Dana Library

In Memoriam: Veronica M. Calderhead (1956 - 2007)

Veronica M. Calderhead was actively employed as the Physical Sciences Librarian at the John Cotton Dana Library at the time of her death, November 2, 2007.

In 1994, Veronica Calderhead joined Dana's library faculty as the Physical Sciences Librarian. She had worked previously at McGill University and in two special libraries focusing on agriculture and chemical technology. These earlier experiences served as a strong foundation for Veronica in fulfilling her new responsibilities.

Veronica excelled in her practice of librarianship. She established strong relationships with the faculty in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and geology and partnered with them to develop effective collections and provide information services to their students. Veronica took special pleasure in her work with students at every level. Veronica collaborated with a chemistry professor on an innovative project to use library resources as the basis for poster presentations in a senior seminar. In another program, the Electronic Learning Partnership, with Central High School teachers and students, Veronica was recruited to instruct the students on searching and using the Web's resources. At the Reference Desk, she drew on her language skills to put French speaking students at ease and to answer their questions.

Veronica's concern for collections and the people who use them was evident from the beginning when she moved the Newark Chemistry Library from the department to fully integrate it with Dana Library's collection. She became the Collection Development Coordinator, overseeing the collection development process, selecting titles for acquisition in underrepresented areas, monitoring the materials budget, and representing Dana's interests on the University Libraries' Collection Development Council (now the Library Resources Council). Over a period of several years, Veronica guided the transition from print to electronic journals, a crucial, complex and, at times, painful process.

Veronica made significant contributions to the library literature. She had the remarkable ability to see the universality of the issues she faced. Veronica wrote about the move of the Chemistry Library from two perspectives, the patron's view, and the librarian's view. She also authored articles on her instructional services experiences with the Electronic Learning Partnership and the project with the senior chemistry seminar students. At the time of her death, Veronica had developed her ideas concerning job rotation as a possible venue for academic librarians into an article draft. The copies she circulated among scholars in the United States and the United Kingdom received outstanding responses.

In her life outside Dana Library, Veronica had many interests. To celebrate her successful tenure action, Veronica signed up for classes to learn picassiette, a French mosaic art form. She created several beautiful pieces and formed strong friendships with the other students in her class. Dana Library, through the generous donation of former director, Lynn Mullins, has an example of Veronica's artwork in the permanent art collection. Veronica was a political activist and followed events both in Canada and the United States. For many years, she swam every day and valued the friendships she made among fellow users of the Campus's pool. While Veronica enjoyed savoring many foods, soup, lemon cookies, and ice cream were among her favorites.

Veronica's love of the outdoors had more room to grow in Canada where she camped, hiked, fished and canoed. In citified northern New Jersey, she found contentment in her backyard garden as well as in local parks. Shortly before her illness, Veronica discovered the Atlantic Highlands and enjoyed walking the sandy beaches with her husband, family, and friends.

Those of us who were privileged to know Veronica Calderhead had special personal connections to her that exemplified her insatiable need to know, her delight in family, friends, colleagues, and students, her artistic creativity, and her lively interest in the world around her.

Veronica Calderhead
Veronica Calderhead in Branch Brook Park
Veronica Calderhead
Veronica Calderhead in Ireland
Posted October 2010