The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

Fawcett who? Library history revealed.

The Fawcett Library is used in many ways by the entire Webb community. One example is the journalism class that uses the main library space as their classroom. “The library is a very comfortable environment for me and very user friendly because of how comforting it is,” said Nichola Monroe, Chief Editor of Features for the WCC. The library will continue to be a hub of information and communication for many years to come.   Credit: Gaby Trauttmansdorff (’22)

Almost every Webb student enters the Fawcett Library at least once a day. We check out books, study at the tables, watch movies in the classrooms with friends, or seek help from the tech office and librarians. But how much does the student body really know about the W. Russell Fawcett Memorial Library? Basically nothing.  

Fawcett Library was built in 1987 and spans 11,764 square feet. The upper floor is home to Webb’s main library and research center as well as four classrooms and numerous study spaces. The lower floor houses three additional classrooms. The library has become an integral part of student life at Webb.  

“I like coming in the library to do homework and I think it’s a really great collaborative space,” Josephine Burdekin (‘22) said. “I think it’s a place where the seniors come together, at least, [and] I know the freshman do too. It’s a good community space.” 

The library is somewhere that students gather as a community, supporting each other through the joys of karaoke day or the trials of finals week. Many Webb students associate the library with positive memories and value it as an essential part of Webb’s community.  

“It’s just kind of a place where you can do everything,” Matthew Gooch (‘22) said. “There’s a lot accessible for students with all the rooms and everything, so there’s a lot of opportunities in the library.” 

When asked if they knew who the Fawcett Library was named after, Josephine and Gooch both said that they had “no idea” who Fawcett was. Even though the library is such a prominent feature of Webb’s campus, it has an elusive history that is not common knowledge to the students at Webb.  

Priscilla Fawcett provided the funds for the library to be built as a memorial to her husband W. Russell Fawcett. The couple had a son, David ‘Dave’ Fawcett, who was a Webb alumnus from the class of 1961 and a teacher at Webb.   

“Dave Fawcett was here for 41 years; a longtime teacher, incredible boarding school person, [was] the dorm head for Jameson dorm, [and] just had a huge career here,” said Taylor Stockdale, Head of Schools. “The library is named for his father; I believe his name was Russell Fawcett. I didn’t know much about him, but I did meet his mother, Priscilla Fawcett.”  

Mr. Stockdale describes Mrs. Fawcett, the donor behind Fawcett library, as “an amazing person” who was always looking to help with funding projects at Webb that other donors did not want to pay for, such as a new plumbing system.  

Her son, Dave Fawcett, was known to have been a huge proponent of the library’s foundation, advocating for research and growing knowledge.  

“Well, I thought the library was integral and, after the chapel, was the hub of what Webb was about,” Dave said. “We had our meetings there, that’s where our book collection was. Obviously, I felt a connection to it — I certainly sent my students there all the time to do research. I was very pleased to see that the technology in the library was keeping pace with what was happening in the world.” 

He was also known for being dedicated to his students, pushing them to be their best selves.  

“I always felt that his reputation was based upon his integrity, which is, he was exactly what he put himself out to be,” said Tim Quinn, a former Webb faculty member who taught at Webb during the same time as Dave Fawcett and was his neighbor.  

“He was smart,” Mr. Quinn said. “He was tough. He was gruff and grumpy at times because he continued to emphasize academic integrity and intellectual development. That was it. After that, he would be your friend, but only after that.” 

“He was a very hard teacher, he was very demanding,” Mr. Stockdale said. “I think that what Dave Fawcett represented was the sort of all-in faculty member. He was always there to do dirty work, or pick up things, or help kids out.”  

Before the Fawcett Library was built, the only library on campus was the Jackson Library. The Fawcett family saw a need for a new, larger library which has greatly benefitted the students of Webb to this day.  

“It’s a center of inquiry for us,” Mr. Stockdale said. “It’s the center of knowledge. It’s the center of scholarship. I mean, it really represents the hub of the wheel that makes Webb click.”  

In an interview with Dave Fawcett, he talked about previous uses of the library. 

“They did functions in the library as well — sometimes those functions were kind of riotous,” Mr. Fawcett said. “After hours revelry and the occasional romantic entanglements happened in the library. It was kind of a second student union (referring to Hooper). Sometimes the uses are a little anterior, but I really do not have a problem with that.” 

In the present day, Webb students recognize the library as a central part of Webb’s campus, so what lies ahead in the future of Fawcett library? 

Mr. Stockdale expressed an interest in doing a remodel for the library in the coming years.  

“Well, I mean when Hooper was closed it [the library] really got beat up,” Mr. Stockdale said. “[The library] was everything, all the time, to everyone. So, I know we absolutely need to do a rehab of it in terms of the carpeting, the furniture, the lighting, all of that.” 

Fawcett Library continues to be a research hub, gathering place, and study space for all Webb students. So even with a possible remodel in the future, currently we all need to help preserve the integrity of the library space for future generations.  

Note: Dr. Dzula, who manages the library, is the adviser to the WCC and the Director of Teaching and Learning Resources. 

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About the Contributors
Gaby Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg
Gaby Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg, Editor of Opinion
No one can match Gaby Trauttmansdorff (‘22)’s unapologetically kind and fierce personality. As a dorm prefect and an admission fellow here at Webb, she values the commitment it takes to make everyone feel heard and welcomed on campus. Gaby, a dedicated editor and journalist of the Webb Canyon Chronicle, connects with the community by sharing messages about justice and equality. Fascinated by the sciences, Gaby is passionate about neurology and neuroscience. Outside of class, she likes to relax by listening to Harry Styles or baking delicious sugar cookies. Gaby also enjoys playing the guitar or reading intriguing books. Every morning, Gaby savors a cup of coffee: a homebrewed Starbucks roast with her choice of pumpkin spice creamer. An avid television watcher, Gaby’s favorite movies and shows include Legally Blonde, Moana, Little Women, and Gilmore Girls. As the Co-Editor of Opinion, Gaby hopes to communicate the importance of increasing equity between VWS and WSC and strives to incorporate more diversity on campus. As a committed Webb leader, Gaby does whatever it takes to bring about fairness for students on campus. Favorite song: "Happy and Sad" by Kacey Musgraves
Sharon Xu
Sharon Xu, Editor of News
Unlike her favorite animal, the panda, Sharon Xu (‘22) is a go-getter and always tries her best. An amicable, assiduous South Hutch prefect that dances, Sharon is truly one of a kind. She is also the Editor of News for the Webb Canyon Chronicle and strives for informative, intellectual, and imaginative news articles for all of Webb to read. Sharon can often be found hanging out at the Appleby Lawn or studying in the library. Her favorite book is “One Last Stop,” in which Jane, the main character, finds herself on an unescapable train and makes a home for herself there. Just like Jane, Sharon is encapsulated by the “Webb web” and makes the most out of every situation she finds herself in. For example, when faced with the terrifying prospect of “math,” Sharon, despite many setbacks, works tirelessly and overcomes this hurdle. This work ethic translates to every aspect of her life. Whether it is authoring compelling articles for journalism or taking care of her two cats, Sushi and Doctor Spencer Reed, Sharon will always put her all into it. Favorite song: "How You Get the Girl" by Taylor Swift

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