The 2019 Nancy B. Shelton Spirited Contributor Award was recently presented to Betty Andrews Eike ’65, M.S. ’73. A fixture at Longwood, where she has worked in Longwood Library for 50 years, Eike is both cataloguer and unofficial historian, serving as an important resource for students and co-workers. Eike is a life-long Farmville resident who has deep family ties to Longwood–most of her family either worked or graduated from the college. And with no immediate plans to retire, she will remain a fixture on campus for years to come.
Officially a cataloging specialist for Longwood Library, Betty Andrews Eike unofficially doubles as an in-house historian. When co-workers from Special Collections and Archives need someone to identify people or places in old photographs, they go to Eike. Occasionally she remembers the face and not the name, but often she nails it.
Her knowledge is impressive but not surprising. After all, Eike has worked at the library for 50 years, and her campus association goes back even further. Most of her family either worked or graduated from Longwood. Eike, a lifelong Farmville-area resident, arrived at Longwood as an undergraduate in 1961, and, with the exception of two years when she taught in public school, she was on campus earning degrees and then working at the library.
In the 1970s, Eike rode her Honda motorcycle to work. Since then, she and the library have changed.
“When I started, we used the old card catalog. Now we have an electronic library system. The changes are vast and have been amazing to see. Today I catalog everything from traditional print material to multimedia and electronic resources like streaming videos and e-books,” she said.
Eike remembers when the library moved to its present location in 1991. “That was hard work but terrifically exciting. Administrators, faculty members, staff and students helped reshelve books in the new building.”
Despite the changes, Eike’s devotion to Longwood remains steadfast. The library is where she feels most effective and engaged. Eike has lost her husband, Gene, a well-known broadcaster at WFLO in Farmville, and her immediate family. Now the library is her home, she said. “That’s one reason I’ve stayed so long. You just don’t give up on your family.
“Probably one day I’ll keel over in the library, be stamped ‘discard,’ and rolled out with the other discards,” she joked. Until then you’ll know where to find her.
Matthew McWilliams, AVP Communications, LWU