NO.55 SPRING 2000

The Library Associates

Join more than 6,000 other friends, book lovers, alumni, and faculty who recognize that the influence of a great research library reaches beyond the university it serves to the many communities of which it is a part.

Library Associates receive complimentary copies of the quarterly newsletter Bene Legere, as well as invitations to special occasions at the Library. For more information on the Library Associates program, please write or telephone: The Library Development Office, Room 188 Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000; telephone (510) 642-9377. Or, check our website.


University Librarian Steps Down

Picture of Lowell, Berdahl and Mitchell Block at Library Associates' dinner.

University Librarian Jerry Lowell greets Chancellor Robert Berdahl at annual Library Associates' dinner. Mitchell Block looks on.

On Thursday, May 4, Library staff were stunned and saddened to receive word that Gerald R. Lowell, Kenneth and Dorothy Hill University Librarian, is stepping down from the position that he has held since late 1998.

Arriving at the end of a period in the Library's history of uncertainty and declining budgets, Jerry Lowell's enthusiasm and optimism permeated every aspect of Library administration. In just 18 months the Library made significant progress in rebuilding its collections and services, garnered increased faculty support, and raised librarians' and staff morale.

Patricia Iannuzzi, who was recently appointed Associate University Librarian and Director of Doe and Moffitt Libraries, and who worked with Jerry Lowell when they were both employed at the Yale University Library, observed: "Jerry is a charismatic and extremely effective administrator. He is wonderful at energizing the organization and building consensus among staff. He is an able communicator, spanning the cultures of the faculty, the Library, and University administration. Jerry created a solid foundation for revitalizing library services and collections, and he leaves the Library much better positioned and more optimistic about meeting the challenges that lie ahead."

At this time the University is formulating its plans for the transition period. An Interim University Librarian will be appointed, and a committee is being constituted to identify possible candidates.

Below is the letter that Jerry Lowell sent the staff on May 4.

With deep sadness, I regret to announce that I have informed Carol Christ today that I will be leaving my position as University Librarian, for mental and physical health reasons. My final resignation date will be sometime between September 1, 2000, and December 1, 2000. I expect to have a final departure date determined by July 1. I have decided to leave university and library work altogether.

All of you have been incredibly wonderful and supportive. I feel very sorry that this will be a shorter tenure than I had originally planned. However, my mother's death has affected Mitchell and me in profound ways and we've decided that it's important to take care of ourselves.

During the remainder of my tenure here, we shall continue the positive work that we have begun. I am confident that we have laid a solid foundation for the future of this library. I understand that this will come as a shock to many people. As library leadership transition plans are developed, I will communicate them to you.

Thank you for your continuing support during this difficult period.

--Jerry Lowell

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Originally published Spring 2000. Server manager: contact