In Memoriam: Karen Johnson

September 9th, 2019 by Justine Withers Leave a reply »

Gleeson Library|Geschke Center staff fondly remembers Karen Johnson, Librarian Emerita.

photo of Karen

Karen Johnson retired as the Systems Head Librarian in December 2017. She was a cataloger when she joined the University of San Francisco in 1984 and was promoted to systems librarian in 1995.

Karen touched many lives, professionally and personally, and we miss her dearly. She was accomplished tremendously in her profession as a librarian, a department head and supervisor, as well as a mentor to her student assistants.

Karen was a beautiful person who cared for every individual she conversed with, collaborated with, and assisted in the university library, especially those who sought her expertise as a librarian at the reference and research service desk. Karen always had a friendly smile that welcomed, warmed the heart, and opened one to a moment of conversation or a casual greeting. Kind and generous, she was a frequent donor to USF and other charitable causes.

Karen’s contributions to the success of the university library mission include:

  • Automating the library systems (planning and implementation in the late 1980s until the library became fully online in 1991)
  • Managing the integrated library system, which powers most library operations and is publicly visible as the Ignacio online catalog
  • Being a major force and legend in the Innovative Users Group, the interest group for our library system’s vendor, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.
  • Supporting all library system operations and documentation
  • Enhancing library space as a key participant in the expansion of the Gleeson Library with the addition of the Geschke Learning Resource Center (1995-1997)
  • Initiating and managing the digital collections projects
  • Collaborating with internal and external constituents on systems upgrades, new services such as e-commerce and ILLiad, and security, stability and performance of any new library system
  • Supporting the library and university mission as a member of the university library leadership team

It is a great joy to have known the illustrious Karen Johnson, Librarian Emerita. We send our love to Karen’s family.

We invite you to share remembrances and thoughts of Karen Johnson below in the comments.

The University Library Family
Gleeson Library|Geschke Center
University of San Francisco


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  1. Jason L. says:

    The library looks gorgeous!!!

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