Dear Library colleagues,
In an alternate universe, I am, I expect, not sending this email, but cheerfully mingling with all of you in Morrison Library, celebrating the long and prosperous careers of our fellow colleagues.
While our traditional retirement party cannot happen this year (in this universe), we in the Library still want to honor this rite of passage and shine a light on the great work and legacies of this year’s retirees. Thank you to all who have written in with letters and happy send-offs. We have drawn from these notes to put together the following vignettes, which we hope can begin to capture the remarkable contributions our retirees have made over these many years.
For everything listed here — along with countless other deeds and accomplishments surely missed — we offer endless thanks and kudos. We wish you all good luck in future adventures and best wishes for a long, happy, and peaceful retirement.
Edited excerpt of email Jeff MacKie-Mason sent to library staff
Over her 31 years of service, Tomoko has made countless contributions to the C. V. Starr East Asian Library. Among her most memorable is also the simplest: making all visitors feel welcome in that space from the moment they walk in the door. “It would be hard to imagine the front desk area in EAL without Tomoko around,” says Susan Xue, EAL’s head of information and public services and e-resources librarian. “Her working at the front desk has been a lasting image for many EAL staff and patrons alike.”
Tomoko started working for the Library in 1988, when she was hired as an assistant circulation supervisor. (At the time, she was based in the East Asiatic Library, in Durant Hall; the library’s collections were moved into EAL’s current home in 2008.) Since the move, Tomoko has overseen EAL’s circulation operations as the library’s access services coordinator. In that role, Tomoko has helped the Library steadily transition from GLADIS to Millennium — a monumental undertaking. At the same time, Tomoko has served as a dedicated mentor to her colleagues and a prolific supervisor of the library’s student employees. (By one colleague’s estimate, students trained by Tomoko number in the hundreds.) “Tomoko is always productive, honest, reliable, persistent, resourceful, self-disciplined, and broad-minded,” Susan says. “She is a great colleague whom her co-workers can rely on and turn to for help. She will be sorely missed.”
In her retirement, Tomoko looks forward to traveling between Japan and the U.S. and enjoying time with family and friends.
CHUN MENG LIN (LYNN)
Lynn joined the Library nearly two decades ago, starting in the lending unit of Interlibrary Services in 2001. But her library expertise goes much further back. Lynn brought to Berkeley ample experience in interlibrary lending from her time at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as key reference and cataloging insights from her work at the Hubei Provincial Library in Wuhan, China. These skills have helped her department soar.
As a lending assistant, Lynn has spent her entire tenure at the Library supporting the research needs of patrons across the University of California (as well as those at Stanford, through a special lending agreement). She is a tireless teammate, known for sharing her vast bibliographic skills with colleagues and graciously assisting patrons and staff members by translating citations in Mandarin, Japanese, and Russian at a moment’s notice.
“We thank her for and will miss her generosity of spirit, her quiet and smart sense of humor, and her kind nature no matter what challenges and changes we faced,” says Shannon Monroe, head of lending and photoduplication. “It has been an honor to work with her for her entire time here in ILL.”
Colleagues wish Lynn happy travels, a relaxing time in the garden, and peaceful afternoons watching rain through the window.
Steve started his journey with the Library in 1981, as a student employee in the Government Documents Department (in Doe’s third-floor annex, where The Bancroft Library is now). He has never stopped learning, and has imbued the Library with this inquisitive spirit over the years. In particular, his deep knowledge of language and history has strengthened the Library’s foreign language collections for generations to come.
“You embody, like so many of those who came before us, the soul of the Library, manifested by a love of its rich history and deep knowledge of its dynamic community of users,” says Claude Potts, librarian for romance language collections. “With your myriad contributions, (the soul of the Library) lives forever.”
As a student at Cal, Steve worked in circulation and serials processing. (Steve ventured far outside his field of sociology, taking courses in French, German, and Dutch.) He was officially hired by the Library in 1990, doing reference work in government documents and converting materials into machine-readable formats for the Music Library. Steve eventually moved to the Music Library full time, doing reference work and processing serials and monographs. In 2000, Steve became a reference generalist in Doe and later a curatorial assistant for the romance language collections (learning Italian along the way). In 2013, Steve took over the role of Dutch selector. He has also assisted with the German collection.
After 36 years with the Library, Steve looks forward to catching up on his reading and, someday, traveling and attending opera — his great passion. He also dreams of the eventual return of going to movies and dining with friends.
While impact is hard to quantify, here is a start: As administrative and student employment coordinator, Judy has overseen the annual employment of more than 600 students across the Library, developing innovative policies and communication protocols to keep this giant, dynamic workforce running smoothly year in and year out.
“Judy’s dedication to the student employees of the Library — and their supervisors — is greatly appreciated and will be missed,” says Susan Swarts, associate university librarian for administrative services and organizational effectiveness.
Judy’s time with the Library is her second career. After raising three daughters, Judy earned two master’s degrees — one in communications and one in library and information science. (She attended the latter program alongside her daughter Katrina.) While obtaining her degree, Judy completed a student internship in The Bancroft Library. In 2008, Judy started working in the Library’s Human Resources Department, where she patiently dealt answers and clear-eyed guidance to staff members across the Library. Judy has also lent her time to Interlibrary Services, the Staff Development Committee, and the Scholarly Communication Expertise Group.
A self-professed lover of the Library and its people, Judy will remember fondly the “special feeling of sitting in Morrison Library and walking on campus in the early morning.” Upon retirement, she and her husband will be relocating to their new home in Tehaleh, Washington, where she hopes her daughters and granddaughter will visit often.
Agnes’ résumé during her 38 years with the Library is long and vibrant. Her wingspan has stretched from the Northern Regional Library Facility, in Richmond, to the stacks of the Physics-Astronomy Library. But her impact is even broader still: She has trained scores of students, and her talents as a supervisor have inspired colleagues across the Library.
“Agnes often told me just how impressed she was with her student employees, and would marvel at how much they would mature during their short careers with the Library,” says Peter Soriano, chief operations manager for the Library’s Engineering & Physical Sciences Division. “At the same time, it is clear how much her student employees absolutely adored Agnes, citing how kind, supportive and available she was as a supervisor.”
Agnes started her Library career in 1983, helping transfer collections from Richmond’s Inter-Campus Library Facility, in the old Ford Motor plant, to the newly opened NRLF, where Agnes worked for six years. She went on to become the evening supervisor at the Engineering Library; circulation supervisor at the Environmental Design Library; and the operations manager of the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library. For the past five years, she has been the circulation supervisor at both the chemistry and the physics libraries. Agnes has also given her time to many committees.
Going forward, Agnes’ colleagues in the Library wish her many bright days full of peaceful walks and backyard birds, and many happy hours in the kitchen making baked beets and mushroom-barley soup.
Largely working behind the scenes, Don has quietly helped ensure the success of the Library for 22 years. As mailroom supervisor, he has helped precious Library cargo make its way around the campus — and the world.
Don began his career at Berkeley in 1985, working as the stores supervisor for Library Supply and Maintenance before becoming the purchasing/stores/receiving manager for Barker and Koshland halls in 1994. Don then left Cal for a while, working in sales for a software company; as an agent for John Hancock Financial Network; and as a buyer for an integrated supply company.
He returned to the Library in 2013. In the mailroom, Don has overseen the maintenance of four library vehicles and led a small team of dedicated staff members, making sure daily tasks — such as processing incoming and outgoing mail, sorting packages for delivery, and picking up items across campus and NRLF — have been performed like clockwork.
“The list (of duties) could go on and on, but these are just a few examples to highlight the importance of his work to the mission of the Library,” says Sukhjit Johal, head of Library capital projects and facilities management.
Before COVID-19 hit, Don planned to go snorkeling around the world. For now, he will spend time in the garden, lounge with his cats, and work on the honey-do list around the house.
With her 40-year anniversary around the corner, Jan has dedicated nearly a lifetime to the Library. She has left an indelible mark on the Library’s people and collections, earning a reputation as an exceedingly thoughtful, knowledgeable, good-humored colleague.
Jan started in the Technical Services Department in 1980, where she helped convert catalog information into machine-readable forms, process new materials, and perform copy cataloging. Throughout the ’80s, during a period of staff rotations, Jan lent her time to several other departments. She helped write and edit various Library publications, teach instruction sessions, and give Library tours. Jan also worked on collection development and reference services.
In 1994, Jan earned her M.L.I.S from Berkeley (followed by an M.A. in humanities from San Francisco State). Over the decades, Jan has assumed many selector responsibilities in the Arts & Humanities Division. Her legacy can be found across the Library’s philosophy, religion, rhetoric, interdisciplinary studies, and undergraduate collections, and in the colleagues who have learned from her throughout these many years.
“Jan brings a wealth of knowledge along with a respect for her colleagues that I will miss,” says Abby Scheel, head of the Arts & Humanities Division. “I wish her happy travels as she pursues her love of adventures and all the other opportunities ahead of her.”
Adventures ahead include traveling, hiking, reading, studying new languages, and spending time with family and friends.
After an illustrious career as a musician — touring the world for decades as a performer and instructor of the Baroque lute — Franklin settled into a new career at the Library in 2008. Working in the Acquisitions Department for several years now, Franklin has helped get new books off the department’s shelves, into the cataloging system, and out into the world.
Franklin’s journey at Berkeley began in the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, where he worked as the evening and weekend supervisor. Franklin transitioned to the monograph receiving unit of the Acquisitions Department in 2011, handling the receipt and processing of Germanic language books and music scores. Over the years, English language materials and maps were added to his plate. Franklin also helped move Arabic and Turkish materials received on approval plans into the cataloging workstream and dabbled in metadata management during a stint in copy cataloging.
“Franklin cared about his personal workflows and took pride in their completion,” says Mark Hemhauser, head of the Acquisitions Department. “His colleagues appreciated his knack for banter and welcomed a break from the workday for a chat with him.”
After 12 years with the Library, Franklin will now devote time to arranging and playing Bach on the Baroque lute. Franklin looks forward to resuming performances in Thüringen when the pandemic subsides.