Remembering Dan Cherubin, a Librarian Like None Other

If you’re on campus, you likely received an all-campus email from Joyce Jacobsen, Wesleyan’s provost, earlier this afternoon with the news of University Librarian Dan Cherubin‘s passing after a battle with cancer. His passing is a tremendous loss to the Wesleyan community, and to almost all who knew him.

Dan came to Wesleyan at the beginning of last year and made explicit commitments to make the library a space for all. His Twitter, @skalibrarian, was like none other. We interacted quite frequently through the social network, and I came to know how committed he was to Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff. The full text of Provost Jacobsen’s email is after the jump.

Dear friends,

It is with deep shock and sorrow that I write to inform you that our dear friend and colleague, Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian DanCherubin, died suddenly early this morning. Those of you who have worked with Dan know of his love of life and passion for education.

Dan graduated from Bard College with a BA in music, and he held an MS in library science from Columbia University, and an MA in media studies from New School University. Dan came to Wesleyan in July 2016 after a nationwide search for our next librarian. He brought more than 20 years of experience in library and information services, most recently as the Chief Librarian and Associate Dean at Hunter College in New York, where he oversaw four libraries.

Dan spent the past year working with the campus administration and the library staff on initiatives to re-envision library spaces and to reorganize the library to meet the 21st century needs of students and faculty, as well as engaging people in-person and via social media to heighten awareness about academic libraries and what they offer. A huge proponent of inclusiveness and diversity, he enjoyed conversing with many students on Wesleyan’s campus to learn about their ideas and concerns, and how the library could help address them. Most recently, Dan was proud to have published a chapter titled “Mentoring Across Boundaries and Across Borders: Looking Outside Your Comfort Zone (And Maybe Your Country)” in the book Librarian as Mentor. Dan’s sense of humor, his Twitter posts, and his quick repartee will be missed by many on and off campus.

Arrangements for a funeral service are pending and will be announced when details are available. Please join me in sending our heartfelt sympathies to his partner, Albert, his mother Margaret, his sister Rose, and his brother Sam.

Sincerely,

Joyce

Dan demonstrated his commitment, not just to diversity, but to offering support to the marginalized. In the week following the election of Donald Trump, he explicitly called attention to anti-semitism, homophobia, racism, and re-affirmed that the library was a space that was welcome to all that would find new struggles under this administration:

Dan even brought attention to the potential for millions of Americans to lose health care as he was battling cancer.

There are few who will be able to fill his shoes, but I imagine that Dan left a legacy that will inspire many in the future to continue his commitments to inclusiveness and justice.

I know that many people knew Dan better than me, so please, if you have any thoughts, photos, or memories you’d like to share about Dan, send an email to staff[at]wesleying[dot]org and we’ll include them at the bottom of this post.

  • Francy Caprino

    I’ve known Dan as one of the best friends of my friend Elizabeth Reiss for many years – way back from when they went to Bard together. What a fantastic guy! I’m sorry for the world and for Liz, who’s deeply morning this loss.

  • cybrarian_ca

    I worked with Dan for several years at CUNY, on the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians, which he also chaired for 2 years. He was very committed to mentoring – a passion I share – and I so admired how he led his staff by example. He was never afraid to stand up for what was right. I can’t claim to have known him well, but I very much liked and admired him, and was so glad to have had the opportunity to work with him. I’m shocked and saddened at his untimely passing.

  • jessamyn

    Librarians worldwide love and miss him. Thanks for writing this.

  • E. Thorndike

    Brought him wings a week ago while he was recovering. Absolutely terrible news