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Thigpen library opened the doors to VSCC students in 1970.

Kayla Osborne

Thigpen library opened its doors to the first Volunteer State Community College students in 1970.

“Thigpen Library provides the resources and services needed to sustain an innovative and high-quality learning environment for the College and its community of learners” according to the Vol State website.

During the last 50 years, the library has experienced various changes regarding location and technology. 

“We started out with three people in the Cordell Hull Hotel in Gallatin and didn’t move locations until the following year. At that time, everything was done on paper. The first card cataloging system we had on a computer didn’t come until 1977,” said Marguerite Voorhies, library associate.

“There have been a lot of changes since the library first opened in 1970. As far as facilities, the library used to be a part of the Ramer building. We moved into the current building in 1994. In 1994, the building was named after our first director and his wife, who was also an instructor (Walter and Virginia Thigpen). We renovated the building in 2012/2013; it was completed in May 2013. The renovation allowed us to purchase some new furniture and new carpet. We also built a new instruction room,” said Lynda Vincent, Coordinator of Library Services.

“The largest change has been a concerted effort to make library services available online. For instance, our librarians have a virtual drop-in zoom room, where students can ask for help with research, citation, or other library questions. Additionally, we’re focusing on electronic resources and trying to provide needed materials such as streaming videos for classes. We hope to launch a new eBook platform within the next few weeks that will allow any member of the Vol State community the opportunity to check out and read books on their phones, computers, kindles or other electronic devices,” said Becky Frank, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources.

Among the structural and technological changes, the library has experienced moments of humor.

“We had a class in the library that was taught by slides. One day, a slide with a nude person on it was accidentally shown. I didn’t pay it any attention, but I could hear students laughing in the back. That wasn’t the best part. I forgot to remove the slide before the next class and Mr. Murphy, who taught French, came across the same slide in his class,” said Voorhies.

“One thing that has remained the same through the years is that the students and faculty/staff are great people. What I love most about working in the library is helping the students. It is fun helping them find the information and resources they need. They are always very appreciative. There is a sense of comfort being surrounded by all the books,” said Vincent.

“We want to make the library a welcoming place for all. Whether we’re talking the physical spaces, the warmth of the library staff or the resources we purchase, the library should be a place where students, faculty and staff at Vol State know that the librarians want them to succeed in their endeavors and we’re willing to help in any way we can,” said Frank.

Thigpen Library, picture provided by VSCC facebook.

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