S. Janette Reynolds was a graduate of the class of 1873 and our first full time librarian. She had started here as a secretary in 1893, and over the next few years began to divide her time between work as a secretary and working with the library collection. In 1899 the library collection was cataloged by the then relatively new Dewey Decimal System, and in 1900 Miss Reynolds became the first full time librarian at Brockport.
In the late 1890s there had been a campaign by the state Normal schools to encourage the state education department and Regents to provide more financial support for libraries in the Normal schools, and to support the employment of full time librarians. The effort was successful, and in keeping with the curricular and educational needs of the time the Normal School libraries began to expand quite a bit from the small collections of books in a reading room that most had been before. For example, between 1900 and 1910 the number of volumes in the library almost doubled, from 5,761 in 1900 to 10,864 in 1910.
Miss Reynolds was much liked by the students, one of whom many years later recalled how they called her "Jenny Wren," for her delicate ways and manner. In another recollection Wayne Dedman in his history of the school describes how she kept Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" securely locked away in her desk drawer; it was a little too racy for the time and place apparently to smply be placed on a shelf! She is pictured here in an 1899 year book.
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S. Janette Reynolds, Brockport Normal School library