Beloved librarian, volunteer dies

Robert Jevne volunteered as a librarian even after retirement.

A former employee and volunteer who dedicated the last 40 years of his life to organizing and preserving library collections at the University passed away Dec. 27 of natural causes.

Robert Jevne was 87 years old.

A World War II veteran, Jevne earned a master’s degree in English literature from the University in 1949.

After teaching stints in Arizona and Washington, Jevne returned to the University in 1963 for a library science master’s degree.

He remained at the University as a librarian, bibliographer and volunteer since then.

Jevne retired from a position that included selecting and purchasing new books in U.S. and English literature in 1983. He continued as a part-time volunteer until October in the Preservation Department of Wilson Library.

His duties included keeping detailed records of the condition of aging books. Although very concentrated on his work, Jevne always found time to advise students and faculty, Jevne’s former colleagues said.

“Bob made several lasting contributions and was a true pleasure to work with,” said Mariann Tiblin, Jevne’s colleague and friend.

Fellow employee Karl Isely said Jevne’s service was especially important to the department because of budget cuts.

“Bob was very knowledgeable and never lost his sense of wonder. He was constantly interested in everything and refused to stop learning,” Isely said.

Marcia Pankake filled Jevne’s position following his retirement as U.S. and English literature specialist.

“He remembered everything he read and applied that knowledge to enhance specific library collections,” Pankake said. “He was the social glue that held the department together.”

Tiblin said she admired Jevne’s ability to make immediate friendships, both in and outside the University community.

“He was very well-liked and often served as a liaison between the library staff and faculty members,” she said.

Both Isely and Tiblin said they remember Jevne as always wanting to discuss something he read in the newspaper or watched on television.

Health concerns urged Jevne to leave the library in October. Even after his departure, Isely said, Jevne continued to e-mail the library staff from his home.

There will be a ceremony and reception for Jevne at 4 p.m. Friday in the Campus Club in Coffman Union.