Horst succeeds Bowman in historical library

By Paul Souder | August 20th, 2014

Simone Horst (left) and Lois Bowman

Simone Horst (left) and Lois Bowman

On July 1, Simone Horst ’12 became the special collections librarian of the Menno Simons Historical Library at EMU. If her leadership tenure lasts as long as her two predecessors, she will serve for decades.

Retiring librarian Lois Bowman ’60 is “proudest” (her word) of the many researchers she has helped in her 45 years at the historical library. In addition, she has cataloged thousands of books, including many rare and foreign titles. With a master’s degree from Harvard University and a second master’s from Catholic University in rare book librarianship, Bowman is EMU’s longest serving faculty and staff member, beginning in 1962.

“One of the jewels of EMU’s crown is the Menno Simons Historical Library which Lois has helped to create,” Beryl Brubaker ’64, director of the Sadie Hartzler Library, said at a retirement reception for Bowman on June 11. “It’s a jewel not only because of the materials Lois and others have collected but also because of the in-depth knowledge and interest of its staff. Ask her anything about Mennonites or related groups or about genealogy or the Shenandoah Valley, and Lois will shower you with information. She enjoys talking with visitors. She’ll proudly show you the rare book collection too, a collection that is second to none on the East Coast.”

Looking ahead to her retirement, Bowman says of her library work, “I don’t expect to miss any of it, because I plan to continue as a volunteer, doing the work I enjoy most. The rest I won’t miss!” 

Bowman became head librarian of the historical library in 1990, when her supervisor, Grace Showalter, died days before she was scheduled to retire.

Bowman’s successor, Horst, has completed a master of library and information science from the University of South Carolina. She is co-director of EMU’s digital conversion project and since 2008 has worked as an assistant in EMU’s archives.

“The library staff has worked since about 2011 on a project to digitize items from EMU’s special collections and make them available online,” says Horst. “It’s been a learning process for everyone, but it has been exciting to see the fruits of our labor in the recent months.”