Sherrie Bergman — College librarian, scholar and mentor, gifted administrator, and champion of print, visual and audio resources, and their digital equivalents — has had quite an impact on the quality of a Bowdoin education over the past 20 years.
For her tireless dedication, the Alumni Council has chosen Bergman to receive the 2012 Alumni Service Award for Faculty and Staff, presented each year for service and devotion to Bowdoin, recognizing that the College in a larger sense includes both students and alumni.
From a B.A. degree in sociology at Brooklyn College and an M.S. in library science from Columbia University, Bergman’s road to Bowdoin passed through the libraries of the New School for Social Research in New York, Roger Williams College, and Wheaton College. By the time she arrived in Brunswick in 1992, Bergman had already established an extraordinary record of leadership and service to her profession.
At Bowdoin Bergman has guided administrators, faculty, staff and students through the library’s transition from book repository to gateway-to-information in a broad array of media and formats.
“That the transition appeared relatively seamless to the campus community is a testament to Sherrie and the staff she assembled, mentored, and developed into one of extraordinary ability and professionalism,” says Bowdoin’s Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Randy Shaw.
“It has been a privilege to steward Bowdoin’s distinguished library during the dawn of the Information Age,” says Bergman.
“Over the years, I’ve been grateful for our talented library staff who have transformed collections, services and facilities to make both digital and print information resources accessible to enrich the academic program. It has been a thrilling opportunity.”
Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and the branch libraries in music, art, science and language media operate at a high standard of efficiency that is the envy of college and university libraries around the country. Under her direction, the College’s archives and special collections were merged into the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, and the Bowdoin Digital Commons was created.
The library was the first department on campus with a website and an electronic classroom. Bergman has faced numerous challenges, from maintaining exceptional services throughout a period of major renovations at Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, to finding solutions to space limitations, to managing the demands created by shifting conceptions of copyright, freedom of speech and plagiarism in an age of electronic information.
Under Bergman’s leadership, Bowdoin has expanded the scope of its collections through shared library catalogues with Colby and Bates and the Maine InfoNet and NExpress consortia.
As co-advisor to Hillel since 2000 and chair of the Spindel Memorial Lectureship Committee, Bergman has been a strong voice for Jewish life on campus.
She has been a passionate advocate for the scholarly output of the faculty and for women in academia. As president of the Mid Coast Senior Health Center and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Maine Chapter, Bergman has encouraged the compassion and the dignity that she has always extended to others.
The 2012 Alumni Service Award for Faculty and Staff will be presented at Reunion Convocation, Saturday, June 2, 2012.