On December 22, 2015, ALAO lost a long-term friend, mentor, and leader. Kathryn Venditti was an Instruction and Reference Librarian at Ashland University. She has been a member of ALAO for over 15 years. She served various formal leadership roles over the last decade, including several conference planning committees and many years as the Interest Group (IG) Coordinator. During her tenure as the IG Coordinator, she established the processes used by the IG Chairs and Board to this day. The IG Handbook she created is the guiding light for the IGs to be successful. Kathryn’s enthusiasm and efforts to support ALAO and academic libraries was honored in 2014 when she received the Jay Ladd Award, the highest honor that ALAO can bestow on a member.
The recent conversations have demonstrated how much she has meant for so many members of ALAO. I lost count how many members have told me the first person they met in ALAO and consider their first ALAO “friend” was Kathryn. She was the smiling face that greeted so many of us at our first ALAO Conference or workshop. She was the unofficial “ambassador” in everything she did from welcoming new members to providing a positive experience for everyone.
The Board recently reflected on Kathryn years within ALAO. As we went around the room, the common theme was stories of joy from times spent with Kathryn. Almost everyone in the room described the “mentoring” she provided as each person was considering or accepted an ALAO leadership role. She had a calming approach as she prepared you to tackle your new challenges. Her enthusiasm was contagious and clearly led to many considering running for election or volunteering for roles within ALAO. I myself can say I participated in several conference planning committees and her personality set the tone for everything we did.
I am better for knowing Kathryn. ALAO is better for having Kathryn as a member, leader, and advocate for all those years. Her legacy will be remembered by all that she touched.
Brian Gray, Case Western Reserve University, President