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“The entire relationship for her was, What is it that that professor or that student needs to do and get done, and how can I then bring the resources of the library to bear to help that person?”


Farewell to a treasured friend and colleague, and an extraordinary educator

Karin Duran
Karin J. Durán, Ph.D.
B.A. Spanish 1970

The September 28, 2010, gathering, with its sweetly nostalgic music and brightly patterned retro outfits, may have seemed like any other ’60s -themed party but for its location in the Oviatt Library, where attendees snacked on tacos and quesadillas while reminiscing about its honoree, longtime CSUN librarian Karin Durán. It was precisely the air of celebration requested by Durán, who had passed away four months earlier, on June 11, from complications following a stroke.

Durán had served the CSUN community for 38 years, having returned to her alma mater (1970, Spanish) after graduate work at USC to earn her Master’s and Ph.D. in Library Science. In that time it seems there were few on campus whose lives she hadn’t touched, whether through her work in the Oviatt’s Teacher Curriculum Center, the courses she taught in Chicana and Chicano Studies, or her service on committees and initiatives like Honors Convocation, University 100, the Teachers Education Council, and the Education Doctorate Advisory Board.

With characteristic unlimited energy, Durán devoted further time to advocacy organizations such as La Raza Alumni Association; REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking; and ComisiĆ³n Feminil San Fernando Valley. Durán also acted as advisor to Gamma Alpha Omega, a Latina-founded intercollegiate sorority established in 1993 to work toward the advancement of Hispanics and Latinas through higher learning and volunteerism. The sorority’s stated mission, in part, is to serve as a motivational source for others and provide positive role models in the community — qualities that Durán reflected throughout her career.

“She did a lot in terms of mentoring students,” says Susan Curzon, Dean of the University Library. “She would really guide them and counsel them, and she never ever thought about students failing, she always thought about them being successful. So she used to work hard to make them successful and she would really just give of herself generously.” Durán spent many Saturdays volunteering her knowledge and services at Nativity Catholic School in South Los Angeles. Sister Judy Flahavan, Nativity’s Principal, says Durán was instrumental in forming theschool’s library, spending her time cataloguing books and making it a working lending library. Durán was determined to provide students from low-socioeconomic households with as much access to library resources as those in more affluent districts.

Though charismatic and influential by nature, Durán shied from high-profile positions, preferring to dedicate herself in support roles that allowed closer interaction with those colleagues and students who needed her energies the most, focusing her librarianship on reference, instruction, and bibliography. “She was really the embodiment of the work of a librarian,” says David Moguel, Associate Professor of Secondary Education. “The entire relationship for her was, What is it that that professor or that student needs to do and get done, and how can I then bring the resources of the library to bear to help that person?” Despite her unassuming demeanor, Durán was always ready to step into leadership positions where needed, as Interim Associate Dean of the University Library in 2005, and as Acting Department Chair of Reference and Instructional Services during the Northridge earthquake recovery period. continued on page 3

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