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SBVC Library Holds History Beyond Archives

By Nicole Favela

Within the San Bernardino Valley College library, lies a room full of bookshelves with historical archives. Archives ranging from vintage yearbooks made by students, hand-drawn blueprints, and our very own Arrowhead newspapers dating from 1927. San Bernardino Valley College holds more history than it appears, especially due to renovations that were required for one’s safety. One of the buildings that had been demolished and reconstructed is our very own library. Before we had the library we know and love today, we had a library that once sat where the parking lot in front of the Admissions offices are today. Our very own Angie Gideon was once a student, then librarian, at the original library. She tells us all about her memories within the original library, including historical key points.


The Original San Bernardino Valley College Library before the second addition added in the 1960's. Image via loc.gov

Angie Gideon is a librarian here at San Bernardino Valley College. Her journey as a proud SBVC Wolverine- or Indian, before the mascot was changed in 2000-began in 1965 as a student, then as a librarian in 1967. Her family’s endeavors from Texas to Colton allowed her to do what she could to achieve her dreams of going to school.


The Original San Bernardino Valley College Library. Circa 1970s. Image via loc.gov

“I come from a poor background, you know- farmers. I come from Texas. When we came to California, we lived in Colton. My grandparents’ family worked for the railroads. And I told my dad, ‘I want to go to school when I grow up.’ And he was all like, ‘Oh, you’re such a dreamer.’ Well one time we came, and they had a slogan that this is the place to make your dreams come true. So, yeah, I’m here.” Angie was the first of her family to go to college. “This job has been good to me. I love it. That’s why I haven’t left yet,” she giggled joyously.


Ad via the Liberated Warwhoop, Circa 1972. Provided by the SBVC Library.

Angie Gideon reminisces over the wondrous lectures held here at SBVC. “I remember all of the activities, and going to the lectures.


They had such wonderful lectures by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta. All those wonderful people who used to come and speak.” She tells us about her attendance to these rallies, “I used to go to the Greek Theatre on my lunch break to listen to and watch them. That was one of my favorite things. When you work at a college institution, you take advantage of everything that's being offered there- and I did.”


Students posing outside of the second addition of the library. Circa 1960's. Via SBVC Library archives.

Gideon explains that the original library, including an additional library built onto it, was built over the San Andreas fault line. “The fault was right in the middle. They tore all of the [original] buildings because of the earthquake fault line. They can’t build anything over it, so that’s why we have lots of open space.”


Most of Valley College’s original buildings have been torn down and rebuilt due to the fact that there is a fault line sabotaging any architectural work built upon it. Angie explains that an earthquake once hit the school, causing the bookshelves to cave, creating a mess of books all around.


Gideon tells us that she likes to keep it old fashioned when it comes to resources that are provided by the SBVC library. “I love books. I know that we’re moving to the new age of technology so it is important that we know technology. But, I still prefer books. There’s something special about a book- the paper.” She believes that the library must be able to adapt to any technological advances that may be in the future. “When COVID came, everything changed. We had to stay at home and a lot [of students] didn’t have computers. So we got a bunch of computers- Chromebooks, hot spots- so that they could take them home and do their homework. I noticed that it kind of introduced them to a different world.”

Student pictured behind a bookshelf. Circa 1970's. Via SBVC Library archives.

Angie Gideon explains the toughest period of time for students here at San Bernardino Valley College. Having been here for so long, she explains that her life has felt like a movie. “The 60’s were traumatic for the students [because of] drugs, the Vietnam War, the riots. I remember all that stuff that happened, and I feel like I was lucky to be part of it. But, I always felt like I was looking from the outside in, like a play; looking at everything that was happening.” “I have always worked in the circulation department. I would sign the deferments for people who would go to the war, it meant they had to quit school because they were drafted to go to Vietnam. And one of the things I always remember is that I would wish them well. I’d tell them, ‘When you come back, please come back and say hello.’ And a lot of them did, which was amazing. And now, I’ve met the grandchildren of those students. It’s amazing because I’m still here and people are amazed that I’m still here.”


Students studying in the original library. Circa 1970's. Via SBVC Library archives.


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