OU Libraries Timeline: firsts


1963: First photocopier

The first photocopier was installed at Kresge Library.  Copies cost 10 cents a page, but the price was predicted to decrease.

1965: IMB 357 computer

An IBM 357 data collection system (a punch-card based computer capable of sending and receiving material remotely) was installed in the technical processes department  to facilitate the ordering and cataloguing of library materials.

1965: Library learning

A library information test was taken by 1,000 Oakland University students during orientation week.  As a result, 230 students signed up for a short course to prepare them for learning at the library, which was taught two days a week for three weeks.  Library knowledge test

1966: Computerized circulation system

A computerized circulation system was implemented, the first of its kind in Michigan.Newspaper clipping with student checking out library book using automated system

1971: Librarians acquire faculty status

The Board of Trustees voted to give librarians faculty status.

Librarians3Minutes of the Meeting of the Oakland University Board of Trustees January 9, 1971

1972: Telephone hotline

A telephone information hotline service was established, for county-wide use.  It provided "immediate reference, referral and photo-copy service when the resources of the local public libraries are unable to meet the needs of their patrons."

1977: Bibliographic Retrieval System

The library began to offer computer-assisted literature searching using the Bibliographic Retrieval System.   The databases which were available on BRS at that time provided bibliographic citations to the literature of medicine, agriculture, chemistry, physics, education, management and administration, electrical technology, electronics, computers and control engineering, environment and psychology.  Three librarians were initially trained to perform searches in these databases for students and faculty, a complex process which could take several hours, and cost an average of $25 per search.  In the first year, 41 such searches were performed.

1978: Calculators

The library purchased two hand-held calculators that students could borrow.  The annual report stated that "students have had occasion to borrow these calculators frequently and that the calculators have withstood moderately heavy use." Students studying in Kresge Library

1983: OCLC terminal

The library's first OCLC computer terminal for public use was installed.

1987: First online catalog

The online catalog LUIS (Library User Information System) was introduced to the public.  It allowed users to search the catalogs of Oakland University, Wayne State, the Detroit Public Library, and other local institutions. Librarian using computer terminal

1990: Copy cards

Copy card service began to replace coin-operated photocopiers.

1992: Gopher network

The Library Menu became an option on the OU Gopher network (a predecessor to the World Wide Web).  Within the Kresge Library main menu were such options as the Acquisitions List of New Books, CD-ROM Tutorials, and information about library services.

1994: Email reference service

Kresge Library began providing answers to reference questions via email.

1996: Computer labs

The first classes were taught in a new lab with state of the art instructional equipment, including 25 computer workstations, a CD tower and a file server. Total cost was $150,000, half being financed by a grant of the National Science Foundation. The room was named 'Statistics Classroom for Social Sciences and Business" as it was used to teach statistics as well as library research. Computer lab plan

2009: First credit library course

The library offered a 2-credit online course, 'Research in the Information Age'.

2010: First four-credit library course

The library offered its first four-credit online class, LIB 250 - Introduction to library research and technology in the information age.

Photos courtesy of the Oakland University Archives.