Library provided 'refuge' for alumnus during tumultuous times
As a high school student, Chris Lloyd ’71 was academically successful. The sociology major was determined to continue to make the grades at Virginia Tech.
“I never had to work for the grades. During my freshman and sophomore years at Virginia Tech, I realized this was a different environment from high school,” Lloyd said. “Everyone was smart and talented, and I didn’t want to disappoint my parents or myself.”
Lloyd attended Virginia Tech during the late 1960s, a time when strong opinions, colorful banners, and emotional arguments occupied the Drillfield. He would find solace from the tumult in Newman Library.
“It was the library or failure. When I needed to get serious studying done, I would sequester myself in a cubicle to fully concentrate. It had a grounding effect on me.”
It’s in that spirit that Lloyd has supported the University Libraries and its academic mission by contributing to the Library Excellence Annual Fund each year.
“I’m financially able to give,” Lloyd said. “I thought about where my contributions should go, and every student uses the library for something. Why not contribute to something that helps people get through their four or more years at Virginia Tech? You have to make the grade, and to do that, you need library resources. If not, you probably won’t get through school.”
Lloyd said he is impressed with the reach of the University Libraries in local communities, throughout the state, and beyond with multiple library locations, outreach programming, and online access to digital resources and experts.
“The library reaches individuals on and off campus. Researchers can tap into the library system’s valuable resources and databases from across the state and even the world,” said Lloyd. “The University Libraries is a valuable resource and provides technical credibility to Virginia Tech as a leader. It’s not all about the book.”
Lloyd spent three to four hours every week in Newman Library, no computers and no shortcuts. He would take a seat in the library and find his focus.
“Back then, everything was manual — we cranked it out on paper. If I had a report or paper due, I was in the library. If I had a test coming up, I was studying in the library,” said Lloyd. “Dorm life was chaotic and social and there was a lot going on across campus. So there were many distractions.”
While at Virginia Tech, Lloyd worked for University Libraries in the reserved book section. This gave him more opportunities to read, study, and get paid. There, he recentered.
“The library was a refuge,” he said.
That refuge proved valuable in times when the Vietnam War, civil rights, and anti-government sentiment were just a few issues permeating the student body psyche.
“The late ‘60s was a tumultuous time. Weird and wild things were happening on the Drillfield, and I was able to listen to a lot of opinions. I enjoyed the exchange of ideas and met really interesting people,” said Lloyd. “I was elected and served as an off-campus senator in the Student Government Association and was exposed to a cornucopia of ideas, which was fundamental for me. It was something I wasn’t exposed to before."
By Ann Brown