Retired, But Still Working for the Library
Dick and Jean Quible in Newman Library
By Albert Raboteau
Jean Quible worked at Virginia Tech's Newman Library for nearly 30 years. Yet even now, four years after her retirement, she is still helping to ensure Virginia Tech students and scholars can get the information they need.
As an employee of the library's technical services department, Jean worked behind the scenes helping to catalog the tens of thousands of new materials the library receives each year. It's an essential task, but one to which many of the library's patrons are likely to give little thought, since cataloging takes place in an area of Newman that is off limits to the public.
When Jean and her husband Dick Quible -- a successful entrepreneur who graduated from Virginia Tech with a civil engineering degree in 1953 and has generously supported his alma mater -- were deciding how to make a major deferred gift, University Libraries was a natural choice given Jean's former career. The Quibles chose to direct their support to the technical services department, which will be named for Jean.
University Libraries Dean Eileen Hitchingham said she was not aware of any other large library where the central technical services department has been named for a donor. While technical services units are essential to libraries, Hitchingham said, the general public is often not aware of the major contributions technical services staff make. Donors are likely to want to support more visible spaces or services, Hitchingham said.
Jean Quible said she was well aware that her former department was unlikely to be the source of many donations, and that is exactly why she wanted to support it. She still remembers how the department, on Newman Library's sixth floor, got passed over when all the other floors were outfitted with new furniture during a renovation back in the 1980s.
Though Jean said she could understand why public areas of the building would have had priority for renovation funds, she pointed out that technical services is also a vital area of the library.
"The people that work there need to feel important, because they are very important," she said.
The Quibles' assistance to the library is not only financial. They also give their time as members of the National Campaign Steering Committee for the Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future, a $1 billion fundraising initiative that will improve many areas of the university, including its library system. The Quibles are co-chairs of the sub-committee for University Libraries.
"I equate the university as kind of a human body," Dick Quible said. "The students are the body that we're trying to nourish; the administration, the faculty, and the staff are all the nerves, the bones, the muscle, the blood, and the fiber of that body ... and the library is the heart of that body. Without a strong heart, the body fails, as will the university."