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In Memoriam: Cecile Kramer 1926-2007


This article was featured in Library Notes, #43 (Winter 2007).  

I write to share the sad news that Cecile E. Kramer, director of the medical school library from 1975 to 1991, passed away Thursday, January 25, 2007.  Cele had been in declining health for the past year or so.

Cele came to Northwestern from Columbia University's health sciences library.  A native of New York City, she began employment at Columbia in 1944 after graduating from high school and starting work as a secretary.  She advanced in the health sciences library to become an assistant director while earning her undergraduate degree at the College of the City of New York and a Master's degree in library science at Columbia.  She completed all the course work for her doctorate in library science.

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Cele was very active in her profession serving in a number of roles within the Medical Library Association (MLA).  She was a continuing education course instructor for human services management; she was editor of the MLA News; she served in leadership roles within the New York-New Jersey Chapter of the MLA; and she was named a Fellow of the MLA in 1993.

Cele was very proud of her accomplishments at Northwestern.  She worked diligently to build up the medical library's collections of books and journals.  While she was not shy about being a 'book person', Cele promoted the use of information technology whenever she could.  She made a point of hiring young librarians who would apply the latest trends in technology as a means of providing quality services to Northwestern users.  She introduced intermediary MEDLINE search services in the late 1970s, and she was instrumental in starting and developing the Barnes Learning Resources Center (LRC) with Ed Tawyea, now university librarian at Thomas Jefferson University.  She consulted with the late John McGowan, university librarian from 1971 to 1991, about how to bring the automation advances he was developing with the library staff in Evanston to the Chicago Campus. 

She worked closely with Dean Harry Beaty and the medical school's Office of Development staff to attract Mr. and Mrs. Jack Galter as donors to support the renovation and expansion of the medical library.  Though she longed to see the library's physical facilities match the expansion of the collections, she realized that she would not stay at Northwestern long enough to enjoy the benefits of the renovation project.  She retired in 1991 as planning for the new library got underway.

Cele was devoted to her family -- her brother and his children and grandchildren.  She moved to Florida to be close to all of them.  Though retired, she continued to work at the libraries of Florida Atlantic University.  Again, she took great pride in providing quality information services to undergraduate students, many of whom were following her model of going to school while working full time.

Her family has requested memorials be sent to the Florida Atlantic University Libraries, (FAU Foundation) or the Hospice of Palm Beach County,

Written by: James Shedlock, Director, Galter Health Sciences Library

This article was featured in Library Notes, #43 (Winter 2007).  

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Updated: September 25, 2023