Yesterday was a special day at Dewey Manor, as we celebrated the retirement of two irreplaceable colleagues in the Library of Congress's Decimal Classification Division (DCD): Nobuko Ohashi, and Ruth Freitag. We wish Nobuko and Ruth all the very best of health and happiness as they begin their years in retirement; but it's with great sadness that we wave goodbye. Both have given sterling service over long periods to the DDC.
Nobuko began work at the Library in 1977, as a descriptive cataloger in the Japanese section of the Shared Cataloging Division, and had spells in the Asian Materials Section of the Subject Cataloging Division and the German Language Section of the Shared Cataloging Division before joining the DCD in 1985. Nobuko became an expert in the areas of art, architecture, history, literature, political science, and law, and a most valued teacher of the DDC, providing initial instruction in the complexities of the scheme to a generation of classifiers. She introduced Dewey to a team at Die Deutsche Bibliothek (DDB) in a week-long seminar in Frankfurt, and attendees at yesterday's celebration heard a reading of a message of congratulation sent by Magda Heiner-Freiling and colleagues at DDB.
Ruth's fifty-five years of federal service began when she enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in June 1945. Ruth joined the Foreign Service in 1949, and was stationed as a communications specialist in London and Hong Kong, before she began work at the Library of Congress in 1960, in the Bibliography and Reference Correspondence Section of the General Reference and Bibliography Division. Ruth soon became one of the Library's foremost experts in reference work, sought after in particular for her encyclopedic knowledge of resources in science and technology. After moving to the Science and Technology Division, Ruth turned her attention to classification by joining the DCD in 1998. In her congratulatory message, Dewey editor-in-chief Joan Mitchell told Ruth: "Your knowledge of all things astronomical has helped us enormously -- I don't think I'll ever think about the phases of the moon without also thinking of you!"
The last word goes to pun-pundit Cosmo Tassone, and this toast (which wasn't written with the Dewey blog in mind, but could so easily have been):
Nobuko Ohashi has been such a fixture in Dewey that people find it hard to believe that she has retired. I would say to someone, "Nobuko has retired, you know." And the surprised response would be, "Oh -- has she?" Yes, she has, and may her retirement years be as happy and successful as were her years in Dewey. As for Ruth Freitag, her success in the Science Reading Room and in Dewey has been astronomical. But who could know that she could so align the stars as to reflect the trajectory of her retirement. Ruth has arranged things so that she will retire on Friday -- that is, Freitag. To Nobuko and Ruth!