Pioneers often feel a special responsibility to ease the way for those who come after them, and Berry G. Richards, the first woman director of libraries at Lehigh, met that challenge with foresight and verve, embracing the digital revolution and instituting innovative library technologies.
Yet Richards, who died July 15, 2021, at age 90, never lost her love of books or short-changed her relationships with staff, faculty and students as she helped shepherd library advancements.
“She was so brilliant,” said Sharon Wiles-Young, Lehigh’s director of library access services. “She saw strategically into the future ... what kind of technology could be used for libraries.
She could foresee how technology was going to move us forward.”
Greg Reihman, vice provost for library and technology services, says, “She was using words like ‘virtual library’ back in 1978. She not only had that vision, she was capable of pulling that off. It says something about not just her intellect but also her character, that she pulled that off with collegiality, warmth and generosity.”