Weinberg Memorial Library Celebrates 20th Anniversary
On Sept. 25, 1992, The University of Scranton’s Gateway to the Future Campaign came to fruition with the dedication of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library.
Nearly 1,000 members of the University community and representatives of other universities and national library organizations attended a convocation for the library’s dedication, which featured a keynote speech by James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, who received an honorary degree. “The library, properly staffed and equipped as you have done here in Scranton, will remain central to the information age, no matter how glitzy the new technology becomes,” he said.
The largest single-purpose fundraising campaign in the University’s history to that date, the Weinberg Memorial Library has become a gateway to the future for students, faculty, staff and surrounding community. Designed, built and furnished to reflect an aesthetic vision that goes well beyond function and integrates seamlessly with its surroundings, the $13.3 million project has lived up to Billington’s prophetic words and the foresight of the library’s planning committee.
“Over the years, our library certainly has met the anticipated needs of the University’s students and faculty, as well as adapted to unforeseen requests,” said Charles E. Kratz, dean of the Library and Information Fluency, who came to Scranton in 1991 and contributed to the planning of the building.
“From offering borrowing privileges to the community in 1989, to linking with more than 150 worldwide databases over the years, to acquiring an extensive array of Special Collections, to offering tablet computers, I take great pride in our ability to stay ahead of the curve as an academic library,” said Kratz.
Kratz is equally proud of what hasn’t changed: a steadfast commitment to excellence, innovation and responsiveness.
“We look at everything we do through two lenses,” said Kratz. “How well we are advancing the mission and strategic plan of the University, and how well we are promoting sustainable practices within the library.”
Several events during the spring and fall semesters of 2012 will help the library mark its important milestone, as well as raise funds for the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library Endowment Fund, which supports special gifts for the library’s collections and services.
On Sept. 29, the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library will honor Jay Parini, professor of English and creative writing at Middlebury College, a University of Scranton honorary degree recipient and a Pittston native, at its Distinguished Author Award and 20th Anniversary Celebration. A biographer, essayist, poet and novelist, Parini is best known for his novel “The Last Station,” which documents the last year of Leo Tolstoy’s life and inspired a critically acclaimed 2009 feature film. Maureen Sullivan, incoming president of the American Library Association, will deliver the keynote address at the award dinner.
Also planned is a wine-tasting fundraiser for the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library. Scheduled for Nov. 16, the event will be held in collaboration with the Leahy Community Health and Family Center. In addition, throughout this anniversary year, the University’s Schemel Forum program, through a popular series of courses and luncheon seminars, continues to strengthen the library’s connection to the Scranton community.
Although the focus is often on facilities, technological capabilities, programs and events, Kratz believes it is important to recognize that it is the staff who are the life force of the Weinberg Memorial Library.
“Our success is directly due to the quality of our people. Their expertise, commitment, accessibility and cooperation make all the difference,” said Kratz. “In celebration of the Weinberg Memorial Library’s 20th anniversary, we not only look back at the opening of this University treasure, but also look forward to continuing its role as a center of innovation and collaboration.”