Long-Serving Assistant Librarian Retires

After 41 years of dedicated service to Grebel, Ruth Steinman has retired as assistant librarian in the Milton Good Library. Alongside Sam Steiner and John Good, Ruth saw the library through many transitions: from microfiche to online databases, and the card catalogue to the Omni book sharing system. And as her co-workers retired, Ruth embraced Laureen Harder-Gissing and Mandy Macfie, as the new trio moved from a cramped library office to a new spacious location, shelving and re-shelving books as they moved. Ruth closed out her career in the middle of the pandemic, working from home.

Ruth from the pastRumoured to have the whole library collection memorized, Ruth was a key player in many successful student essays. Faculty appreciated how she became a co-collaborator in their research and also offered suggestions for new books related to individual professors’ research. Ruth’s knowledge and skill, accumulated over decades, added to many scholarly conversations. Her cataloguing expertise and Mennonite knowledge was strengthened by her warmth and humour, professionalism and thoroughness, as well as her helpful attitude. 

Not only did Ruth flourish in her job, she also participated in larger college programing such as singing in impromptu choirs, volunteering at events, quilting projects, served as the first staff rep to the Board of Governors, and was the unofficial historian of Grebel staff, with a good memory of past events and important changes from the last four decades. 

Ruth was a thorough and gentle trainer who supervised dozens of students who worked in the library. “You were patient and compassionate, yet with clear expectations and direct feedback. I watched our student workers grow and flourish under your direction,” Laureen noted.

Co-worker Mandy explained that “Ruth was dedicated to finishing whatever task she started. Whether that was a complicated project, cataloguing books in different languages, or learning a new library system, she worked steadily at the task until it was fully complete.”

In retirement, Ruth plans to spend time in her garden and with grandchildren.