“There was an opening for a night librarian,” recalled Culnane. “RTS and Belhaven had a good relationship, and I felt like this was a good opportunity for me at the time.”
Culnane took that position as night librarian, working until 11:00 p.m. most nights for 15 years. In 2012, another opportunity was in front of him when the Director of Libraries position opened up.
“I asked the staff whether I should consider it, and whether they could work with me,” Culnane said in a recent interview.
The staff agreed and Culnane was named the Director of Libraries, a position that he still holds today. His leadership has come at a crucial time, as technology has dramatically changed the Belhaven University library.
“The library is smaller than it used to be, but offers more to our students,” said Culnane. “We have over 106,000 e-books and over 44,000 digital journals. We offer students access to nearly 100 databases. Every student on campus has the opportunity to do research in their field of study.”
Culnane, who received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana University, recalls a time when the Warren Hood Library was the central hub of student activity.
“We sometimes had trouble keeping students quiet,” joked Culnane. “When the new student center was built, most of the activity moved there.”
Culnane recalls some of his cherished memories at Belhaven, revolving around his birthday. Dr. Edwin McAliuster, a former English professor and several students set up a surprise birthday for him, complete with cupcakes that spelled out his name.
“Howard Barr had given me an envelope about 9 months before my 64th birthday,” said Culnane. “He told me not to open it until my birthday, and I obliged. When I opened it, it was a CD of the Beatles’ ‘When I’m Sixty-Four!’
Congratulations to Chris Culnane on his 20 years of service at Belhaven University and his induction into the Legacy of Learning.