Many MAC Memories: Happy Retirement Jonathan Lord!

Jonathan Lord, University of Virginia Collection Development Librarian, will retire on August 23, 2019. Jonathan has been a librarian for 39 years, spending his entire career in health sciences libraries, first at St. Francis Hospital, then Hartford Hospital, both in Connecticut, and, since 1991, at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library (CMHSL), University of Virginia.

Jonathan’s contributions to MAC have been many, and it’s a pleasure to review them, as well as give a sense of the pre-MAC Jonathan.

Early Career

At Hartford Hospital, Jonathan worked as a Clinical Librarian in the Medical Library with Gertrude Lamb, an early advocate for clinical medical librarianship and one of MLA’s Most Notables. His former colleague, Sherry Morgan, gives us a glimpse of the Jonathan of that era:

In 1987, Jonathan Lord (aka “JL”), I, and colleagues attended MLA in Portland, OR, and allowed time for sightseeing in this beautiful area. A favorite was the Portland Zoo: JL commented on Rosie the Elephant, who was reported to eat around 650 pounds of food a day… that’s a lot of calories!  Of course, we librarians overindulged on the local cuisine and worried at bit that we might start looking a bit like Rosie.

Returning to Connecticut, JL, as editor of the Connecticut Association of Health Sciences Libraries (CAHSL) Newsletter, decided to create a special edition, highlighting some of our favorite trip experiences. When completed, he shared copies at lunch one day. As he handed them out, I was HORRIFIED to see a picture of me, in a particularly awful position that emphasized my bulging waistline, juxtaposed next to one of Rosie the Elephant! The storyline said something like “Evidence that Sherry Morgan Emulates Rosie the Elephant’s Dietary Habits”. My blood pressure rose instantly, my face got red, and I was on the verge of yelling at him when he broke out into a satisfied smirk about his “special edition”: for our eyes only! So, the quiet, rule-following Jonathan Lord we knew ultimately revealed his dark side: a devious trickster who would go to great lengths just to “punk” a colleague.

As angry as I was, the “Rosie” episode is now a fond memory of those days… and only one of his many jokes. However, as the old adage goes: “What goes around, comes around”.  So, JL, I hope you are a bit embarrassed by this amusing exposure of your true self.

Fond and embarrassing memories aside, all my best to you, JL, my old Hartford bud. 

Life at UVA: Work, Wisdom, and Wit

Jonathan came to UVA in 1991 as the Online Services Coordinator for the library. He later served as the library’s Learning Resource Center coordinator and from there became manager of Collection Development.

CMHSL colleagues will tell you Jonathan is a good-natured and respected co-worker, known for his under-stated style, attention to detail, and also his humor and wit.

Jonathan was perfect in his role of Collections Development Librarian, as he easily cultivated close and productive relationships with vendors. Working the MAC or MLA Exhibits Hall with him was always a treat as the vendors all knew him and obviously respected his knowledge. Nadine Ellero, a Collection Management colleague, remembers the early days of electronic resources:

I am grateful for having worked with Jonathan during the beginning of the electronic resources era!  I recall us attending a licensing workshop, and being that I was the cataloger, most grateful that I would not be responsible for the licenses, and Jonathan would be! I enjoyed our philosophical and practical discussions of managing electronic resources, struggling with all the different nuances of what is a “database?!”, and the never-ending statistics and reports. Most of all I fondly remember and appreciated Jonathan’s humor and understanding that helped transform our technical services struggles into smiles!  Jonathan, I wish you a most restful and fun retirement!

At CMHSL we benefited from Jonathan’s writing skills, not only for work-related tasks, but “other duties as assigned”. Under Jonathan’s pen, a dry recap of the library’s softball team performance became an exciting tale of drama and intrigue. He also has a secret talent as a fine baker: many of his “experiments” were delicious cakes, cookies and pies, and his HSL colleagues have been the lucky recipients over the years. Many of us have his recipes!

Service to MAC

Upon Jonathan’s arrival in Virginia in 1991, he immediately joined the Mid-Atlantic Chapter. By 1992 he was Editor of MAC Messages and a member of the Publications Committee. The Committee was seeking a new logo for MAC, and sought input from graduate art students. Surely they could effectively create a logo that would appeal to the membership? Nope! Leave it to Jonathan, who suggested the design utilizing five interconnected blocks to represent the MAC geographic regions. This logo was our MAC Messages header until 2005!

In 1995 Jonathan handed off the reins for MAC Messages to Beverly Murphy and Linda Collins. Did he take it easy after that? No – he immediately founded the Chapter’s first electronic discussion group, MACMLA-L, that same year.

Jonathan was recognized for his skillful editorship of the Chapter newsletter and for his implementation of MACMLA by being named the 1995 recipient of the Marguerite Abel Service Award for exemplary service to the Chapter.

In 1996, as Chair of the Publications Committee, Jonathan appointed a task force to develop a “Chapter Home Page”. Can you imagine chapter business before the Web?

Chapter business was not all work and no play. Diane McKenzie, one of Jonathan’s MAC colleagues, celebrates Jonathan’s many skills:

Happy Retirement, Jonathan. I will always think of you as my best dancing partner ever – although as I remember it (and who knows how good my memory is any more) you had to have at least one beer before you could be crazy and dance, dance, dance!

But you also had a major impact on me because of your amazing ethical values. Long before anyone was talking about accepting gifts, fancy dinners, or other presents from vendors, you were questioning the ethics of such things. I greatly admire your moral and ethical approach to life. Be true to yourself, my wonderful friend; I know you will.

Continued Service to the Chapter

Jonathan became Chair-Elect of MAC in 2000, and at that time, the Chair-Elect served as Program Chair for the Annual Meeting. That year’s was in Roanoke, Virginia, and was a fine conference with Jonathan at the helm. However, ask anyone who was there about their lasting memory of the meeting, and it’s certainly standing around the Hotel Roanoke lobby in the middle of the night, in their pajamas, with none other than Charlton Heston (no, it wasn’t a wild party but a fire alarm).

In 2005, Jonathan co-chaired the Annual Meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, with Karen Knight. Karen fondly recalls:

“Jonathan was a perfect Co-Chair. His long-standing and close relationships with librarians throughout our region and the Vendors made it easy to put plans together. He has an excellent memory and his attention to detail complimented my own work style. Plus we had a lot of fun – working with Jonathan always involves a lot of laughter, jokes, and clever musings.”

Most of us would consider the above contributions to MAC as enough, but not Jonathan – he continued to serve the Chapter, as Chapter Council Alternate and then Representative, always a willing mentor to other MAC Board members who were grateful for his encouragement and advice.

Retirement Plans

Jonathan will continue volunteering at his church’s library, coordinating the much-needed weeding of the collection there. He also looks forward to spending more time sightseeing in Virginia, taking in all the historical sites, along with his dog, Ouzo.

Thank You Jonathan!

Jonathan, your service to MAC is unparalleled and I know we speak for all Chapter members when we thank you for your commitment, expertise, collegiality, and creativity. Enjoy your retirement!

Submitted by Andrea Denton and Karen Knight, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia


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