Out of Bounds

Being able to step outside the traditional bounds of librarian work makes Ted Hostetler love his job.

Most librarians do not spend their free time running shot clocks for fast-paced basketball games—but most librarians are not Ted Hostetler.

Ted HostetlerWhen the WildCats compete at home, Hostetler, the director of Randolph’s Lipscomb Library, sits on the sidelines with a group of students responsible for tracking stats and keeping score, his fingers on a small device that runs the shot clock.

“It has nothing to do with being a librarian,” he said. “I was asked to do it years ago, and I enjoy it.”

Being able to step outside the traditional bounds of librarian work makes Hostetler love his job. Before he came to Randolph, Hostetler worked for several large universities and, although he has loved libraries his entire life, those jobs left him yearning for something different.

“Instead of being a small cog in a big organization, I wanted to be a library director at a small, liberal arts college,” Hostetler said. “In a big place, you have your niche and you do your job. Here, there is a lot more variety to professional life.”

When Hostetler is not overseeing the daily operations and staff in Lipscomb Library, he can be found among the bookshelves doing reference work.

He also teaches a class on intellectual freedom, covering issues related to the U.S. Constitution and libraries.

Hostetler grew up in a rural town and always looked forward to trips to the nearest city and its library. Now he reads about 100 books per year—ranging from Charles Dickens novels to nonfiction books on a variety of subjects. “I have an inquiring mind. I like to know things,” he said.

As a librarian, he must stay on top of change, especially technological advances. During the past two decades, the digital age has transformed collegiate libraries and introduced new resources, giving Randolph students access to nearly 100,000 periodicals and other publications as well as books on the shelves. In addition, the library has also undergone a series of renovations, including updates to reading and study areas and the addition of new computer labs and the academic services center.

Those changes keep the facility an integral part of campus. Visits to Lipscomb Library this spring were up more than 50 percent over the same time last year.

“The library is the academic heart of the College. We are the place where you can have the life of the mind and free inquiry,” Hostetler said. “That’s really what a liberal arts college communicates to people. There are no limits to where your mind can go.”