On August 28, Anno Saxenian, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Information, welcomed nine alumnae from the School of Librarianship’s class of 1965 to campus. The group enjoyed catching up over lunch at the Women’s Faculty Club, and later returned to South Hall to tour the building and continue their 50th reunion celebration.
The alumnae shared memories of their time at Berkeley, their careers since graduation, and changes in library practice in the last half-century. In the 1960s, the School of Librarianship was based in Doe Library itself; students were alphabetically assigned study carrels up in the rafters of Doe Library. The Master of Library Science degree program ran a year plus one summer. Their class was the largest to-date, with over 100 students in the M.L.S. program, and they graduated at the very height of Berkeley’s tumultuous Free Speech Movement.
There was a great demand for librarians in 1965, and all quickly went to work after graduation. It was fascinating to hear about their career trajectories and some of the common threads that that many of them shared. Not surprisingly, many of them were activists within their library systems. Several of them oversaw the automation of their libraries’ card catalogs and circulation desks, and were part of significant changes in library systems and information management. Others left libraries after a time to pursue other interests and talents, including wine-making and story-telling. Yet others took their skills as librarians to technology firms to conduct research. Many remained career librarians until retirement, lauded by their local governments as vital members of their communities.
We thank all of these amazing women for sharing their stories, memories, and laughter with us. We hope to seem them back in South Hall again soon.
Pictured above, from left to right: Florence Haas (née Payne), Susan Fuller (née Arthur), Mary Jo Levy (née Peterschmidt), Alexandra “Sandy” Marston (née Geyer), Claudia Morrow, M.L.S. ’91 (and partner of alum Nancy Schimmel), Nancy Schimmel (née Reynolds), Ruth Maginnis, Nancy Fullenwider, Dianne Ellsworth (née Hausman), Karin “Kaisa” Eckelmeyer (née Aspergren)