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Our Mission

The Friends of the Spring Hill College Library is a volunteer group established to support and promote the Spring Hill College Library, Archives and Special Collections. The Friends raise and contribute funds through a variety of projects including the voluntary operation of the Book Nook used book store. The Friends encourage gifts and bequests of books and manuscripts to the Library and to the Archives and Special Collections and promote awareness of the Library and the college.

Art in the Book Nook!

If you have a chance in the next couple of weeks, consider stopping by the Book Nook!  Dennis, the Book Nook Manager, has created a nice collage of book marks on the top of the counter next to the check-out desk.  These book marks are from Dennis' collection as well as found in books donated to the Book Nook.
A very nice and artistic touch to the Book Nook!

Phyllis Compretta: 20 Years of Service

When Phyllis started at Spring Hill College in July 1996, little did she know it would be the beginning of a long career in the library. As Interlibrary Loan and Government Documents Assistant, she’s witnessed an array of changes over time. There is a magnificent new building, new interlibrary loan software, and an increasing number of online government documents. In Phyllis’s memory, Spring Hill College has always been a net lender. This means it lends more books to other libraries than it borrows from them. This is a testament to the quality of the library’s collections.

An avid reader, Phyllis loves her job. She appreciates and finds “calming” the detailed and consistent procedures involved in processing interlibrary loan requests and documents.

A great collection is a first step to a great library, but equally important are the many services libraries offer, including interlibrary loan. Behind each of these is a great staff member, and Phyllis is certainly one of them. Congratulation on your first 20 years, Phyllis, and may there be many more to come.

Dr. John Hafner: A Legacy of Giving

For many years, Dr. John Hafner was a familiar face at Spring Hill College. Not only was he a beloved professor of English, but he returned to campus often to greet former students at homecomings. Today, he continues to give back. As the original 1931 Heywood Wakefield Corporation Byrne Library chairs were made available to potential buyers, Dr. Hafner purchased eight of them. Recently, he decided to return them to the College after having them restored by AJB Restoration, Inc. (Mobile).

Their new home is room 365, the Division of Philosophy and Theology’s Conference Room, located in the Lucey Administration Center. The Division already had an original Byrne Library Reading Room table. Now, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Hafner, eight original library chairs around it are having a homecoming.

As Theology Professor Dr. Timothy Carmody remarked, “The Division of Philosophy and Theology is thrilled to have the original library chairs to match the library table. They make the room look elegant and homey. While it is our ‘conference room,’ the feel is now like a small and cozy library. The faculty meets in this room, students take tests and study here. The Division is most appreciative to Dr. John Hafner for thinking of us for this gift. We hope that generations of students to come will find this room and these chairs a nurturing spot to read and study.”

In addition to helping create new spaces for study and discussion, Dr. Hafner has enriched library collections.
Focusing his research on Southern literature, Dr. Hafner amassed an especially rich collection on Faulkner, which now has a permanent home in the Burke Library. Involved statewide in literary activities, he also developed a special interest in collecting the first editions of Alabama authors’ first works. Many of these also now have homes on Burke Library shelves. This collection, exceeding 300 volumes, is so vast, however, that it has given a new dimension to the Book Nook. The Book Nook has a new section on “Alabama Authors.” Revenues from Book Nook sales directly benefit the library, so Dr. Hafner’s gifts create a legacy of support for the library, for literary scholarship, and for Alabama’s rich literary heritage.

A Wonderful Friend

Since the Friends’ inception in 1990, Patrice Baur has been a Board member. She is both a lifetime member and one of 17 charter members. Beyond those numbers, however, is an unparalleled gift of service. She initiated the Memorial and Honoree Book Program, which resulted in donations exceeding $48,000.00, and the Faculty Wish List Program, which contributed more than $6,000.00 to purchase library materials requested by faculty, a program that morphed into an annual gift of $500.00 for new faculty library requests. She took the lead in numerous fundraising events: the 1990 Festival of the Books, the 2002 Dining with Shakespeare gala, and the 2004 Rewriting Shakespeare festivity.

Fittingly, she earned the Friends' Special Volunteer award in 2000, but only Patrice Baur could do even more. As Hospitality chair, she orchestrated 24 special events for Book Nook special sales and provided the same special ambiance for more than 67 literary events. As Annual Dinner chair, she planned more than 12 dinners. As Historian, she prepared numerous annual reports, including the anniversary report: Friends of Spring Hill College Library: Celebrating 25 Years of Service. She was instrumental both in securing the Bishop Portier will and for commissioning the portrait of Dr. Charles Boyle for the Library Archives/Rare Book Room. As President from 2002 to 2004, her creativity and dedication moved the Friends forward. During that time, she secured the Valentine Swider bequest of $56,000.00, which enabled purchase of a jumbo scanner and other equipment, software, art work, and, in 2016, two custom archival display cabinets.

Patrice may be retiring from the Board this year, but not from ongoing service to the Friends in her newly elected position as Board Member Emeritus, with voting rights.

1831 Notebook Returns to Spring Hill College

In 1831 Morris Gates was a student at Spring Hill College, attending classes and keeping a composition notebook. How, after more than a century, his notebook ended up in the collections of the Oneida County Historical Society (NY) is partly a mystery.Photograph of Notebook interior

Some parts of the puzzle are clearer than others. Mrs. Frances Nash (Kingston, NY) uncovered the notebook in her late great aunt Frances Alida Griffins belongings and donated it to the Society. Her great aunt, who became one the earliest trained nurses, had been educated and raised by Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Gates.

Although the relationship between Morris and Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Gates isn't known, the notebook is back where it belongs-on the Hill.

Special thanks are due to Jeana Ganskopf, Director of Collections and Outreach at the Oneida County Historical Society (NY), who contacted Library Director Gentry Holbert about returning the work to the College.

Volunteers Needed

Be involved!  The Book Nook needs a volunteer for Thursdays, from noon to 4 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm.  Book Nook volunteers receive a 20% discount on all Book Nook purchases!

The Book Nook is on the lower level of the Burke Memorial Library.  The Book Nook is open on Thursdays from noon until 4 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am until 4 pm.

A Celebration of Sherlock Holmes

Join the Friends of the Spring Hill College Library for a Celebration of Sherlock Holmes!  The Annual Dinner and Silent Auction will be:

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Byrne Memorial Hall
Open Bar with Silent Auction and a Mystery to Solve at 6:30 pm
Dinner with Wine and Dessert at 7:30 pm

Please RSVP by May 5th at:

Friends of Spring Hill College Library
c/o Audrey Patterson
3763 Old Shell Road, Unit B
Mobile, AL  36608

Cost is $50 per person

For questions, please call 251-342-9308

As Sherlock Holmes would like for us to remember:  "It is my business to know what other people don't know."

Meet Katherine Bentley Jeffrey

The Friends of the Library of Spring Hill College are sponsoring a lecture by author and Civil War scholar Katherine Bentley Jeffrey. The lecture, entitled "The Lives and Legacy of Two Civil War Chaplains Buried in Mobile: Father Darius Hubert, SJ and Father Abram Ryan," will take place at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 30th in the Barter Room on the second floor of the Burke Memorial Library at Spring Hill College.


Fr. Ryan, who achieved a good deal of fame, was nonetheless an unfulfilled and semi-tragic figure, partly because he never reconciled to the loss of the Confederacy. Fr. Hubert, by contrast, who knew Lee and Jackson personally and was the last to speak at the funeral of Jefferson Davis, was able to come to terms with the Lost Cause in a manner that did not unsettle his faith or his joyful and generous demeanor.

Jeffrey is the author of newly-published Two Civil Wars: The Curious Shared Journal of a Baton Rouge Schoolgirl and a Union Sailor on the USS Essex.

Two Civil Wars

Poetry Slam

Spring Hill College's English Club and the Friends of Spring Hill College's Library are proud to sponsor a Poetry Slam!

The Poetry Slam will be in the outside space between Skip's Place and Viragh Hall, on Thursday, 3/23/2017 at 7 pm.

Drinks and snacks will be available.

All are welcome!



Friends Acquire Portier's Last Will and Testament

Photo of Michael Portier

Michael Portier (1795-1859) was SHC's founder and 
Mobile's first Roman Catholic bishop.

Born in France in 1795, he immigrated to the United States in 1817. After completing his studies at St. Mary's Seminary (Baltimore), he was ordained for the priesthood in the Diocese of St. Louis and was consecrated bishop in 1825. He remains today a central figure in Mobile's history. In addition to founding what is now Spring Hill College, he also established the Visitation Convent and girls' school in Mobile, oversaw construction of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and founded a hospital, presently known as Providence.

Representing a private collector, The Neal Auction Company (New Orleans) contacted the College to determine its interest in obtaining the Portier will. Immediately, the Friends of Spring Hill College Library purchased it. The will outlines the Bishop's wish to give his estate to Spring Hill College, and directs the College to provide $50 yearly to each of his two sisters. The document is housed in the College Library Archives

Burke Memorial Library I Spring Hill College I 4000 Dauphin Street I Mobile, AL 36608 I 251-380-3870               PDFs require Adobe® Acrobat Reader®.