Farewell, Kathy

Eric Ewen, Head of Cataloging, wrote the following piece on the recent retirement of Kathy Woo, Head of Acquisitions.

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Kathy Woo, center, at the library table of a campus involvement fair.

Our beloved colleague Kathleen Ann Magri Woo joined the Gleeson Library as an assistant cataloger at precisely 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday, September 3, 1974.  On the ecclesiastical calendar it was the Feast of St. Gregory the Great, which portended the great things Kathy was to achieve during her long and illustrious career here.  Also, on that auspicious day, two other junior librarians became members of the Gleeson staff, namely, Eric Ewen (assistant cataloger) and the late Steven Corey (special collections librarian).  Never before or since has Gleeson hired three librarians on the same day.  It was a glorious moment for the late Dean Robert L. Gitler.

In those days technical services—cataloging and acquisitions—had no offices or cubicles.  It was a sea of desks.  [The poor reference librarians had it worse; they had  to share desks!]  Everyone had a typewriter.  There were no computers.  The only automation consisted of a photocopy machine.  Yet everyone was happy and productive.

The starting salary was $8,848 per annum.  We all thought that was a lot of money.  Believe it or not, technical service librarians, but not reference librarians, were allowed to smoke at their desks.  Catalogers, of course, knew better; only some of the acquisitions staff took advantage of this dubious privilege.

In 1974 the Catalog Department consisted of 4.5 FTE librarians and 4.0 FTE technical staff.  Nearly all incoming library materials were in print format.  Among her general duties, Kathy cataloged all non-book items, which were mainly music and spoken sound recordings.

After three years as a cataloger, Kathy transferred to the Reference Department in 1977.  She said her experience in cataloging helped her become a better reference librarian.  With due respect to the senior reference staff at the time, patrons found Kathy to be neither intimidating nor unapproachable.  Patrons, like her colleagues today, found her to be warm, friendly, personable, and helpful.

Kathy applied for and was selected as the Head Periodicals Librarian when that position became available in 1980.  Here she oversaw a print journal collection of more than 2,400 titles.  This work was to occupy her for the next twenty years.

In the meantime Kathy was busy outside of the library.  She married her husband Gordon, obtained a second master’s degree in modern European history from San Francisco State University, gave birth to and raised a “king’s family” (that is a girl, Lauren, and a boy, David).

Time passed.  In 2000 when Mrs. Hille Novak retired as Head Acquisitions Librarian, Kathy applied for that position and was selected.  This was her fourth position at Gleeson, all in different departments, two of which she headed.  It is a characteristic of Kathy that she was always looking for new challenges, new opportunities and new responsibilities.  This is perhaps what makes her not only the most complete librarian at Gleeson, but also the perfect librarian.  [“To improve is to change.  To be perfect is to change often.”—Churchill].

Now after fourteen years as Head Acquisitions Librarian, and more than thirty-nine years at Gleeson altogether, Kathy Woo is retiring from active duty, as it were.  She is leaving behind a rich and enviable legacy.  She will be highly respected for many accomplishments, perhaps the most significant of which is her work in acquisitions.  Here she built many fine relationships with faculty, oversaw the development and preservation of scholarly collections, and, most importantly, managed the intricate transition of library resources from the print world to the electronic world.  At all times she maintained the highest academic and ethical standards and used the financial and personnel assets at her command to provide maximum benefit to Gleeson’s clientele.  Kathy is a gifted librarian and is herself a gift to the library.  [“Life’s greatest gift is to work hard at work worth doing.”—T. Roosevelt.]

Even though she is leaving the library, Kathy’s future looks very bright as Librarian Emerita.  She will have postcards to write (from London, Paris, New York, and Maui), lots of sustained narrative reading to do, silent film festivals to attend, and grandchildren to spoil.  May she find as much happiness and success in retirement as she did when she moved easily and gracefully about the Gleeson Library.

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The Best Library Study Spot – Geschke 2nd Floor

What a difference a little carpet, paint and some furniture can make!Gleeson 2nd FloorPlease stop by the second floor of Gleeson | Geschke to check things out. We hope you’ll like what we’ve done and you might agree – it’s one of the best spots in the library to study! Thanks to Shae for the blog post idea! 

Gleeson 2nd Floor

Check out Gleeson

Sure Gleeson Library is a website, but it is also a building. Curious about where things are in Gleeson?  Join us for a library tour. The tours last about 30 minutes and a library staff member takes you around the building, shows you where things are located, and tells you about some of the library’s services available to help you.

Join us:

Tuesday January 21 @ 3pm

Wednesday January 22 @ 11am

Thursday January 23 @ 12 noon

Friday January 24 @ 10am

Saturday January 25 @ 2pm

No need to sign up–just meet us inside the library in the lobby by the fountain.

Curious about Gleeson Library?

New to USF? Or a current student but you are a little unsure where everything is in the library? Join us for a library tour. The tours last about 30 minutes and a library staff member takes you around the building, shows you where things are located, and discusses some of the library’s services available to you.

We’re giving tours on:

Monday August 19 @ 3 pm

Tuesday August 20 @ 10 am

Wednesday August 21 @ 11 am

Thursday August 22 @ 12 noon

Friday August 23 @ 2 pm

Saturday August 24 @ 1 pm

No need to sign up for anything–just meet us in the library’s lobby at those times. Everyone is welcome!

Open Mic Poetry Reading

In honor of National Poetry Month, the Gleeson Library is pleased to co-sponsor with Sigma Tau Delta an “Open Mic” poetry reading in the Donohue Rare Book Room on Tuesday, April 23rd from noon to 1:00 p.m. Students are encouraged to perform 2-3 minute readings of their original work. Do not miss this opportunity to celebrate poetry and honor student voices.

The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome to attend. For further information, please call (415) 422-2036.

John Hawk
Head Librarian
Special Collections & University Archives

Library Faculty Reading

The Gleeson Library is pleased to sponsor a faculty reading on Thursday, April 18 as it welcomes University of San Francisco Professors Kathleen Winter and Brian Dempster (Rhetoric and Language) who will read from their recent works. Kathleen Winter will read from her volume of poetry Nostalgia for the Criminal Past (Elixir Press, 2012). The collection recently won the Antivenom Poetry Award. Professor Dempster will read from his forthcoming volume of poetry, Topaz, as well as Making Home From War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday Press, 2011). Both works document and consider Japanese American imprisonment experience during World War II and its aftermath in a world that for many had drastically changed in just a few short years.

The program begins at 5:00 on Thursday, April 18 in the Donohue Rare Book Room, located on the third floor of the Gleeson Library. Light refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase. The program is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend. For further information, please call (415) 422-2036.

John Hawk
Head Librarian
Special Collections & University Archives

Richard Greggory Johnson III Library Reading

Richard Greggory Johnson IIIThe Gleeson Library is pleased to welcome University of San Francisco Associate Professor Richard Greggory Johnson III, who will read from his most recent book on October 25 in the Donohue Rare Book Room. Professor Johnson teaches in the Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration in the School of Management where his focus is public policy and administration, focusing in the areas of social equity, human resources management, higher education management and qualitative research. Dr. Johnson has published several books, including Cultural Competence for Public Managers: Managing Diversity in Today’s World (CRC Press, 2012) and The Black Professorate: Negotiating a Habitable Space in the Academy (Peter Lang, 2011). His most recent title is Teaching College Students Communication Strategies for Effective Social Justice Advocacy (Peter Lang, 2012). Dr. Johnson’s research centers on social equity and human rights within public policy and administration, targeting issues of race, gender, sexual orientation and social class.

The program begins at 5:00 on Thursday, October 25th in the Donohue Rare Book Room, located on the third floor of the Gleeson Library. Light refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase. The program is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend. For further information, please call (415) 422-2036.

John Hawk
Head Librarian, Special Collections & University Archives