Windward Community College's new building will place Library, Media, Tutoring, Testing, and Computing services under one roof, and include a classroom, Hawaiian Collection room, and Information Commons.

April 19, 2010

An Address from DeEtta Catherine Wilson

WCC's first librarian, Katherine DeEtta Wilson

DeEtta Catherine Wilson served as Windward Community College's first librarian from 1972-1996. During her tenure, she transformed an old building into a comfortable place to do research and study, all while dreaming of a building better suited to meet the needs of its users. Favorable circumstances, hard planning and a little luck have all had a hand in bringing her dream to reality.
Peggy Regentine, Katherine DeEtta Wilson, Terry McFarland

Mrs. Wilson honored us by speaking at the Groundbreaking Ceremony. Here's what she said:


Today’s groundbreaking is a great beginning and a thankful conclusion to many years of planning for the new building that will bring together a group of services to students, faculty and staff that have long been located in separate “make-do” facilities. As the years passed, advances in technology have brought about many changes in the plans so that now the new building will be quite different from the one we envisioned in the early years.

Those early years were a real adventure for me! The first two years I was both librarian and media specialist so there was lots to do, such as creating the kinds of work spaces we needed out of two shower rooms and two solitary confinement rooms with bars on the windows.

In the old facility we started with only two thirds of the building. The other third was a typing classroom.  We scrounged several boards and bricks for shelves and put a few reference books on them. The windows in the building had hinges that were rusted in the open position so, in came the rain and wind and they brought on the mold and mildew problems.

After a few years, the wall between the library and the classroom was demolished; media production moved to its own building and we expanded our space into the entire building as it is now. We went through adding air conditioning and dehumidifying, carpeted the floors, replaced the leaking roof with a new one, converted the card catalog to an online catalog, made room for additional storage components and changed automation systems several times.

Through it all, as the staff and materials collection grew, and the library instruction units for all English 100 students were completed, the vision of a new facility was always with us. But that’s all in the past and now we are entering a new era. The new building will have the right kinds of spaces for the many types of services to be offered, and it will be a green building, with all the good things that designation implies.

The format in which information is stored has continued to change and will continue to change over time. The library as a place where those formats—whether in the pages of a book or in various kinds of electronic devices are organized and made available to library users will also continue to change. It’s a real challenge to provide a place for those materials and also a place for study and thinking and absorbing knowledge.

Just a word about the Hawaiian name for the building — La‘akea. The meaning of La‘akea is so appropriate for a library as well as the other services in the building. It is: the sacred light of enlightenment and knowledge. Knowledge brings enlightenment and that is what a library stands for. It fits, doesn’t it? The word and its meaning were given to us several years ago by a friend, Mahiai Beamer.

And now, I want to say thank you to Nancy Heu and all the others who carried on the huge task of developing our hopes and dreams into a tangible reality. It will be a beautiful building! Let’s all of us here today come again to celebrate when the new building actually opens!

Aloha no!


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