December 2005, Vol. 7 No. 2
Appointment of Dr. Ghassan Hamadeh
Prominent Arab-American Rights Activist Lectures on Islamophobia
Appointment of Dr. Thurayya Arayssi
Business School Lecture on Corporate Governance
Women’s League Meeting
Professor Samir Makdisi to Serve Again on Global Network Board
Human Resources Developments
University Senate Meeting of June 22
September Senate Notes
New Mission Statement
Dean Daghir Steps Down from Deanship
Recently Published: Comparing Media from Around the World
John Rhoder Leaves AUB
Prominent Saudi Businessman Receives AUB Distinguished Alumnus Award
Fading Poetry of Old Lebanese Houses: Art Project by Joe Saleh
Tips for Saving the Planet
Art Club Celebrates Art Day
Jafet Library Displays the Earliest Photographs of AUB Campus
“Being an indoor, behind the scenes kind of person, I didn’t want to go into teaching when I graduated in 1965 (BA and teaching diploma in education) from Beirut College for Women (now LAU). When I took my first job working at Jafet Library, I liked it right away because I could work on the inside, on my own. I like books; I like people, and for this reason I knew from the very beginning that library work was for me. I like working with people and solving some of their problems.”
And solve them she did. Want to track down an obscure lecture by Edward Said? An article on stem cell research? Global engineering codes? Specific journals publishing classical Arabic poetry in translation? Ask circulation librarian Nawal Naamani. For many years she was involved in Documentary Delivery Services (DDS), solely responsible for digging out obscure references for AUB students and faculty members; some requests even came from outside the University.
Grateful clients were quick to recognize her efficiency. Naamani has countless letters and e-mails praising her tenacious searches. “Excellent service.” “A rather difficult article.” “How did you get it so fast?” “Miracle worker.” “Inimitable.”
History professor David Koistinen said, “She was always extremely helpful in supervising DDS. Articles sometimes came in just days after they were requested.” Professor Samir Makdisi of the Institute of Financial Economics said, “As Jafet’s circulation librarian, Nawal is extraordinarily efficient and helpful. She is always quick in her response and always stands ready to help no matter how arduous the task may be.”
In pursuit of obscure information, Naamani always felt rewarded when she finally came up with something the researcher had been searching for so desperately. “Even if it was too much for me,” she said, “I sometimes would stay six to eight hours behind the computer searching, searching, searching...”
Jafet reference librarian from 1970 to 1979 and circulation librarian since 1979, Naamani has devoted all her professional life to the AUB library system. Surprisingly, even after having worked at Jafet for four years, she never thought of pursuing a career in library science until her colleagues, impressed by her dedication and skill, pushed her toward a master’s degree. But it was only when she was repeatedly urged (chief among her champions was the late Peter Kilburn), that she made her way on a British Council scholarship to the London University School of Librarianship and Archives, where she received a master’s degree in library science in 1970.
Back in Lebanon, Naamani resumed her career with the AUB libraries. Dedicated to her job and never confined to any job description, Naamani refused no task. She prepared bibliographies, indices, abstract services, and handbooks; she shelved books, bar-coded returns from the bindery; she issued reference, closed area, and audio visual materials; and she also trained and supervised staff members.
During the difficult war years, when simply keeping the libraries open was an ordeal, Naamani served for several months as acting head librarian. After the explosion that destroyed College Hall and seriously damaged Jafet, she helped sweep away dust, reorganize scattered card catalogues, and push truckloads of books. Familiar with almost all the intricacies of Jafet Library’s offerings, she nevertheless always returned to her dominant love: reader services and especially DDS. Although she recently turned over DDS to a colleague, she remains an indispensable part of the important ongoing research of the University.