Catalogers: they define the phrase "unsung hero"--after all, how useful would great collections be without them? It is, consequently, with highly mixed feelings that the Media Resources Center bids a very fond farewell to its own local bibliographic hero, Mary Louise Smith. We are thrilled that she is about to embark on new life adventures, and we are massively sad (and panicked) to lose her.
Mary Louise first came to Berkeley in June 1969, having moved from Alaska to take a job in the Library. Her arrival was nothing if not momentous: campus was roiling with student protests against the war in Vietnam, and her first interview was canceled because National Guardsmen refused to let her enter Sproul Hall. True to her nature, she persevered, landing a job as library assistant in the Main Library Catalog Department, her home base for seven years. In the late 70s, Mary transferred to Moffitt Library, where she cataloged books and eventually took on sole responsibility for the Moffitt reference collection.
Mary's tenure as cataloger in the Media Resources Center began sometime in the late 80s, at a time when the MRC collection was beginning to really take off. Over the intervening years, she has weathered numerous sea changes in media forms and formats, from 3/4" videotape to VHS to DVD; from laserdiscs to interactive CD-ROMs to streamed media. She has also cataloged a spectacularly varied (and often quirky) collection of titles. Here's a typical roster of items sitting on her desk to be cataloged: Roger Corman's 1959 cult horror favorite, "The Wasp Woman"; the 1973 East German western, "Apaches" (Apachen); the 2003 documentary "Al Jazeera: Voice of Arabia"; and the second season of the TV hit "True Blood."
As MRC's collections have continued to grow in size and breadth over the past several decades, Mary Louise has found herself challenged with cataloging an increasing number of nationally unique items. A cruise through OCLC's video records would reveal that cataloging for a large number of the more obscure (and interesting) titles originated on Mary Louise's desktop.
The bad news is that even if we could fill the cataloger's position, we could never begin to replace Mary Louise. The good news is that we've gotten at least a temporary reprieve: Mary will be returning in July as a part-time volunteer (a part-time angel!) to assist in the stickier original cataloging.
So long, MLS, and good luck; we look forward to seeing you soon.
Director, Media Resources Center
Elizabeth Byrne and Waverly Lowell, together with Betsy Frederick-Rothwell, have co-edited a history of the architecture department, entitled Design on the Edge: A Century of Teaching Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, 1903-2003. The illustrated monograph combines scholarly essays written by faculty; reflections of faculty and alumni; a timeline/chronology; and a color portfolio of a century of student drawings, plus more. Byrne heads the Environmental Design Library, and Lowell curates the Environmental Design Archives. Read more about the book.
Librarian Corliss Lee, program coordinator in Moffitt's Teaching Library, was honored by the American Cultures Center at a recent reception, in recognition of her exemplary contributions and tireless support of the American Cultures program.
Gary Handman's article "License to Look: Evolving Models for Library Video Acquisition and Access" has been published in the Winter 2010 issue of Library Trends devoted to media in libraries. The article provides an overview of current and evolving models and issues related to the licensing of video for online delivery.
I'm pleased to announce that Daniel Hensley has joined the Thomas J. Long Business Library as Reference and Instruction Librarian. Dan's half-time position is funded by the Haas School of Business to ameliorate the effect of staff retirement on the Business Library's public services. He continues to spend the other half of his work time at San Francisco Public Library's Government Information Center, where he manages the Patent and Trademark Depository Collection. Before coming to San Francisco, Dan worked as a reference and instruction librarian at the University of Pittsburgh, which is also where he earned his M.L.I.S. and B.A. degrees. Welcome, Dan!