The Department of Library and Information Science at St. John’s celebrated 75 years as a department at the New York City Municipal Archives on December 7, 2013. Pat Canale, Associate Registrar of the Office of the Registrar and DLIS alumni here at St. John’s, provides insight to the celebratory event that became the, “personification of my dream,” Canale remarked.
“A coming together, whether librarian or not, to celebrate librarianship and how St. John’s University has kept it going in the last 75 years,” began Canale. The celebration’s setting, the charm and elegance of the Archives facilities, truly added to the grandeur of the evening. The space, neatly decorated with donated flowers and confections, arranged appropriately for mingling, offered the approximately 125 guests an intimate setting for networking and reflecting on the profession of librarianship. The six honorees were extremely humbled by the experience, and they along with fellow librarians, colleagues, staff, family, friends and students, thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s two-hour event.
In addition to the Archive’s spectacular and existing exhibits regarding Jewish Heritage, Alyse Hennig of the SJU Archives Department created a cabinet display and a DLIS archive class alumni project was played at the event. As a special treat, the Archives opened a downstairs exhibit for the event, which revealed old letters to former mayors and other artifacts that truly pleased guests.
This celebration marks the first for the Department of Library and Information Science in its 75-year history. The enormous success of this event has already led to future planning of the next anniversary celebration. Above all, Canale envisioned a celebration of the profession in a professional setting. In her welcome speech to attendees Canale asked that everyone reflect on the ever-growing importance of librarianship and that this celebration was a means to showcase not only the department but of the field itself. Librarians, she said, are always in the background or a supplement never receiving the spotlight and recognition for their work that they deserve. In choosing the event space, Canale meant for this anniversary celebration to stand out among the many celebrations that happen here at St. John’s. Indeed, this long-awaited celebration fared so well that guests lingered well after the event’s close. Capturing the essence of the night a woman approached Canale and said, “This has been such a special evening, and I feel special being here”.