Genesee Community College is pleased to honor College Archivist, Elizabeth Lane as the December Employee of the Month, honoring her enthusiastic support of and contribution to the institution for its entire history.
Elizabeth "Betty" Lane has worked in the library of Genesee Community College since the College opened its doors in 1967 at the original location on West Main Street in Batavia. "My first day on the job was the first day of GCC," she proudly states. Ms. Lane has served the college library through all major transitions, such as relocation to its permanent home on College Road, as well as several significant renovations and improvement initiatives.
"It was simultaneously exciting and challenging. It wasn't like you were walking into a place that was already established. It was just a bare room," Lane said about the original library at the former West Main Street campus. During her tenure, she also supervised the Media Services and Duplication departments.
Although she officially retired as the associate dean of the Library Resource Center in 1990, Lane was hired back part-time to establish and maintain the archives department. She approached President Stuart Steiner about the importance of chronicling the College's history. "As a brand new institution, you don't necessarily think about those things," Lane says, "but I had been saving materials from 'day one' and other departments within the college had their own records as well." The archives now preserve the history of the College, including everything from the minutes of Board of Trustee meetings, student newspapers, Commencement programs, photographic contact sheets and negatives, accreditation reports, and much more.
A native of Burlington, Vermont, Betty Lane received a Bachelor's of Science degree in math from the University of Vermont and moved to LeRoy when her husband, William, became director of music in the LeRoy School District. "With five kids, I knew I had to get a job," she confides, and embarked on her Master's Degree in library science from SUNY Geneseo.
The landscape of library and media services is in a constant state of progress thanks, in part, to technological advancements in the field. The Alfred C. O'Connell library is home to more than 80,000 volumes and provides access to a growing collection of online resources. "The computer changed everything. Computerizing the library was a big, big job," she states, recalling how "everything had to be cataloguedâ€¦everything."
Since the archives do not circulate, there was no immediate need to catalogue the collection electronically, but that doesn't mean that the contents don't gather dust or require excellent organization. "Someone might need to access information on approved courses for instance," Lane explains, "any institution should keep careful track of its history to support the progressive initiatives in the future."
It is keeping the College's history and preserving it for the benefit of future generations that College officials are most thankful to Betty Lane. And it is through her unwavering efforts and her dedication over four decades that she has become an integral part of that history herself.
"I don't know what we would have done without Betty establishing and maintaining the College's archives. She's been the go-to person on anything about the College's history for years" Judy Sikora, director of the Alfred C. O'Connell Library said. "Betty's first-hand recall of the College' history is simply remarkable. She's lived it and we all benefit from her willingness and ability to share personal stories that enrich all facets of the institution."
Aside from her part-time work at Genesee, Betty is an avid reader, she enjoys sewing and knitting, and with 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren she keeps very busy. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Woodward Memorial Library in LeRoy since 1991, and she is a long term member of the Batavia-Genesee County Zonta Club. Betty and her husband reside in LeRoy.
Editor's Note: A photograph of Betty Lane standing with President Steiner is available at the following internet address.