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California Library Hall of Fame: Joseph Rosenthal
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California Library Hall of Fame

Joseph A. Rosenthal (1929-2012)

Joseph A. Rosenthal served as university librarian at UC Berkeley from 1979 until his retirement in 1991. While there, he automated the library’s 6-million item card catalog and spearheaded one of the nation’s first conservation departments in a major university library. He also established a library development office, which now includes an endowment from the Joseph A. Rosenthal Librarian’s Discretionary Fund. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, Rosenthal worked as an intern at the Library of Congress and held increasingly responsible positions at New York Public Library. He was also instrumental in helping establish the Research Libraries Group, about which he wrote a book in 1973. Rosenthal served on the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) board of directors, 1984-87, and was a member of several ARL committees, including the task force on bibliographic control, the coordinating committee on collections and access, and the committee on preservation of research library materials. Throughout his career, Rosenthal published articles, was active in professional associations, served as a consultant, and was principal investigator on numerous federal grants. After retiring, he volunteered as chief librarian of the American Conservatory Theatre and served on the San Francisco Library Commission. His generosity continues to strengthen the Bancroft Library as well as the Friends of the San Francisco Library.

Joseph A. Rosenthal was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2014. For further information about him, please see:

  • Jim Michalko, “Joe Rosenthal R.I.P.” (May 28, 2012)
  • Joseph A. Rosenthal, The Research Libraries Group: Proposals for Cooperation Among the Libraries of Columbia, Harvard, and Yale Universities and the New York Public Library (1973)
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