as a cataloging and serials librarian, and then a second career working in the WVRHC as curator for the Printed Ephemera Collection. Throughout both, Anna contributed significantly to the intellectual life of the campus through her work with Native American Studies as well as World Languages and has reached out to thousands of citizens of the state with numerous exhibits and presentations regarding the history of this state through the holdings of the WVRHC.”
Debra Borrelli, the former Institutional Repository manager, retired Dec. 31, 2021, with 25 years of service to WVU Libraries. Borrelli worked in public and technical services, and throughout, she shown dedication to open and accessible scholarship.
Borrelli made outstanding contributions to the campus, community, and to her profession as a member of the West Virginia Library Association and the Western Pennsylvania-West Virginia Chapter of ACRL (WPWVC ACRL), as the Libraries United Way Coordinator, by chairing the Evansdale Library Technology Advisory Committee, and as the inaugural Veterans Outreach Committee Chair.
Borrelli shepherded WVU students through their initial encounters with open scholarship, first as a coordinator for Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) submissions, then as manager of the Research Repository, which she helped to launch in 2018.
Her immeasurable contribution to the impact of WVU’s scholars reaches back to 1996 and culminated with her work in the Repository, which now boasts over one million downloads per year.
Most importantly, Borrelli was an insightful, supportive colleague who uplifts the work of others, and whose grace and generosity will be remembered fondly across the Libraries for years to come.
Patty LeePatty Lee, library technical assistant II, retired December 31, 2021, with 21 years of service to West Virginia University. Lee started with WVU Libraries in the Cataloging Department on the Morgantown Campus, where she loved working with all the great people there. When her parents had health issues, she took a job with the Center for Excellence in Disabilities to move home to Keyser. Then she moved to Potomac State Marketing and Communications, and finally returned to the Library. Lee’s new job will be playing with her Border Collie, Molly.
“David was perhaps the kindest and most thoughtful person that I have ever worked with. We will miss him greatly but wish him a well-deserved relaxed retirement,” said Kelly Diamond, head of the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support.
Previously, Roth worked in the Access Services Department with Martha Yancey, Evansdale Library director.
“David was consistently praised for his work with the students and faculty while providing service at the public services desk and was attentive to each patron he served. He constantly demonstrated exemplary assistance to our library user onsite,” Yancey said.