The end of each academic year brings many goodbyes, both farewells to graduating students and to members of our career staff who will retire in 2018.
We would like to recognize and celebrate the following UCR Library colleagues, who shared snippets of their UCR history with us:
Music Cataloger Diane David started as a student assistant in UCR’s Music department in 1971 and later transitioned to working in the Music Library’s listening room. After finishing her B.A. in 1973, she was hired as a music cataloger, one of three in UCR Library’s history.
With 45 years of service, David might hold the record for the longest-running career at UCR Library. “It has been interesting to see the industry change and to see the impact technology has had on our work,” she said, recalling her earliest days with hand-typed cards for the public catalog and all the various changes in technology she has witnessed since then.
Those years have also contained many great memories, including having Maya Angelou as the commencement speaker when David earned her M.A., Scot’s Week, and a very distinct campus prank in the early 1980s. “One year, we arrived early in the morning to find that the Bell Tower had a giant arrow through the top of it,” David explained. “Remember Steve Martin, the comedian who would come on stage with a headband that looked like an arrow through his head? This was a giant version of that.”
After retirement, David will miss seeing friends and colleagues on a daily basis, but looks forward to continuing her career in theater, which is booked well into the next year.
Preservation Assistant Cynthia “Kit” Rembert started her career at UCR Library in September 1977 as a typist clerk, and will retire this year from her role as a supervisor of special projects and processing. “Coming to work at UC Riverside in the libraries has been a blessing,” Rembert said.
Her favorite memories include special moments with colleagues at celebrations to acknowledge retiring staff. “I also have a lot of good memories from working on special projects with different people in all areas of the libraries,” she said.
Rembert recalls one day when she and a few colleagues got locked down in the sub-basement at Rivera Library for about 30 minutes. “The elevator broke down and we had to wait for someone to come around to open the side entrance,” she explained. “The only thing we could do was look at some old books and tell some family stories.”
Another vivid memory, Rembert said, was when the library’s namesake Dr. Tomás Rivera passed away on May 16, 1984. “He was held in the highest regard on this campus,” she added. “He was gone too soon.”
Metadata Cataloger Julia Ree has held many roles at the UCR Library since 1978, when she was hired as a student assistant in the Reserve Book Room on the first floor of Rivera Library. She has also worked in stacks maintenance, public services, acquisitions, cataloging, and for 12 years as the subject specialist for the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
She met her husband of almost 36 years, Bob, at the public services counter in December 1980 when he was looking for weekend box office statistics for the Star Trek motion picture. “You could say that Star Trek brought us together! You could also say that having the same last name at birth was a contributing factor, but it’s the UCR Library space that made it all happen,” Ree said.
Ree’s favorite memories include organizing the 2013 Eaton Conference, at which they presented the Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award to Stan Lee. Another fond memory was in 2014, when Ree received the “Staff Who Make a Difference” award from Campus Staff Assembly. “I have worked many decades to create a quality to my work,” she said. “This, above all else, recognized my commitment to those we serve and I will be forever grateful to be singled out in this meaningful way.”
Josie Arreola was first hired at UCR as a receptionist in the Physical Plant / Grounds department; she joined the library in 1980. This year, she will retire from her position as a Collection Maintenance Assistant in Rivera Library.
In her 38 years at UCR Library, Arreola said she has been most fond of gatherings with student employees and staff colleagues, particularly the Thanksgiving Feast, as well as other on-campus events including University Club and holiday parties. Of the most unusual thing that happened to her on the job, Arreola said, “One week, I took like three security reports due to people trying to steal books, or damaging them.” What she will miss most about working at UCR Library is her co-workers and friends.
Assistant Unit Supervisor of the Interlibrary Loan Unit, Maria Mendoza has been part of the UCR Library team since 1992. During that time, Mendoza said that she has collected too many fond memories to choose any favorites among them.
“But what I will miss the most is superior staff, our splendid students and phenomenal faculty,” she said.
In addition to her work at the library, Mendoza also taught Hawaiian dance classes to a group of UCR staff, faculty and students as part of the Mobile Fit program. A dedicated group of her dance students would sometimes perform as part of the Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights and at other community events.
After retirement, Mendoza plans to visit her native state of Hawaii and also to travel to the Philippines for the first time.
Collection Strategist for the Arts and Humanities Rhonda Neugebauer joined the UCR Library in 2001 as the Bibliographer for Latin American and Iberian Studies.
Her favorite memories include National Library Week postcards, “Edible Book” celebrations, the 2-millionth volume panel and reception, and celebrations with colleagues such as the library’s Student Employee Picnic and Thanksgiving Feast and Staff Association events. “I enjoyed seeing us as a group, united in our efforts to wholeheartedly support the library and library colleagues and enthusiastically serve our students, faculty and staff,” Neugebauer said.
When asked what she will miss most about working at UCR Library, she replied, “Co-workers who helped me, supported me, nurtured me, mentored me, stood with me during the rough times, and empathized with me when the news was sad, bitter and unthinkable.”
Her funniest memory was when an earthquake hit during a job candidate’s presentation in the Rivera Library. “When the speaker momentarily suspended his remarks ad asked, ‘Was that an earthquake?’ All the library colleagues who had already logged on to the shake map were able to report immediately to the candidate, ‘It wasn’t too bad, it was just a 3.4,’” she said. “Then we all laughed at how quickly everyone felt, reported and critiqued the shaking!”
The UCR Library would like to thank each of our retiring staff members, both those who are named here and those who wish to remain anonymous. We are grateful to have had you as our colleagues and friends, we appreciate your many years of excellent service, and we wish you all the best in your future!