In Memoriam: James Matarazzo

James (“Jim”) Matarazzo, a longtime champion of special libraries and 2016 recipient of SLA’s highest honor, the John Cotton Dana Award, died April 17 in Massachusetts.

Jim joined SLA in 1964 and spent the next 50-plus years dedicating his time and talents to SLA’s advancement. He was especially active in the SLA Leadership & Management Division and the New England Chapter and served as president of the latter when it was known as the Boston Chapter. He also served on SLA’s Board of Directors and on numerous committees, including the Awards and Honors, Research, and Strategic Planning Committees. Most recently, he participated on a task force that revised SLA’s Competencies for Information Professionals, which delineate the skills and knowledge that information professionals use to perform their jobs and support their organizations.

At Simmons College in Boston, where he earned his master’s degree in library science, Jim served on the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science for more than four decades, including 14 years as assistant dean of the library school and 9 years as dean. Although he officially retired from the university in 2002, Jim continued to shape the lives and careers of aspiring librarians, teaching courses on the organization and management of special libraries and serving as a faculty advisor for the Simmons Student Group of SLA.

Jim shared his knowledge of special libraries outside the classroom as well, delivering numerous presentations at SLA Annual Conferences and other industry meetings. He also authored or co-authored nearly 100 articles and papers and wrote and collaborated on several books, most notably with Toby Pearlstein, a fellow SLA member and Dana Award recipient. Their most recent book, Special Libraries: A Survival Guide (2013), is considered the definitive guide to the strategies and tactics that special librarians can use to position their information centers as value drivers in today’s information-on-demand economy.

Jim was named an SLA Fellow in 1988, received the SLA Professional Award in 1983 and 1988, and was recognized with the SLA President’s Award in 1991. He was inducted into the SLA Hall of Fame in 2015.

11 responses to “In Memoriam: James Matarazzo”

  1. William MacDonald says:

    A good man and a great teacher — he made a particular point to keep in touch with his students after graduation as well.

    He’ll be sorely missed.

  2. Sybil Bullock says:

    Jim was an icon in his field and always generous with his time, knowledge, and advice. I will miss having him as guest speaker in my Special Libraries Class. A sad day for Special Librarians.

  3. Stephanie M. says:

    Jim was the very best professor. He kept up with me after graduation, would send me job postings, and even sent me a birthday present last year. The time spent in Paris in August 2014 for Simmons College Study Abroad was wonderful and we all grew to love Jim on that trip. I was shocked and deeply saddened when I heard about Jim’s passing. God bless to him and his family.

  4. Berte Schachter says:

    Jim interviewed me for Simmon’s Grad school That was 1972. And, he looked out for me ever since.

    I will never forget his literature of the sciences course during which he had the whole class calling everywhere for the temperature of boiling whale oil – he was a truly inspired teacher. Later when I made my career in Special Libraries, he was ever a mentor in the best possible way. A very bright light blinked out with his absence here on earth.

    If there is a librarian heaven, Jim is already trying to figure out how to justify its place in the cosmos. I will miss you.

  5. Sandy Malloy says:

    Jim warmly welcomed me to my very first SLA conference in 1976 when I was still a student – and not at his school, so he didn’t know me at all. He just knew that I needed to be welcomed. He seemed like such a nice man and I’m sure everyone who knew him will really miss him. So sad.

  6. This fine gentleman died way too young. May his memory be for an eternal blessing. Amen.

  7. hunt says:

    I am so sorry to learn this. A huge loss to our profession and information/library science. His legacy lives on in all of us who were blessed to know him and be taught by him.

  8. Sandy Kramer says:

    Jim had a tremendous influence on my career as a Simmons student and as a librarian. He was never too busy to help any of the Simmons graduates with career advice or a job recommendation. We will miss him as a special mentor and friend.

  9. Judy A. Lee says:

    Jim was my teacher for Government Documents at Simmons College and was my mentor throughout my career. He helped me land my first library position. Jim always provided the support and encouragement that I needed. I miss him.

  10. 62924 says:

    Such a great teacher and Professional. He reached out to those in need in developing countries and at conferences was attentive to the needs of all those who approached him. A great example of a consummate Library teacher and advocate. May his soul rest in peace and his legacy lives on in the many students and professionals he touched.

  11. Jennifer C. Boettcher says:

    Jim was my model of a Librarian. Business, government documents, and professional service were hallmarks of my knowledge of his work. Special Librarian welcomed in academic libraries was another message. His influence on SLA and developing professionals will be his legacy. It’s a sad day.

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