Remarks From Gail Schlachter’s Induction Into the California Library Hall of Fame (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
Last month, my mom, Gail Schlachter, was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame. The text from her CLA induction page:
Driven by a commitment to identify information needs and to create resources to meet those needs, Dr. Gail A. Schlachter worked for more than three decades in the library and information fields as a reference librarian, a library administrator, a library educator, an author of library-oriented reference works, a reviewer of reference resources, and publisher of both print and electronic materials. During her career, Schlachter was elected several times to the governing councils of the American Library Association (ALA) and California Library Association, served as the president of ALA’s Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), and was selected first as the reference review editor and then as the editor-in-chief of Reference and User Services Quarterly, RUSA’s official reference-oriented journal. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of reference librarianship, she received the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, and was honored with the Louis Shores Award, named the “Distinguished Alumna of the Year” by the University of Wisconsin’s School of Library and Information Studies, and received numerous honors for her publications. Schlachter got her master’s degree in library science from Wisconsin in 1967 and her doctorate from the University of Minnesota library school in 1971. She was president of Reference Service Press and visiting professor at the SJSU School of Library and Information Science when she died suddenly in 2015.
At the CLA Annual Meeting in Pasadena, Patty Wong, Yolo County Librarian, made the induction. Her remarks:
My name is Patty Wong, and I had the pleasure of knowing our next honoree for my entire professional career. It is indeed an honor to induct Gail Schlachter into the CA Librarians Hall of Fame for 2015.
Before my short remarks, let me please introduce Gail’s family and friends who are also here to honor her life as a transformative force in the library profession in CA and indeed throughout the country. We are blessed to have Gail’s daughter, Dr. Sandra Hirsh and her husband Jay Hirsh, Gail’s son Eric Goldman, Gail’s brother Larry Goldstein and his wife Bobbi, Gail’s long time friend and co-author of her Reference Service Press financial aid directories, David Weber, and a good friend of the family, Anysse Friedman. We thank you for sharing Gail with us and recognize each of you for being such a strong and vital part of her life, and those relationships carried into her professional contributions today.
Many of us have our own Gail stories – of how each time we met she made us feel so special – we looked forward to meeting her at conference, at a meeting, a program, in the hallway. Gail’s professional life and influence was so profound, that in this fall 2105 issue of Reference User Services Quarterly a full eight pages have been dedicated to chronicle wonderful tributes to Gail and her influence on so many legendary people in the profession.
Gail touched our hearts and our minds and with a twinkle in her eye, always to strive to do the best, our best, for others and for libraries and librarianship. We were fortunate that she came to call California home.
As an avid advocate for reference, Gail was founder, publisher and on many occasions, sole employee of Reference Services Press. Gail established the Reference Service press fellowship, a $3000 scholarship for a library school student who was training to become a reference librarian. Administered annually by CLA the fellowship wasn’t just about the funding but what was so important to Gail was the relationship with the recipients. Gail’s mentoring continued with the establishment of the Reference Service Press Award of $2500 annually to the authors of the most outstanding article published in RUSQ during the previous two years an award administered by ALA’s Reference and User Services Association since 1985.
Gail’s work directly impacted Californians everywhere. The Reference Service Press financial directories became a staple reference item in most public libraries. These volumes enabled the higher educational pursuits of thousands of people and especially those who might have had fewer opportunities, to support the lives particularly of men and women of color and women and girls and other underserved groups was legendary and indeed thousands of us benefitted from her research and dedication to helping and mentoring people.
Gail’s contributions to our community have been widespread and impactful; her lifelong goal of election to the ALA Executive Board became historical as she was one of three Californians elected to the board that year, a true testament to the acknowledgment of her commitment and support for all things ALA. Gail also served with great distinction in many positions within CLA and was one of the foundation members of CA Gold: the Sacramento Valley Chapter of REFORMA, serving most recently as our Treasurer.
Gail was many things to us all, and her influence as library advocate and ambassador, mentor, educator, provider, counselor, motivator, strategist, historian, ethicist, promoter, and yes philanthropist was almost magical. She brought that right combination of what you were lacking or seeking with every encounter. I was blessed to call her colleague and friend and I know of hundreds of others who feel this way as well.
Thank you to Gail’s family and friends for allowing us to share in her life with you.
I invite Sandy Hirsh to the stage to accept this recognition in honor of Gail Schlachter and her formal induction into the 2015 CA Librarians Hall of Fame.
My sister, Sandy Hirsh, then accepted the award on our mom’s behalf. Her remarks:
Thank you for this recognition of my mom — Gail Schlachter’s — contributions to California libraries. I know that she would be thrilled, honored and touched by this wonderful recognition.
Among my mom’s many impressive accomplishments, my mom was a wonderful role model–-not just for me but for everyone she met! inspired and influenced people through her passion for the profession, her work ethic, her caring for others, her interest in everyone’s success, her mentorship, her focus on quality, and her generosity, to name just a few of her amazing qualities. Throughout my life, my mom was always ready to listen, provide thoughtful advice, help in any way, celebrate every accomplishment (and I mean EVERY), and cheer me on. She is the reason I entered the profession, and I have learned over the years, and the point was made again and again after her untimely death, that while she might be expected to extend herself in these ways as a mother, she actually was like this with lots of people! While I thought she was my own personal cheerleader, she actually was cheering on numerous other people in the profession, other members of our family, and many of her friends and acquaintances.
In fact, as I reflect on her life, I think one of her super powers was the gift she had for building relationships and friendships. She had the ability to make everyone feel like she was their special friend – and this empowered them and helped them feel confident and helped contribute to their success. I don’t know how she had enough hours in the day to run her own publishing company, take care of her family, manage her real estate, and engage with so many people in such a caring, supportive, and engaged way!
She used to talk about how she was “small but mighty”. Those of you who knew her know how true this was! She leaves a big legacy through her numerous professional contributions to ALA and CLA, her reference publications which have helped countless people find financial aid to advance their education, her generosity through the Reference Service Press scholarships and awards she gave through ALA RUSA and the California Library Association, her family whom she loved and devoted so much of herself to, and her friends, colleagues and acquaintances who she made feel special and important.
Thank you for inducting her into the California Library Hall of Fame. I hope this recognition will help us remember my mom’s many contributions to California Libraries and help us embrace and adopt my mom’s enthusiasm, passion, energy and love for the library profession. I hope that her memory will continue to inspire librarians in California, and our profession as a whole. Thank you again for this tremendous honor for my mom, Gail Schlachter.
My photo gallery from the event.
Blog Posts About Gail Schlachter Hauser’s Death
* Memorial For My Mom At The ALA Annual Meeting (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* Patricia Schuman’s Remembrance of Gail Schlachter Hauser (1943-2015)
* Dimi Berkner’s Eulogy For My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* Remembrance From My Mom’s Lifelong Friend, David Weber (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* Remembrance from Sumyyah Bilal
* An Example of How My Mom’s Books Helped Students (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* My Sister’s Eulogy For Our Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* My Eulogy For My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* From my wife: Gail Schlachter, My Mother-in-law, Remembered
* Selected Remembrances of Gail Schlachter Hauser (1943-2015)
* My First Mother’s Day Without My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* Signs That My Mom Is Still Thinking of Us (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* My Mom’s Idea of a “Really Good Day” (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* Initial Reflections on Losing a Parent (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* My Mom Died: Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015