Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What We Owe Donetta Sheffold

Donetta Sheffold, founder of SSD, is retiring from her job at Oregon State University at the end of April.  When I read Susan Gilmont's post on the SSD email list yesterday, I remembered an afternoon long ago - in the last century, in fact!

At the 1991 Oregon Library Association conference in Ashland, in a room overcrowded with interested folks, Donetta asked this question:  Should there be a unit of OLA dedicated to the interests of support staff?  The answer was a resounding yes!  The next year, the Library Support Staff Round Table was born, eventually becoming the Support Staff Division.

Through the years, LSSRT and SSD have had many leaders, and Donetta eventually left her job at the OSU library to work in another department.  But I'm pretty sure that, without Donetta's vision and leadership, SSD wouldn't be here today.  It seems obvious now that support staff are a vital part of libraries, and thus of OLA.  It frequently takes someone with vision and drive to notice the obvious and do something about it.  That's what Donetta did for library support staff in Oregon.

My library life has been much richer, not to mention more fun, because of Donetta's vision.  I'm sure that's true for many others.

So hats off, and best wishes for a wonderful retirement, to Donetta!

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