Heather Cole Retires

heather cole

Heather Cole, Librarian of the Lamont Library, will retire in June.

In a career spanning nearly four decades, Heather Cole, Librarian of the Lamont Library, has overseen tremendous change in library practices and services—from building up an extensive reserves reading program to piloting a 24-hour/5-day library schedule—all in support of the undergraduate experience. This June, Cole will retire after 38 years in the College Library.

Coming first to HCL in 1970, Cole worked in Widener Library as an intern until 1973 and as Reference Librarian from 1973 to 1977 before being appointed Librarian of the Hilles and Lamont Libraries.

"Since 1977, I and my many colleagues in Lamont and throughout the Harvard College Library have relentlessly promoted the cause of library services to undergraduates. Nothing I have done, or might have hoped to do, would have been possible without the active and willing participation of untold numbers of co-workers who meant, like me, to improve the information-seeking results of the undergraduates that we meet every day, as advisers, instructors, supervisors, and mentors," said Cole.

Under Cole's direction, staff at Lamont and the former Hilles Library collaborated on collection development, converted their card catalogs retrospectively, began automated circulation in HOLLIS, and contributed to the design of the initial automated reserves processing module in HOLLIS. Staff in the two libraries actively pursued instructional opportunities with academic departments that were known for large undergraduate enrollments.

In 2004, she facilitated the relocation of the Morse Music Library from Hilles to Lamont, where it was integrated as Morse Music & Media. When the Hilles Library closed in June 2005, Cole oversaw the disposition of the original Hilles collection, culminating in the donation of 140,000 volumes to Sun Yat-sen University in China. She collaborated in planning a new undergraduate service point, the Quad Library, which opened on the first floor of the Hilles building in September 2005.

During Cole's tenure, she has overseen seen myriad physical changes to the Lamont building itself in support of the learning experience, including the renovation of the Ginsberg and Donatelli Reading Rooms; the development of the Larsen Room, HCL's first interactive teaching/learning space; and the technology upgrade in the Forum Room to allow for computer-based auditorium-style presentations.

She collaborated on planning for recent significant programmatic changes as well. In the fall of 2005, Lamont adopted its current 24/5 schedule, and in 2006, the Lamont Library Café opened in the former Reference Room. In 2007 units from the Social Sciences Program moved from Littauer Library to join Lamont Research Services staff to form a combined team and service point referred to as Research Services at Lamont.

In the spirit of understanding and connecting with undergraduates, Cole was the first Harvard librarian to serve as a Freshman Adviser. She has served as the administrator for the Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting since its inception in the 1977-1978 academic year, and in 1999 advocated for the annual Freshman Open House as a way to introduce new students to library services.

Cole is a member of ALA and ACRL and over the years has participated in many Harvard committees in service to the Office of the President, the FAS, the College, and Lowell House, among them the Interviewing Committee for the post-graduate Traveling Fellowships.