Barbara Chrisman
, librarian and associate professor

  • Bachelor’s, 1964, Central Missouri State U, elementary education
  • Master’s, 1968, Central Missouri State University, library science
  • Joined the BHSU staff in 1979 as an associate professor and reference librarian

Retiring librarian Barbara Chrisman says she has the best job in the library and continues to enjoy her job because of the variety of her work and the ever-changing and ongoing contact with library patrons.

“Being a reference librarian is an exciting job. I like helping faculty and students. I have different things to do every day and work with different people as I help students and faculty,” B. Chrisman says. “I get to learn new things all the time too. As I’m looking up information on a variety of topics, it expands my knowledge. I like that.”

B. Chrisman taught in elementary schools for five years before earning a master’s degree in library science. She worked as a reference librarian while her husband, Riley, finished his doctorate degree.

B. Chrisman and her family moved to Spearfish in 1979. She had planned to take some time off when Riley began his teaching job at BHSU; however, since she had either been in school or teaching school most of her life, it wasn’t long before she enrolled in an adolescent literature class at BHSU. A few months later, she saw an advertisement for a reference job at the E.Y. Berry Library and applied. That began what was to become a 26-year career at the BHSU library.

Through the years, B. Chrisman has seen some major changes both in the library and throughout the campus. She was involved with the re-classification of the library from a Dewey Decimal system to the Library of Congress system. In the early 80s, B. Chrisman worked to help establish the online catalog access and institute a national catalogue database. B. Chrisman says BHSU was on the forefront of a statewide effort to incorporate a collaborative catalog. Recently she, along with several other BHSU librarians, became part of a statewide “virtual librarian” service that answers patrons’ questions in real time via the internet.

B. Chrisman predicts that although librarians’ tasks continue to change, they will remain in demand in the future.

“Some people may think we don’t need libraries because of the internet. Because there is so much information students need direction,” B. Chrisman says. “There are so many options, students need to learn to be more specific as they are conducting searches for term papers and research.”

B. Chrisman is looking forward to spending her retirement time sewing and says she may take up quilting. She is also looking forward to traveling and reading.

“Librarians don’t have time to read. I’ve seen a lot of books, and now I’m ready to spend some time actually reading them,” B. Chrisman says. She and her husband are both retiring this year and are looking forward to the lifestyle changes.

“This seemed like a good time for us to retire. At this point we have some avocations rather than vocations that we want to participate in.”

A retirement celebration for Riley and Barbara Chrisman will be held Sunday, May 1 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Hudson Hall (222 West Hudson Street, Spearfish). No gifts please.

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