by Danielle Phillips
Most students do not have the opportunity to take a walk through the archives on the top floor of the library, but this is what Robert Congleton has the most pride in as the new chair of Moore Library. The collection contains rare books, nostalgic Rider memorabilia and historic business machines, including typewriters dating back to 1874.
Congleton was appointed to the position on Sept. 1. His duties include administering the day-to-day operation and services of the library; coordinating library faculty work, projects, and committees; working closely with the dean of University Libraries; and taking care of the Rider history archives.
“I love collecting anything related to the history of the University,” Congleton said. “From the evolution from a small business college, to its move to Lawrenceville, and going from a college to a university, it’s just so interesting.”
Prior to becoming the library’s chair, Congleton served as the library’s head archivist and primary cataloguer of the serial database before becoming the library’s chair. The new position lets him continue to work in the library.
“I enjoy working with my colleagues, students and library faculty, and fulfilling the needs of the University’s mission,” Congleton said.
Congleton received his B.A. in history in 1978 from Rider, his M.A. in history from the University of Connecticut and an M.L.S. from Rutgers University. Before returning to his alma mater, he was Serials Acquisition Librarian and acting head of the Binding/Preservation Unit for Paley Library at Temple University for 13 years.
Congleton is most anxious about merging the library’s resources with the Princeton campus for the newly created School of Fine and Performing Arts, which combines curriculum from both campuses. This particular task will be quite a transition for the library. He has already started meeting with administrators to purchase the proper databases and music theory books to support the new college.
“I look forward to leading the library into the future as we address the information needs of new programs such as the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the growing needs for a more engaged and talented student body,” Congleton said.
Being both a Rider graduate and historian has its uses outside of the Moore Library walls. During Cranberryfest, Congleton was asked to try his hand at the Rider trivia wheel and answer a question to test his knowledge.
“[My colleagues] got right up there, spun the wheel and said ‘All right Bob, take it from here,’” he said.
To the amazement of the student working the wheel Congleton nailed the trivia question, “What is the connection between Rider and cranberries?”*
“The embarrassing thing was the student didn’t know the answer,” he said.