Most college students gladly say goodbye to their campus library as soon as they graduate. Not Carole Bailey. Although she got her degree from UCI in 1974, she’s still a loyal patron.

“I have a real soft spot for the library,” she says. “When I was at UCI, the library was the center of the universe. There was only the main library (now Langson), and I spent a lot of time there. I lived at the library.”

Bailey found a novel way to give back to her favorite institution; she’s the first alumnus to set up an endowed fund for UCI Libraries. Interest from her initial $25,000 and additional donations will be used to purchase titles in social sciences and history.

“It’s particularly gratifying that an alumna recognizes and supports the central role the Libraries play at UCI,” says Gerald Munoff, university librarian.

A lifelong reader, Bailey has three library cards – to UCI Libraries (through her UCI Alumni Association membership), Orange County Public Library and Huntington Library, for access to its genealogy database.

“I seldom watch TV. I seldom go to movies. I just read,” she says. Although she favors crime mysteries, her interests span the entire Dewey Decimal System. Among the eclectic titles she recently checked out: 1215: The Year of Magna Carta; Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood StationThe Seven Daughters of Eve, Bryan Sykes’ book about mitochondrial DNA; and Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power.

Her healthy reading habit served her well when, as a divorced woman raising three daughters, she returned to college at age 38. She completed two years’ worth of credits in 12 months at UCI, receiving her bachelor’s in social sciences before her 40th birthday. She got a master’s in sociology from UC San Diego and was assistant superintendent of business for Capistrano Unified School District before retiring 15 years ago.

Bailey lives close to campus and continues to stay involved in UCI Libraries – attending special events and perusing the print and electronic collections.

“I encourage other alumni to set up a library endowed fund,” she says. “It’s for the future of the libraries.”