Joseph A. Rosenthal Passed away on April 7, 2012 in San Francisco at the age of 81. After a distinguished career in three of the nation's top libraries, Joe professionally retired from his final position as University Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley in 1991. Mr. Rosenthal had served eight years as Associate University Librarian and twelve years as University Librarian. He received his bachelor's degree from Dickinson College and his master's degree in library science from Columbia University. He served as an intern at the Library of Congress (1957-58), and then in increasingly responsible positions at New York Public Library (1958-70). Throughout his career he published articles, participated actively in the activities of many professional associations, served as a consultant and was Principal Investigator on numerous grants from the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He served on the Boards of the Center for Research Libraries, the Public Affairs Information Service, the Association of Research Libraries and the Research Libraries Group. He held many positions of responsibility in the American Library Association and its Divisions including Board of Directors of the Library Resources and Technical Services Division, President of the Information Science and Automation Division, and was elected Councilor-at-Large in 1985. When Joe was appointed the UCB University Librarian in 1979, libraries were just beginning a massive changeover from 19th century methods to becoming modern computerized information centers. He will be best remembered for initiating major programs in conservation, automation, and private funding that guided the Library through a turbulent decade in the 1980's and became increasingly crucial to the intellectual well being of the Berkeley campus. Joe was one of the first to recognize the need to save the great Berkeley collections from ravages of time, use, and environmental deterioration. He was instrumental in starting one of the first conservation departments in a major university library. Today the Berkeley Conservation Department is considered one of the finest in that nation and is still leading local, state, and national programs to conserve, repair and preserve deteriorating collections for scholars of the future. Although born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1929, his friends really considered him a citizen of New York and San Francisco, the two cities he most loved. His life included service in the U.S. Army as a medical corpsman prior to his library career. Following his retirement, he served on the San Francisco Library Commission and volunteered as chief librarian at the American Conservatory Theatre, developing its collections into a professional theatre library. Joe's interests included education, music, opera, literature, theatre, and art. He was a generous philanthropist to many local organizations. He leaves behind many friends and former colleagues. A Memorial Service for Joe Rosenthal will be held on Friday, June 1st at 4:00 p.m. in the Morrison Library of the Doe Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Friends are encouraged to join with this celebration of Joe's life. For further information regarding the Memorial Service please contact, Thomas A. Lucas at Tom.Lucas415@gmail.com.
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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 29, 2012