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Library dedicated to feminist Anita Ilta Garey

By Ashley Maher
On March 10, 2014

Monday, March 10, marked the dedication of the Anita Ilta Garey Feminist Studies Library. Friends, colleagues, and students gathered for a dedication ceremony in honor of the former member of the UConn community and paid tribute to the woman who gave them inspiration, support and friendship. Although Garey could not be there in person, she was able to observe her dedication over Skype.
"Anita was gracious, giving and a major supporting unit to the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies program." said Nancy Naples Director of the Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and professor of sociology and WGSS, at the University of Connecticut. "She gave precious gifts to the university."
"Our goal in establishing the library," Naples said, "is to provide a place for students and faculty to contemplate and work together, as well as provide a retreat for students and faculty to interact and relax."
The new library brings together the collections provided to the university by Garey. As a former librarian, Garey collected a multitude of books and resources that spanned a variety of areas of scholarship and subjects such as women's, gender, and sexuality studies, human development and family studies, and sociology. Volunteer and Anita Ilta Garey Feminist Studies library coordinator Seyedeh Taebi, and Kathy Labadorf, undergraduate instruction librarian, worked tirelessly to bring together the resources and create a library that would sustain an area to inspire interdisciplinary learning, conversation as well as quiet area for relaxation. The new library also utilizes a resource called LibraryThing, which connects Anita Garey's collection to other small Women's Gender and Sexuality Library collections at universities across the country and the world. Checking out and returning books is based on the honor system, intending to promote sharing knowledge.
"Anita Garey embodies the scholar of many disciplines. I can't think of a better thing than to name a library after her, because, a library by definition, is a place for different scholars to interact, learn and grow."" said Shirley Roe, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of history at UConn.
"The students that read these books will learn about her thoughts and influences," said former student of the honoree, Margaret Walsh. "I continue to try and follow the things [she] modeled as a mentor."
The dedication proceeded with many speakers ranging from former colleagues, students and friends- who all commented on Anita Garey and her tireless work as a mentor and her caring, loving nature.
"[She was] a teacher whose warm office was a shelter from the cold," said Melissa A. Collier-Meek, P.h.D student. "[She] taught us how to open our hearts to each other and knowledge both academic and otherwise."
"We love you. I miss your presence in my office every day," said Joann Robinson, Interim Department Head and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies.
Overall, the dedication was a warm and loving tribute to a strong woman that provided knowledge, insight and care to any presence she touched, whether it be a student, colleague or stranger. She was a giver of lessons and an inspiration to all who took part in the dedication.

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