In her four decades working at the Faculty of Information’s library, Nadia Moro saw and lived through major changes in both her professional and personal lives. She started work amongst the book stacks and card catalogues at a time when no one raised eyebrows at on-the-job romances or owned a personal computer. When she retired at the very end of last year, she bid farewell to an Inforum that makes tech loans, holds yoga and mindfulness sessions, and where the last card catalogues have been transformed into a popular seed library.
Nadia first started working at the Faculty of Library and Information Science library as a part-time UofT student in 1980. Not long after, she accepted a full-time job as a circulation desk assistant. “I realized university was not for me,” she says. “I was more of a practical person than a theory person.”
Colleagues and students also describe Nadia as the ultimate people person. “You are a magnet and community builder,” said then Interim Inforum Director Kathleen Scheaffer at Nadia’s celebration lunch, which was held at the Inforum and attended by dozens of current and former colleagues, including many librarians mentored by Nadia when they were students.
In fact, Nadia also sat on the committee, which hired Scheaffer 12 years ago. She estimates that over time, she hired and mentored more than 150 students, a part of her job she really enjoyed.
“We are so proud to be several chapters in the book of Nadia,” said Sheaffer, whose colleagues Elisa Sze and Nalini Singh, presented Nadia with a “special edition” scrapbook they put together to commemorate her retirement.
“Every student, every faculty member and every staffer has been helped by Nadia and had the amazing benefit of working with her,” said Dean Wendy Duff.
Nadia, who describes herself as “a talkative, extroverted person who gets to know everyone,” told the gathering that she had loved her job and her “Inforum family.” She was never stuck in just one area, she said, and given many opportunities to grow and advance.
Something of a technophile, Nadia had the library’s first computer. She earned a reputation for being tech savvy and quickly getting up-to-speed on all the automated systems that were introduced over her time on the job.
“I wasn’t afraid of figuring out the easiest way of doing things,” says Nadia. “I’m not rigid. I like to experiment. If there’s a problem I like to solve it. Once I know the system and how it works, I can get what I want from it.”
As she embarks on her retirement, Nadia, known for her love of cruising, is planning a trip to Italy with family followed by a Mediterranean cruise. She also wants to catch up with favourite authors whose works she missed as she raised a family and faced serious health issues over the past decade.
It was, after all, a teacher, who upon noticing that Nadia was always reading, steered her toward libraries in the first place. Later, when her family moved to a new town, Nadia spent so much time at the local library that the librarian asked her if she was interested in a job shelving books. Nadia said yes and worked at the library summers and many weekends throughout high school.
That experience made Nadia a qualified candidate for her first job at the Faculty of Library and Information Science, where, she says, she started out as the youngest person and ended up as the oldest. Nadia’s colleagues celebrated as she got engaged, married and became a mother to two boys.
She, in turn, recalls witnessing many library romances. “You saw a lot of love stories happening in front of you,” she says. “It was really sweet.”
Along with reading and travelling, Nadia also plans to work on her health. And she’s looking to volunteer “either in libraries or the cancer hospitals that have been really good to me.” With so many friends at U of T, she will also be returning to campus for social visits, which everyone is already looking forward to.