Remembering Marilyn Berger, Librarian Emerita

The University flag is lowered today in memory of Librarian Emerita Marilyn Berger, who passed away Thursday, March 11, 2021.  Marilyn was a former Head Librarian of the Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art.  She began in the McGill Library in 1977, and earned her MLIS from McGill’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies in 1983.  She retired in 2010, aged 79.  She was the heart and soul of the Blackader-Lauterman for many years. 

Colleagues remember her fondly. Library Assistant Bozena Latincic, who worked with her for many years, said that Marilyn was, “like a second mother to me. We worked together for 23 years.  She was one of the strongest women I ever met in my life with a big, generous heart. She was an incredible cook and hostess, her Seders are a special memory to me. Her family was very important to her, but she also loved her profession. Whatever she did she did wholeheartedly, with integrity.” Librarian Chris Lyons remembers working with her as a casual in 1989-90.  “She was always a very warm and encouraging person.  She let me try tasks beyond my duties of shelving and circulation, which I appreciated.” 

David Krawitz, McGill School of Architecture: “I knew Marilyn for 25 years, and I recall her as caring, no-nonsense, always supportive, warm, maternal in the very best way. Over the years, she performed numerous wonderful services for the School of Architecture including, memorably, the establishment of a special section in the Blackader-Lauterman Library for the books of Norbert Schoenauer, following his death. All of Marilyn’s decisions and actions were guided and accompanied by a personal touch. The digital world has changed much, so I will always associate Marilyn with actual paper and bindings and textures and smells. I fondly recall piles of books and journals in that big glassed-in office space of Marilyn’s, with her friendly, helpful self at the core.”

Marilyn was also an active member of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), serving in such positions as President of the ARLIS Montréal, Ottawa, Québec chapter (MOQ) and co-chairing the 1995 Montreal ARLIS conference. Librarian Jennifer Garland recalls that, “Marilyn was very generous with her time and expertise; I learned so much from her. She opened many art librarianship doors for me, including ARLIS.”

Marilyn Berger (centre) with ARLIS/NA MOQ members at the National Circus School, Montreal, for the MOQ Spring Meeting, June, 2010. Photo: W. Noethlichs
Some members of the 1995 ARLIS/NA Conference Committee (L-R): Daphne Dufresne, Marilyn Berger, co-chairs, Local Arrangements; I. Puchalski, P. Black, R. Haddad and F. Roux.

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