A pillar through the times

By By Trent Lowe

By Trent Lowe

Through the many changes the U’s library has seen during the years, there has been one constant: Linda Burns.

Linda Burns, an employee in the operations department at the Marriott Library, has been a steady foundation in the middle of great change for the past 45 years at the U.
“I started out at the old George Thomas Library,” Burns said. “This building was built in 1968, and additions have been made since. I’ve seen huge differences8212;the look of the library, but also the technology.”

Burns was recognized at the U’s Staff Service Award luncheon along with 165 other staff members and faculty at the U for at least 25 years of employment. But she alone was able to claim the distinction of being at the U for 45 years8212;the longest of anyone there.
“Libraries have always been a fun place for me,” Burns said. “I like the atmosphere; I love the campus. The money is adequate. I’m not saying it’s great, but it’s enough. I have two children and was able to put them through college at half-tuition, which is a huge benefit for the employees here.”

Burns has spent her time inside the books during many of history’s notable events. Hired Feb. 3, 1964, Burns started at the U only four days before the Beatles, one of the best-selling music groups in history, touched American soil and appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” While at the U, she saw the beginning and end of American involvement in the Vietnam War.

July 20, 1969 gave the world Neil Armstrong’s famous quote, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” and Burns walked the U’s sidewalks that day.
In December 1969, the U made history by connecting with Stanford University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of California-Santa Barbara campuses using ARPANET, the technology that eventually became the Internet8212;and Burns was there.

U President Michael Young noted that Burns was present on campus when the
famous8212;or infamous8212;concert known as Woodstock happened and, as it’s told, brought an end to the 1960s.

“In the ’60s, we were all kinds of frivolous,” Burns said. “Students seem a lot more serious to me today, but it might just be because the library attracts top-flight students and I don’t interact with the other students.”

Burns has noted many other changes on campus besides those done to the library.
“The new library buildings have had the biggest impact on me, but the stadium was a big deal when it was built, especially because we’re big football fans,” she said.
Although Burns wasn’t present at the luncheon in the Union Ballroom to receive her recognition, she remembers what the place used to be.

“The Union building is totally different,” she said. “It used to just be an annex with a small snack bar and a little bookstore.”

Richard Payson

A luncheon was held at the Union Ballroom on Tuesday to honor 166 staff members whose tenure at the U is 25 years or longer. The list includes Linda Burns, who has been on staff for 45 years.