First Southern University Librarian


The first Southern University Librarian, Camille Stivers Shade, a distinguished leader in higher education, was a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana. She came to Southern as a student in the late 1920's. While a student, she became the first editor of the S. U. Cat and a charter member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. campus chapter. Following graduation, she assumed the post of Librarian, a position she held for four decades. Later, Shade received the Bachelor of Library Science degree from Hampton Institute and the Master of Education from Columbia University.

Under Shade's leadership, the library grew from a book room to a modern two-story structure completed in 1940. By 1957, this structure was almost doubled in size. A number of innovative ideas emerged. In the 1960's, the Black Heritage Collection, growing out of the core Negro Collection, became a significant resource during the height of the Black Arts movement. Later, Shade provided the staff and the facility for the endangered University Archives Collection, begun by the late Dean John Brother Cade. As well, national and international programs, including the Peace Corps training unit, were appropriately supported by the provisions of books, periodicals and audio-visual media. Under her administration, the S. U. Library truly achieved the "heart of the University" status.

Current library staff members who knew her, remember Camille Shade as a fair, competent and decisive administrator who encouraged and supported staff growth and achievement both on the campus and in the community. She worked diligently to acquire faculty status for staff librarians, and systematic promotion for civil service employees.

Shade's affiliations in the community were many. Board memberships included: Blunden Orphanage, the Baton Rouge area YWCA, Baton Rouge Family Counseling Service, Council on Mental Health, Girls Scouts of America, Human Relations Council and the Arthritis Foundation. She held active membership in the Flower Lovers Garden Guild, La Septieme Salon, Des Livres l'Automme and the Reading Club.

In 1969, Shade retired as Director of Libraries and assumed a three-year post as Selective Dissemination Information Librarian, under the directorship of Edward Fontenette, her successor. Camille Shade left a legacy of distinguished educational leadership. The Black Heritage Collection was renamed the Camille S. Shade Collection in memoriam during Black History Month on February 8, 1995.

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Page last updated October 30, 2001