As Real as They Get

(07-23-2010)

Machado developed Nielsen Library and lasting friendships

There is nothing superficial or insincere about Dianne "Di" Machado. Her easy going manner and friendly attitude coupled with her professionalism and commitment to the Adams State College Nielsen Library earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues and students. She retired from the position as director of Nielsen Library in December 2009.

Dr. Carolyn Harper, emeritus professor of theatre, said: "Dianne Machado is an absolutely real human being. There is no fa├žade about the woman. Her cards are on the table and she plays well the hand she is dealt."

Photo by Linda Relyea

Photo by Linda Relyea

Evelyn Rizzi, retired 2009 from the Nielsen Library, has been friends with Machado or decades. "Di is a true friend, whether it is a long-time relationship -- like her and me, or if you have just met her."

Machado started her career as an acquisitions assistant in 1983 and six years later pursued a Master in Library Science at Emporia State in Kansas. It was a distance education program, with a program in Denver, where Di drove back and forth from once a month for nearly three years, continuing to work full-time and through a pregnancy.

In 1995, Machado was appointed director of Nielsen Library. Adams State President Dave Svaldi said: "Di Machado guided Nielsen Library through thick and mostly thin with grace and commitment. She is the only constant from when I was appointed academic vice president fourteen years ago and I will miss her."

Provost Michael Mumper said: "Di has had an enormous positive impact on many people, the library and in many ways the college itself."

Machado still considers former colleagues and students her friends and family. "My philosophy was not to micro-manage."

Murleen Goodrich, Nielsen Library technician, said Machado displayed confidence in her staff. "She is a hard worker. She worked right along with you." Rizzi said Machado never thought of herself as the "director sitting in the office making the decisions."

A Family of Students and Colleagues

As with most college staff and faculty, Machado will miss working with the students. "I did my best to try and make people happy and encourage the use of the library. I can't say enough good things about the students I met and befriended."

Developing solid relationships with her students was important to Machado. "I wanted the kids to do well in life. I supported them however I could, including feeding them and giving them fresh eggs from my chickens."

"She would give her students anything, a loaf of bread, a turkey - she would go buy it if necessary," Rizzi said. "She is that kind of person. It is probably why they worked so hard for her."

"You were not just a work-study student to Di, or someone who was went through her building," said Wendi McClaren, Adams State graduate '99 '02. "She got to know all her students. She celebrated moments with you or held your hand or gave a hug if needed. She knew her work-study students."

Debbie Reynolds, director of Lamar Public Library and Adams State alumna 2004, said when people ask her who influenced her to become a librarian, she tells them "Di." Machado was her mentor at Adams State College and while working on her Master in Library Science. Machado was one of many at Adams State who helped her achieve her dream of becoming a professional librarian. "I am thankful for the opportunity to know her as a mentor, a friend, and a fellow professional colleague."

From the moment Reynolds came to campus and became a work-study in the library Machado "encouraged" her dream. "She provided me with myriad of work experiences in the library which helped lay a strong foundation for my future career as a professional librarian." When Reynolds was not accepted into her first-choice graduate program, Machado encouraged her to stay focused on her long-term goal. "I have always appreciated her faith in my ability to reach that goal, even if I had to take a different path to get there."

Currently an English teacher at Ortega Middle School, McClaren worked with Machado while pursuing her bachelor's and master's degrees. "I wish I still had her as a boss, she was the most stress-free boss I ever had and the best boss I ever had -- I won't have better."

Former students often dropped by to visit Machado. "She is one-of-a-kind," McClaren said. "Her heart is bigger than anything. Whenever I went to visit there was always another former student visiting, telling her about their marriage, kids, or new job." Rizzi agreed, saying former students were always coming to see Machado.

Harper says, "Her goodness of heart and generosity of spirit -- in fact, Di's entire persona embodies a warm hug eager to happen."

Innovative Librarian

Libraries and librarians have moved into the twenty-first century, and none more so than Machado and the Nielsen Library. Machado embraced technology and the latest procedures with enthusiasm. The typewriter room was reappropriated as a children's area with books, comfy chairs, and painted with murals by students; a computer lab was added and named after the late Joel J. Jensen, a computing services technician who serviced the library. "He was always there for us, no matter what," Machado said. She remembers the day they "got rid" of all the paper card catalogs on the first floor. "It was a happy melancholy day, as we pulled the metal rods and flipped out the cards," she added.

Harper recalls libraries and librarians from her childhood. "The librarian sat behind the circulation desk and looked over and judged you and the book you checked out, as if you were the culprit who would deface the material or never bring it back. The circulation was like an altar, the library a 'holy place' making the librarian sacrosanct by association."

Machado was not the stereotypical straight-laced librarian repeating "hush" "hush." Harper said when Machado took over as director of the library, the atmosphere changed. "It became welcoming, not only for faculty and students but for the community as well."

According to Machado, the Nielsen Library serviced all the regional schools, especially for history and science fair projects. She enjoyed her relationships with the faculty and administrators. "I wanted to make the library open, friendly, helpful and efficient."

"In the years of Di's stewardship, ASC's library was like a comfy porch for family, where the welcome mat was always out," said Harper.

A library is a source of accessible knowledge. "Di was a reliable source of information long time before there was a Google or information highway," Harper said. "She didn't always know the answer, but she would find someone who could find it."

"She told me that when I became a professional librarian not to be afraid to tell someone that I don't know the answer to a question, but to tell them that I can help them find someone who can," Reynolds said. "This advice has proved invaluable to me, and even today I continue to follow it."

Committed To Do Her Best

Under Machado's administrative leadership an area was created for classroom instruction on the first floor, complete with a smart board and computers at every desk. "We used to have a projector screen and no chairs. When students came in we pulled out a cart and told them to get comfortable." She also directed the removal of government documents on the second floor and replaced the space with an open and inviting commons area, complete with WIFI and coffee cart. She oversaw the opening of the Jack Cooper room, a bequest of Cooper's personal collection containing over one thousand volumes on a variety of topics, including Colorado history.

The Ruth Marie Colville Room contains a collection tracing the history of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, and the San Luis Valley. "The quotes in Ruth Marie Colville's book about me and the Nielsen library, I consider the best honor," Machado said.

When it came to any kind of work, Machado was willing to assist her staff. Goodrich said Machado was always busy and thinking ahead. "With her sleeves rolled up, she was in the middle of any job helping."

Growing up in the San Luis Valley, Machado said her parents, Don and Anne Doyle, were a huge influence and instilled a strong work ethic and sense of decency. "I was brought up to offer help when needed and to treat people with respect."

While in high school, Machado was in the library science club. "I knew I wanted to be a photographer or librarian." She completed her bachelor's degree from Adams State College in 1982 with a minor in library science and major in English literature.

"Di has always been a true friend. She puts her heart and soul into people," Rizzi said.

Machado says the college was a good place to work and she enjoyed time at the institution. "I was good to Adams State College and it was good to me."

By Linda Relyea