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Mission & History

Osterlin Library Mission Statement

The Mission of the Mark & Helen Osterlin Library is to provide timely access to recorded information; to meet the needs of the curricular and service programs of the college; to teach library and information skills for lifelong learning; to stimulate and support the faculty in improving teaching and learning; and, insofar as possible, to share resources with those outside the college.

History of the Library

Northwestern Michigan College was established in the spring of 1951 with the first classes beginning that Fall. Right from the beginning, a library was an integral part of NMC history.

For the first four years, the library was housed in a large second-floor room in the airport building which served as the temporary home of the college.* When the college moved to the current campus in the spring of 1955, the library was located in a room in the only campus building. Walter Beardslee, from the Social Science Faculty, was appointed part-time Library Director to manage the growing collection of nearly 4,000 books.

In 1957 NMC increased enrollment to 500 students and appointed a full-time librarian, Bernard C. Rink. The library moved into a larger area in the new administration wing, the number of books increased to nearly 10,000, and planning began for a separate library building. The new library building became the first major addition to the College campus. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new library on June 23, 1960. The building was completed on schedule and was ready for occupancy with the fall opening of the college in 1961. The Mark Osterlin Library was named after Dr. Mark Osterlin, a local pediatrician, and a member of the first NMC Board of Trustees. Dr. Osterlin felt very strongly about "the importance of a good library as the hub of a college."

During the 1960's, the Mark Osterlin Library collection tripled in size to over 30,000 volumes. In 1964, it was designated a Federal Depository Library, thus enabling the library to become a repository of United States Government Documents. The Library Director, Bernie Rink, also was instrumental in the acquisition of Inuit Art, now housed at the Dennos Museum. Each summer the library hosted an Eskimo Art Sale. Further expansion to the library building occurred in 1984, with the addition of a 2-story wing on the north side. Mr. Rink retired in 1987, and was replaced as Library Director by Douglas G. Campbell.

By 1991, although the book collection had not quite doubled in size, it had been significantly updated. Perhaps more importantly, access to information increased dramatically through computer technology and the development of the Internet.. Many changes occurred in the late 1980's when the old card catalog was converted to an automated version. Librarians began conducting online searches using DIALOG on a dial-up modem, and journal databases such as Infotrac began to replace the printed Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature.

In 1997, Craig Mulder was hired as the Osterlin Library's third full-time Library Director. The library book collection was reclassified from the Dewey Decimal System to the more academically-oriented Library of Congress Classification System. Osterlin Library jumped still further into the information age with a more "advanced" online catalog; and with significant increases in library offerings for online access to books, journals, newspapers, and other knowledge resources. Computer workstations increased from a few standup versions to clusters of computers ("pods").

Summer of 2004 brought major renovation to the entire library building. Maggie Bacon, Library Director 2002-2009, supervised the renovation of the reference/service desk, library staff offices, book stacks, computer pods, and other library areas. The addition of a library classroom enabled the staff to conduct information literacy sessions right in the library and the number of these sessions increased significantly. Innovative teaching from the library staff also resulted in Web 2.0 sessions all through Spring Semester, 2009 for faculty & staff.  Despite rigorous weeding, the collection size increased to just over 50,000 titles.  To reach out to online classes, the library also began to offer online or "virtual" reference service as provided by the Michigan Academic Group consortium membership in the Michigan Community College Association.

Tina Ulrich became Osterlin Library's fifth Library Director in the Spring of 2009.  The Summer of 2009 the library redesigned its website as an integral part of the new web design initiative at NMC.

*Library history summary pre-1991 was taken from the books Northwestern Michigan College: The First Twenty Years, by Preston N. Tanis; and Northwestern Michigan College: The Second Twenty Years, by Al Shumsky and Carole Marlatt.


Librarians Emeritus

  • Bernie Rink, Director: 1957–1987
  • Doug Campbell, Director: 1987–1997
  • Craig Mulder, Director: 1997–2002
  • Maggie Bacon, Director: 2002–2009
  • Elaine Beardslee
  • Sue Carlson
  • Becky Mericle
  • Ruth Rague
  • June Thaden
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