Alice Holcombe

Alice Holcombe (‘39) stepped into the role of head librarian at Taylor in 1946, filling the vacant position left by the sudden death of Ivel Guiler two years prior. Holcombe built upon Guiler’s legacy of creating a research-oriented library and expanding its service beyond Taylor’s campus; by the time she retired in 1983, the library’s collection had moved into Ayres Alumni Memorial Library and had grown by 120,000 volumes. Holcombe also hired multiple full-time librarians to better serve students’ research needs. In 1975, Holcombe assisted in bringing a computer to the library to improve cataloguing practices through membership in the now-global library organization OCLC, and by 1979 library staff were using the computer for interlibrary-loans, which enabled the university to both borrow books from and lend books to other libraries. Holcombe’s vision for creating a research-oriented library would come to fruition in Zondervan Library, completed in 1986 with a dedicated space for a university archives.