From the Editor...
This issue brings an end to the volume year and also to 2005. Every once in a while I think there will be no issue, and then the stories come in from you. Thank you! I want to encourage the idea that Floor 2 Floor is a communication tool for the Library and thus I look forward to receiving your contributions. I want to especially thank Laura Archbold for her editorial assistance with the newsletter. My sporadic schedule has never prevented Laura from getting back edited stories and I greatly appreciate her constancy.
This semester we at the library have experienced many changes. In our personal lives the year marks the loss of some of our loved ones. Here at the Library we have bid farewell to some of our colleagues: Stan and Lauretta Frost, Kim Kuenlen, B.J. Shaw, Marianne Reynolds, Madeline Gaines, Jane Derry, and Jenny Leung. We also greeted new colleagues: Diana Winckel, Becky Imamoto, Astra Gleeson, Tana Symons, and Stacie Mandalla.
I want to take a special moment to acknowledge the loss of one of our colleagues. I was most saddened to hear of Elizabeth O’Brien’s passing. Around the Thanksgiving break, Eileen Heaser informed me that she had received a call from a retired professor asking for confirmation on news of Elizabeth’s death. I immediately called around to find confirmation. No one knew. A book buying trip to Mexico was forthcoming for me and I felt an urgency to find some clarity on this news. I dreaded the idea of reading an email while I was out of the country telling me that indeed Elizabeth had died. Yet, that was indeed the case—in the cavernous space of the Guadalajara Expo while at FIL I would read that email.
Elizabeth left the library quietly when she retired because that’s the way she wanted it. So now it is up to us to decide how to respond to the final farewell. I can’t let her passing go without saying anything. In the four years that I knew her, I became aware of her presence and grew to appreciate her. My first impression of her was fear. Perhaps it was her convictions. She was so outspoken and opinionated. Something about her frightened me. Even her dress style was loud. And yet she left with a quiet unceremonious exit.
My contact with Elizabeth resulted from my work with the Exhibits Committee. I had to work with Elizabeth in this capacity and I found it challenging. I realize it was her passion that gave me hesitation. It was that uninhibited passion with which she expressed herself and carried out all of her actions that made me pay attention. When she liked something she told you and when she didn’t you would hear that too.
From the stories she told me about her life at the library she understood that this passion of hers often got her into trouble. But she never feared. She always looked forward and challenged those that did not. That was Elizabeth: a passionate, opinionated and a very flamboyant person.
I was most appreciative of my work with Elizabeth with the Creative Collective exhibit. This project not only let me experience Elizabeth’s talents, contributions, and the source of her passions first hand but it allowed me to work side by side with her on something that we were both passionate about. She was generous in giving me credit for my work--yet I felt that if it hadn’t been for her, I don’t know how we could have had such a wonderful exhibit.
I’ve missed Elizabeth since she retired. When I am in Acquisitions and look across the room – I see her empty desk. And while I know that one day that desk will be occupied, something it seems will always draw my gaze to find her. I will continue to miss her. So I am going to hang on to her passions every time I see an exhibit, think of something where I need courage, and maybe even spot someone with a quirky attire-I am going to think of Elizabeth. Que descanse in paz.