Kelley reflects on library changes as PBSC career ends
When Brian Kelley first walked into the library at Palm Beach Community College in 1988, his first question was where are the computers?
Kelley, who was the new library director for the Lake Worth campus, discovered there was only one computer that was still wrapped in its box and hidden in a closet.
According to Kelley, bringing that computer to life was the first of a multitude of changes to come in his 28-year career at Palm Beach State. He will officially retire from the College tomorrow.
“I don’t think I truly understood how much my profession was about to change,” said Kelley.
In need of more library materials, Kelley started building a case for support from outside organizations, and in his first year the library went from having one computer with no databases to databases on CD-ROMs and digitized index periodicals.
Within the next year, Kelley implemented a new statewide online system at the library, one he helped select as part of a statewide selection team. Kelley was the only library director on the team.
Although the system didn’t have databases, within two years a courier system was developed that provided access to materials from around the state within 48 hours.
“Students still had to come to the library to pick up their materials, but their reach and access was rapidly expanding,” said Kelley.
After three years on the job, Kelley said the digital side of the library’s services began to advance in warp speed.
“Over the course of the next five years, we addressed online databases, eBooks, virtual reference, remote access from home, email, distance learning support, satellite uplinks, public television broadcast and information literacy skills sets to name just a few,” said Kelley.
Kelley has also been proud to see the library be the first to reach several milestones that followed in the years to come.
“We created social media sites, wiki sites, blogs, RSS feeds and pioneered eBook readers before any other academic library in the state,” said Kelley. “And, we were the first academic library in the state to use iPads, kindles and tablets for student check-out.”
Even though the library seemed to be constantly changing, Kelley says the challenges he faced only made him more excited to come to work.
“I feel like I got to help redefine what library services meant,” said Kelley. “My judgment was always respected, and I was always supported in different directions I’ve wanted to take. I have loved collaborating with different areas of the College and other institutions to create something new.”
This year the library, which now boasts 93 computers, got a new high resolution book scanner and two fit desks so students could study and work out at the same time. In the future, Kelley says the library hopes to open a new innovation lab with 3D computers and printers with software programs from different programs around the College.
One of the programs Kelley is most proud of is the library’s Common Reader Program now in its 15th year. According to Kelley, this year’s book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack” is the most popular to date. To encourage participation, the library created a new gallery exhibit featuring posters of staff, faculty and administrators across the Lake Worth campus including President Ava Parker reading the book.
A party will be held for Kelley from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow in the gallery on the second floor of the library. After he retires, Kelley plans to relocate from Wellington to Jupiter and devote more time to traveling and bicycling.
Before coming to PBSC, Kelley was employed by the Palm Beach County Library System as a reference and audiovisual services supervisor and reference librarian. Kelley will be replaced by Robert Krull, librarian and associate professor at PBSC, who takes over the role of library learning resource director Aug. 1.