Each year the New England Library Association awards the Emerson Greenaway Award to an individual who has provided distinguished service in librarianship.
NELA is pleased to announce Fay Zipkowitz as the 2019 Emerson Greenaway Award recipient. Fay’s distinguished’s career as a dedicated New England librarian began in 1966 and has included technical services, reference work, administration, and library science education. She has, rightly, been described by her colleagues as a true Renaissance librarian.
Right out of library school, Fay worked as a Readers Advisor at the Cleveland Public Library, followed by a position as an archivist at the Temple, on the campus of Case Western Reserve. She then moved to New England, where she worked for 11 years at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in a variety of positions, including Head of Information Processing, Acting Head of Government Documents, and Assistant to the University Librarian. During this time she also earned a Master’s degree in English at the university and worked on a doctorate in library science at Simmons College, which she received in 1977. Fay then left UMass Amherst to become Director of the Worcester Consortium of Academic Libraries, followed by 5 years as Head of the Rhode Island Department of Library Services, where she also served as a member of the Governor’s cabinet.
In 1986 Fay joined the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island as a professor and served one year as Director until her retirement from academia in 1997. But wait—she still wasn’t finished. In 1999 Fay came out of retirement to become the Cataloger of Yiddish Literature at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst until 2004! This was surely kismet, as Fay had long before established herself as an expert on Yiddish library collections in the U.S.
Of course in addition to all of this she continuously published books and articles and taught library administration courses for Simmons and URI for over 25 years. She also made significant contributions through professional service to ALA, NELA, IFLA, and other boards and associations.
Fay will always be remembered fondly as a mentor to the newer, younger librarians at UMass in the early 1970s, who looked to Fay as a role model for what librarians could and should aspire to be.