Library Director to Retire

By Matt Kowardy

Feb. 4, 2019

Cleveland State University’s long-time director of the Michael Schwartz Library, Glenda Thornton, retired from the university on Feb. 1.

According to the results and accomplishments, Thornton’s efforts have shaped the image and ethic at the Michael Schwartz Library to make it the best it can possibly be.

A strong advocate and supporter of student success efforts, the library has now expanded and transformed from a book depository into an elegant and vibrant learning center with the latest technology convenient for everyone.

Her work with a nationwide program has led to significant savings on textbooks for Cleveland State students.

In an interview Friday, Jan, 25, Thornton spoke about her proudest achievements, how her efforts have shaped the library for the good of the students, and why she felt this was the time to call it a career.

“What I think I am most proud of as director of the library is the wonderful staff that I have worked with,” Thornton said. “I’ve been with a lot of them over the past 20 years and a lot others have come on board.”
“I’ve worked with each and every one of them to help them do their very best,” she continued. “We have a commitment to helping the students, and when the students are helped, it makes it enjoyable. It’s been a real joy coming in every day.”

Thornton said she had great satisfaction and pleasure from coming into work every day as she believed there was always something to accomplish. She added that “everyone was able to work together” which led to the various changes the library has gone through during her career.

“Libraries have been evolving for thousands of years,” she said. “It’s not that libraries have just been one kind of place. Libraries have always been a place where people come together to use whatever resources they have.”

Because of the work that Thronton has done throughout her time at Cleveland State, the Michael J. Schwartz Library is now a place where not only books get deposited and checked out: but now a place of study, a place of collaborative work, and the latest technology that is convenient for them to enhance their computer skills.

Thornton’s endeavors have also changed an aspect of Cleveland State that benefits students as a whole: textbook affordability.

“This is a nationwide effort and we always wanted to keep the prices for student information (textbooks) at a reasonable price,” Thornton explained.

“For many years, the price of textbooks was exorbitant. It wasn’t [CRW3] important, but it was ridiculous seeing students spend thousands of dollars on textbooks.”

Traditionally, students bought textbooks so they could have the materials needed for their classes. But, in the digital age, reproducing the information is not as expensive because the information is paid for.

A one-time cost to gather and store information allows more copies to be made, so the people selling the information still make money even at a lower purchase cost. This open-access movement has been in progress for many years and students have been able to afford the necessary information they need.

“To make a long story short, I attended a presentation in Kansas City in 2014 where I listened to a professor talking about how he managed to bring all those textbooks together,” Thornton said.

She explained that the professor encouraged facility members to assign this to other facility members, leading Thornton to becoming a board member. Results were gathered over time and she, along with the other members, saw the program grow.

The ethic and results have not only helped Cleveland State’s students, but the open-access program she was a part of is now nationwide and benefits students by giving them access to textbooks at a cheaper rate.
Thornton said she has high hopes that Interim Director David Lodwick will share in the fortunes she has been able to experience.

“David has been with us for about 15 years now and has done a great job with the computer work,” Thornton said. “He’s a very knowledgeable individual; he’s expanded his influence throughout the library. He cares about the students, and he’ll do a great job!”

While Thornton has had great relationships with the other librarians at the library, she is very confident that Lodwick will “make the library grow and be good.”

Despite calling it a career as far as being director, Thornton is not saying goodbye to visiting the library. She said she will never get tired of coming to the library, she will always consider it a place of enjoyment, and she will never not consider it a hobby.

What’s next for Thornton? Spending time with her husband on their farm and watching their livestock grow. While perhaps engaging in a novel from her former career to remind her of what she once was and how she has forever shaped the Michael J. Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University.


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