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 McGillâ€™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, â€œlike 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.â€ Librarian Chris Lyons remembers working with her as a casual in 1989-90. â€œShe was always a very warm and encouraging person. She let me try tasks beyond my duties of shelving and circulation, which I appreciated.â€
David Krawitz, McGill School of Architecture: â€œI 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 Marilynâ€™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 Marilynâ€™s, with her friendly, helpful self at the core.â€
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 MontrÃ©al, Ottawa, QuÃ©bec chapter (MOQ) and co-chairing the 1995 Montreal ARLIS conference. Librarian Jennifer Garland recalls that, â€œMarilyn was very generous with her time and expertise; I learned so much from her. She opened many art librarianship doors for me, including ARLIS.â€