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Barb Richards retires from the Department of Special Collections

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Barb Richards at her retirement party on April 23rd

On Tuesday, April 23rd, a retirement party was held in honor of Barb Richards of the Special Collections Department at Memorial Library. Barb’s last day is today, Thursday, April 25th.

As Barb has noted, with customary good cheer, her work on campus has gone “from rats to rabies to rare books.” She began working at the Gnotobiotic Laboratory at UW-Madison from 1974 to 1977, and after a short stint working in the rabies lab at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) on campus she came to the Department of Rare Books (now Special Collections) in December 1977.

Barb has helped the Department grow from its original location (the space now occupied by the Microform/Media Center) to its current home on the top two floors of Memorial Library, and she knows every nook and cranny in the Department. She has trained and supervised generations of students in Special Collections, many of whom still stay in touch with her. Working closely with selectors Christine Rom, Gretchen Lagana, Yvonne Schofer, and now Susan Barribeau, Barb has managed the renowned collection of “Little Magazines,” keeping track of publications that defy normal serials practices, following their frequent address and title changes, and cajoling their editors and publishers to fill in gaps. The result is a large and wide-ranging collection that attracts students and faculty from campus as well as scholars from afar, and accounts for much document delivery to researchers elsewhere. Barb has also managed major moves of all of the Department’s holdings with great efficiency, most recently during the installation of compact shelving in the vaults.

Barb’s retirement plans include travel, home projects, and spending time with a new grandchild.

Cards for Barb and envelopes for contributions toward a retirement gift are available in both the GLS administrative office and at the reference desk in Special Collections. Best wishes to Barb as she begins her new adventure!

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