Hap Morehouse, former dean of libraries, retires this month

6/25/2007 | By: Staff Report  |

From Clark Hall to Getchell Library to the brink of the Knowledge Center, Harold "Hap" Morehouse has been an integral part of University Libraries for more than four decades. When he retires at the end of June, he will have spent nearly 46 of his 50-year library career here. So, he sat down last month to reminisce about his personal and University memories.

The Early Days at the University

When Morehouse came to the University in September 1961, the campus library was in the Clark Administration Building, and Getchell Library was still under construction.

He recalls the beautiful, high-ceilinged reading room in Clark Library, where he started his University career working in the Reference Department.

Only a few months later, in February 1962, the University Libraries moved into Getchell Library, where he eventually became head of Public Services, which included supervision of Reference, Circulation, and all of the University's branch libraries.

From Manual to Automated

In 1969, after a national search, Morehouse was offered and accepted the job as dean of libraries. For the next 24 years, he oversaw the transformation of the University Libraries from a totally manual card catalog and circulation system to the more technically advanced, automated ones we have today.

"That didn't happen without effort," he says. "I give Carol Parkhurst (now director of library systems) a lot of credit for that."

"Carol actually worked for the company that sold us our first computer system. As a customer service person, she helped get this new computerized circulation system up and running. We then persuaded Carol to apply for a position here as a systems librarian, and she is here to this day.

"Today her title includes director of IT planning & assessment, as well as director of library systems."

Morehouse also originally hired Steve Zink to head the Government Publications Department.

Years later, when he decided to step down from the dean's position in 1993, he recommended Zink as the interim dean, while a national search was conducted.

Zink then applied for the permanent position and got it. His position has since been elevated to the vice-presidential level, and he has the dual title vice president for Information Technology and dean of libraries.

"I'm going to take full credit for making good choices," Morehouse laughs.

Back to Catalog

When Morehouse stepped down as dean 13 years ago, he decided not to retire, but return to his first love of cataloging books.

"It's a great job for anyone who loves books," he said. In fact, his first job out of library school was as a cataloger for the California State Library in Sacramento. "The ink was still wet on that MLS degree when I started my first day on the job at the California State Library," he laughs. "I've had a good career."

To Retirement and Beyond

Beginning next month, Morehouse is looking forward to a more leisurely life of travel, golf, and taking care of his 3-acre property. Of course, his love of books will always be with him, as well. He says the hardest thing about retiring is leaving his many University friends, but he hopes to keep in touch as much as possible.

"In looking back over the years at Nevada, I can remember many projects completed, goals met, and ‘important' accomplishments, or so we thought," he said.

"Few people remain who can even remember these things now. Maybe the most important accomplishment of all was to maintain a well-run academic library, with helpful staff, good collections, and competent services, helping the students and faculty do their jobs well. This, I believe, we did for many years. Keep up the good work!"


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