The University of Kansas Libraries
Bibliophile Special Edition: Valentine's Day
Do you have a story to share? Visit KU Libraries' Facebook page and leave a comment!
We've noticed that some of our "library alumni" (former student employees of KU Libraries) seem to come in pairs! Some further investigation yielded these love connections made in the libraries:
David and Josephine Sommerville: marriage, then (postwar) romance
David writes: I grew up in Lawrence and am from the dinosaur generation (I still remember Chancellor Lindley and James Naismith, and Phog Allen and Chancellor Malott—with all his family—were personal friends of mine and my parents). I attended University High School (yes, the university then had a high school; almost all our teachers were university professors, and many of our classes were held in university buildings). I then went to KU (class of 1948), did graduate work, and taught in the Spanish department. My wife, Josephine, from Osborne, Kansas, entered in 1948 and was a piano major.
We didn’t meet at the library, but we did some of our “romancing” there. Most of the romancing, though, was done after we were married. How was that?
We had just been married (1950) when I was unexpectedly drafted into the army for the Korean War (even Phog Allen, head of the draft board, could do nothing to prevent it). We saw each other sporadically for six months and were then separated for a year and a half (half that time army of occupation in Japan, the other half combat in Korea). So the maturing of the romance began on my return. And that’s when Watson Library came in.
When I returned, Josephine was working at the circulation desk, and I, as a graduate student and instructor, had a cubicle in the stacks. I don’t know how it is now, but at that time each graduate student had a cubicle to himself, a mini-office, where he could keep the books he had checked out for his research (only graduate students and teachers were allowed in the stacks). I had had this before being married, but now it was more special. I spent a great deal of my time in the library, for not only was I a diligent student, but there, just around the corner, was my newly recovered wife. She visited me in my cubicle more frequently than necessary to keep the library moving, left me notes and little presents when I wasn’t there; and when I had to take or give a class she would find a message from me.
Brenda and Hector Soto: a Watson connection
Brenda writes: I began working at Watson Library in 1992 in Microforms. My supervisor at the time stated the best place to meet a good husband is at the library. Of course, I brushed that comment off and never gave it another thought until Hector began working in Periodicals in May 1996. By this point the Microforms and Periodicals departments had merged, so we worked around each other a lot that summer. Our relationship began as co-workers, then became friends and finally led to us to dating in November 1996. We each completed our undergraduate degrees in 1997 and graduate degrees (Hector 1999 and myself 2003) at KU. We moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 2004.
In November 2006, Hector and I exchanged vows on Catalina Island off the coast of California. We are now expecting our first child in February 2010 and dream of our child(ren) one day attending KU. We have fond memories of Watson Library and met some great people along the way.
Michelle and Dayvid Prahl: Inspired in Spahr
Michelle writes: I met my husband while working at the Spahr Engineering Library in the fall of 2002. Well, we had met at another event, but he spent much of that semester making sure he was in the library when I was working! He would study while I was working, and when he needed a study break, he’d come chat at the desk for a few minutes. And I never missed a chance to push my book truck past his table when it was my turn to shelve!
We finally started dating, and he would walk me back to my apartment in the Jayhawk Towers after I closed the library at midnight. He says it was to keep my safe, but I’m pretty sure it was an excuse to make sure he got a goodnight kiss every night.
We were married in August of 2003, and I continued working at the library, and many of my co-workers attended the wedding. We had our first baby in July of 2005, and I worked at the library for one final semester, while I finished my degree.
Some of my favorite pictures of my daughter as a baby are of her behind the library desk! Spahr holds a special place in my heart, it’s where I fell in love with my husband!
Cassi Neff and Scott Freeman: Love in the libraries
Cassi writes: I met my husband, Scott Freeman, when we both worked in the Science Library in Malott around 1977. He was a chemical engineering student, and I was a Russian language major. We didn't really hit it off at that time and I lost track of him when I went to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) as an exchange student in the spring of 1978.
Then in the spring of 1979, when he was finishing his engineering degree and I was just starting as an electrical engineering student, we ran into each other in the Lawrence Public Library. I told him that engineering was too hard and I couldn't do it. He told me that everyone felt that way, and I could do it just as well as anyone else. We started dating after that. I got my engineering degree in 1982, and we got married in 1984. We now have two children, one of whom is in engineering school at KU.
Cassi and Scott are pictured here at the Annual Colonial Ball in Brisbane, Australia in 2006.
Thanks to everyone who shared their stories! You can read more about your fellow library alumni in the upcoming Spring issue of Bibliophile (watch for it in April), and catch up on past issues here on the web. Be sure to contact us if you'd like to be added to our mailing list.