By Lucy Marks, Special Collections Cataloger
Lessie Culmer-Nier, Head of Cataloging and Periodicals, retired in June after 34 years of exceptional service to the Drew University Library.She was granted the title of Librarian, Emerita. Lessie joined the Catalog Department in 1977 and had been its leader since 1992.
Few librarians have contributed more skillfully and single-mindedly to the mission and success of the Drew Library. A steady voice during times of great change within librarianship, Lessie pioneered the institution of the integrated library system, played a central role in the implementation of electronic resources, and organized the library’s ongoing project to switch from the Dewey Decimal to the Library of Congress classification system, the standard among academic and research libraries. She saw that department goals to improve the description and accessibility of materials were achieved according to current professional practices and standards. Among her many contributions toward the tutelage of our Special Collections, her role in creating a secure space on A-Deck for a number of disparate and previously underutilized materials helped ensure their safety, preservation and availability to patrons.
Lessie provided collaborative and insightful leadership on a variety of library and university committees. In addition, she has served our profession through continuous involvement at both the state and national levels, through her committee work for NJLA, VALE, SIRSI and the Library of Congress.
With consummate professionalism and characteristic modesty, Lessie has been a mentor to library colleagues, students, and above all, members of her department, inspiring them not just to do their best work, but to be their best selves.
This article appeared in Visions, the Library Newsletter, Fall 2011.