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Apr 21st, 2023

A Short History of the High Point College and University Libraries – Part 3, 1989-2004

-Blog post by David Bryden, Director of Library Services

Note: This is part 3 of a 4-part series. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


In 1989 Ms. Judy Hitchcock succeeded Tom Gaughan as the Director of the Library. Ms. Judy Hitchcock was an innovative manager and leader and stayed until 2005. She oversaw the expansion of the staff and expanded hours, the library’s move to a new integrated catalog along with the first access to online electronic content as well as the first webpages.  


1996 – Technology became the watch word of the 90s.  

The watch word for libraries and librarians in the mid to late 1990s was technology. While online book catalogs had been around for many years, the 1990s saw the first of the integrated catalogs. It seems like such a small thing today, but librarians had to input vast amounts of data and holdings information to make it possible for patrons to search for and then find a book or other item in a library.  

This collective bibliography of the published content of the world is one of the most complete collections of bibliographic data and is still used by Google Scholar as a part of their search algorithm.  


During this time the method to access digital materials included “dumb” terminals which operated from a boot disc and could search the current literature as well as a very elaborate system of DVDs used by students to view the full text of content contained on the hundreds of disc. The first of the really sophisticated online databases included ERIC (still used today for education research) and pay as you go systems such as DIALOG which charged by the hour for searching proprietary content. These early years of online searching were done on VDTs (video display terminals) that was connected to a hub and then was connected to the internet via a local server. The library at one point had eight of these and students would have to wait to be connected to a resource.  


Library Homepage – 1999 – courtesy of and the Wayback Machine:


In 1996 the college went online with a library catalog that also included the collection of other colleges in this area. Working with librarians through PICA (Piedmont Independent College Association) and a state library grant, the paper card catalog book records of the PICA schools were converted to online holdings and were then made accessible via a shared online catalog. Students and faculty could use the six video display terminals (VDTs) in Smith Library to search for holdings at High Point plus five other schools in the area including Elon, Greensboro, and Guilford College. Later, in 2005 and at the University’s insistence, the library converted to its own online access (catalog) leaving PICA and the shared platform.  


Library homepage in 2004 courtesy of and the Wayback Machine:



Around this time, something remarkable happened!  



HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 25, 2004 – High Point business leader and philanthropist Nido Qubein announced today his decision to accept a request from the High Point University Board of Trustees to become the next president. 

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