Nationally Known Librarian Honors His UD Mentor with Future Gift

By Kathleen Tiller

Decades after leaving a job in the University of Dayton Libraries for a new opportunity that would eventually lead him to national prominence in the library field, a former UD librarian chose to honor his mentor in Roesch Library with a future gift in his estate plan.

In tribute to the late library director Ray Nartker, Jim and Monica Rettig of Williamsburg, Virginia, are directing a portion of their estate to the Father Raymond A. Roesch, S.M., Library Endowment, which provides funding to acquire primary source material, rare books, manuscripts, DVDs and electronic journals.*

Jim Rettig, who worked in the Roesch Library reference department from 1978 to 1983, later became the University Librarian at the University of Richmond in Virginia; served a year as president of the American Library Association (2008-09); and retired in 2017 as director of the Nimitz Library at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

A former colleague of Rettig, Linda Simons, who oversaw Roesch Library’s public services, said Rettig became known for excellent reference skills and extensive writing and networking. He regularly reviewed reference books for the Wilson Library Bulletin, and because the books were donated to the library after being reviewed, this increased the reference collection considerably, Simons said.

Rettig also encouraged others in the reference department to publish in another standard, Magazines for Libraries, Simons said.


Nartker, who died June 4, 2005, modeled leadership well, Rettig said. During Nartker’s tenure as director, the Libraries crossed the quarter-million-volume threshold; broke ground on the eight-story Roesch Library; and took the first step toward library automation with a record-keeping system that delivered a printout of borrower names, addresses and due dates. Roesch Library also began participating in a consortium of Ohio college libraries that would enable patrons to “instantaneously learn the location and availability of books throughout the state”; today, it’s known as OCLC, a global library cooperative.

Rettig said Nartker, who served 22 years at UD before retiring in 1985, gave him the support to connect with the library world, encouraging him to get involved in the profession and providing financial support to participate in ALA conferences and in the activities of the Academic Library Association of Ohio.

"That, more than anything, helped prepare me for the many professional and leadership opportunities I was privileged to have in my later career," Rettig said. He also shared appreciation for the guidance of Johannah Sherrer and Ed Starkey, who led the reference department while he was at UD.

"They and Ray Nartker all helped me see beyond the local horizon," Rettig said.

Kathleen Webb, dean of University Libraries, said she was touched by the gesture of dedicating a future gift in Nartker’s honor.

“We’re so grateful,” she said. “This gift will allow us to add to our collections, but even more than that, it is a wonderful reminder that our efforts to develop and mentor our colleagues early in their careers do make a difference. It’s just so affirming and encouraging that the Rettigs came back to recognize Ray Nartker and give something back.”


For information on charitable giving through estate planning, email Colleen Lampton-Brill, executive director for planned giving in University Advancement.

— Kathleen Tiller is a professor emerita in the University Libraries; she works part time in the Libraries on projects and special assignments.

* A recent example: Funds from the Father Raymond A. Roesch, S.M., Library Endowment helped the University Libraries purchase the Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition, on display year-round in Roesch Library.

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