Library History

A Brief History of the York College Library
error while rendering collective.contentleadimage.full

Part I: The Chief Librarians

Charles Pappalardo
Prof. Charles Pappalardo
York Library Supervisor,
1967-1968

When York College opened in 1967, it was housed primarily on the campus of Queensborough Community College, in Bayside, Queens. York's Library was located in the basement of Queensborough's Library, and the three original Library faculty members were Professors Judith Bartlett, Benedetto DiRusso, and Gladys Jarrett. During that first year, Professor Charles Pappalardo (Queensborough's Chief Librarian, 1960-1983) was simultaneously employed by York as an Adjunct Lecturer and oversaw the York Library.


In 1968, York College's first President, Dr. Dumont Kenny, recruited and appointed George M. Bailey to become York's first Chief Librarian. Professor Bailey had been Executive Secretary of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) from 1963 to 1968, and had previously worked in the libraries of Northwestern University, the University of California at Davis, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Professor Bailey held Master's degrees in History from the University of Pennsylvania and in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin.  Among his publications were articles published in Illinois Libraries, Drexel Library Quarterly, Rice University Studies, and College Library Notes.  In his work with ALA's Cooperative Reference Services Committee, he compiled Directory of Cooperative Reference Service Programs: A Preliminary Edition (Chicago: American Library Association, 1972). He served as Secretary of the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians during 1970-1971.

George Bailey
Prof. George Bailey
Chief Librarian,
1968-1971

George Bailey left York in 1971 and became Associate Director of Libraries for The Claremont Colleges from 1971 until his retirement in 1989.


After Professor Bailey's departure in the Summer of 1971, Professors J. Edward Bradford and Gladys W. Jarrett were designated as Co-Acting Chief Librarians by York's Acting President David Newton and Dean of Faculty Lewis Bodi.

Ed Bradford
Prof. Edward Bradford
Co-Acting Chief Librarian,
1971-1972

Professor Bradford had joined the York Library in 1968 as Head of Technical Services. He held Master's degrees in English Literature and Library Science from the University of Oklahoma, and previously worked as Chief of Technical Processing at the Queens Borough Public Library. Professor Bradford left York in 1974. A noted expert on African violets, he received the Hudson Memorial Award from the African Violet Society of America in 1985.

See below for information on Co-Acting Chief Librarian Gladys Jarrett.

In 1972, Fred J. Harsaghy, Jr., was hired by York College President Milton Bassin to serve as the College's second Chief Librarian.

Professor Harsaghy had previously administered libraries in Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. He received a Master's degree in Library Science from Columbia University, and Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Public Administration from New York University. After he left York in 1974, Harsaghy taught at the University of New Haven and in the Danbury, Connecticut, public school system, and passed away in 1996.  Among his publications were articles in College and Research Libraries, Special Libraries, and Wilson Library Bulletin.

Click for a 1973 interview with Dr. Harsaghy.

Fred Harsaghy
Dr. Fred Harsaghy
Chief Librarian,
1972-1974

Gladys Jarrett
Prof. Gladys Jarrett
Co-Acting Chief Librarian,
1971-1972
Acting Chief Librarian,
1974-1976
Chief Librarian,
1976-1985

After serving as Acting Chief Librarian for a second time, Gladys W. Jarrett was appointed by President Milton Bassin in February 1976 to be York College's third Chief Librarian.

Professor Jarrett was one of York's original faculty members, having started in the Library in 1967, working in Cataloging and then as Head of Public Services. It is very likely that Professor Jarrett was the first African-American woman to be a Chief Librarian in The City University of New York system.

Professor Jarrett had previously worked at Pace University and the Brooklyn Public Library. She held Master's Degrees in Spanish from Teachers College of Columbia University, and in Library Science from Pratt Institute. Prof. Jarrett was elected President of LACUNY (the Library Association of the City University of New York) for 1972-1973, and served as Chairperson of the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians during 1979-1980. She retired from York College in 1985.

Professor Jarrett passed away in July 2007.

Benedetto DiRusso was appointed York's fourth Chief Librarian by President Milton Bassin in 1986, after having served as Acting Chief Librarian for a year.

Professor DiRusso was an original York faculty member, having started in the Library in 1967, working in Public Services and then as Deputy Chief Librarian. He previously worked as science librarian at St. John’s University, and also at the Brooklyn Public Library. Professor DiRusso received Master's degrees in Library Science from Pratt Institute, and in Business Administration from St. John's University. The editor of several subject bibliographies that were compiled by York librarians, including The American Indian, Then and Now, Professor DiRusso served as Treasurer of LACUNY (the Library Association of the City University of New York) during 1975-1976. He stepped down as Chief Librarian in 1988, and retired in 1991.

Professor DiRusso passed away in June 2010.

Ben DiRusso
Prof. Ben DiRusso
Acting Chief Librarian,
1985-1986
Chief Librarian,
1986-1988

Kevin Barry
Prof. Kevin Barry
Acting Chief Librarian,
1988-1989
Chief Librarian,
1989-1992



After serving as Acting Chief Librarian for a year, J. Kevin Barry was appointed York's fifth Chief Librarian by President Milton Bassin in 1989.

Professor Barry began in the York College Library in 1974 as Acquisitions Librarian, and previously worked at Northeastern University. He held Master's degrees in English Literature from Drew University, and in Library Science from Simmons College. Professor Barry became York's Deputy Chief Librarian in 1992, and held that position until his retirement in 2001. He also served the faculty as Grievance Officer and then Chapter Chair of the York College Chapter of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the CUNY faculty union.


Robert A. Machalow was appointed York's sixth Chief Librarian in 1992 by President Josephine Davis.

Robert Machalow
Prof. Robert Machalow
Chief Librarian,
1992-2007

Professor Machalow first joined the York College Library faculty in 1982, working as the Curriculum Materials Center Librarian, Interlibrary Loan Librarian, Bibliographic Instruction Librarian, and Systems Librarian, and currently serves as Head of Circulation & Reserve and Head of Archives & Special Collections. He received a Master's degree in English Literature from Indiana University, and in Library Science from Rutgers University.  Prof. Machalow is the author of 5 books on the use of technology in libraries, and has contributed articles to The Reference Librarian, Computers in Libraries, OCLC Micro, Library Software Review, ERIC, Small Computers in Libraries, and The Unabashed Librarian.

Kenneth Schlesinger was appointed by President Marcia Keizs to be York's Acting Chief Librarian on Feb. 1, 2007. Professor Schlesinger had been Director of Media Services at LaGuardia Community College since 2000. Previously, he worked in both libraries and archives at Hostos Community College, Thirteen/WNET, Time Inc., the Museum of Television & Radio, NBC News, and the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. He received a Master's degree in Information and Library Science from Pratt Institute, and an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale University. He left York at the end of June 2007 to become the Chief Librarian at CUNY's Lehman College.

Kenneth Schlesinger
Prof. Kenneth Schlesinger
Acting Chief Librarian,
Feb. 2007-June 2007

After serving as Acting Chief Librarian for 18 months, John A. Drobnicki was appointed by President Marcia Keizs to be York's seventh Chief Librarian, effective Jan. 1, 2009.

John Drobnicki
Prof. John Drobnicki
Acting Chief Librarian,
2007-2008
Chief Librarian,
2009-2011

Professor Drobnicki joined the York College Library faculty in 1995, starting as the Evening & Weekend Librarian-in-Charge, and then becoming Head of Reference Services, Library Webmaster, and Electronic Resources Librarian, and currently serves as Head of Technical Services. He holds Master's degrees in History from St. John's University and Library Science from Queens College/CUNY.  Among Professor Drobnicki's publications are articles contributed to Judaica Librarianship, Journal of Hate Studies, Public & Access Services Quarterly, Bulletin of Bibliography, Polish Review, College & Research Libraries News, ERIC, Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists, Reference Librarian, OAH Magazine of History, the Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, and the Polish American Encyclopedia.

Njoki-Wa-Kinyatti was appointed by President Marcia Keizs to be York's eighth Chief Librarian effective Sept. 1, 2011.

Professor Kinyatti first joined the York College Library faculty in 1990, starting as the Evening & Weekend Librarian-in-Charge, subsequently becoming Head of Circulation & Reserve and most recently Coordinator of Collection Development. She holds Master's degrees in Library Science from St. John's University and in Public Administration from CUNY's John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Prior to coming to York, Prof. Kinyatti was Chief Librarian at Touro College’s School of General Studies (which has since become part of Touro’s New York School of Career and Applied Studies). Prof. Kinyatti has contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence and Abuse,Encyclopedia of African American History, Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: Basketball, the Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, and the Encyclopedia of School Crime and Violence, and has reviewed books for American Reference Books Annual (ARBA).
Njoki Kinyatti
Prof. Njoki-Wa-Kinyatti
Chief Librarian,
2011-Present

Part II: The Full-Time Library Faculty

Name Years of Service Positions Held
Bailey, George M. 1968-1971 Chief Librarian
Barry, J. Kevin 1974-2001 Head of Acquisitions; Head of Periodicals & Microforms; Deputy Chief Librarian (twice); Acting Chief Librarian; Chief Librarian
Bartlett, Judith G. 1967-1983 Acquisitions Librarian; Head, Biblio-Searching Unit; Head of Curriculum Materials Center; Head of Serials
Bradford, J. Edward 1968-1974 Head of Technical Processing; Co-Acting Chief Librarian; Acting Head of Acquisitions
Burg, Jayson H. 1986-1988 Evening/Weekend Librarian
Clark, Arnold 1989-1990 Substitute Evening/Weekend Librarian
Cleary, Daniel E. 2006-Present Substitute Reference Librarian; Acting Head of Cataloging; Science Librarian; Head of Serials
DiRusso, Benedetto 1967-1991 Reference Librarian; Head of Reference; Head of Circulation & Reserve; Deputy Chief Librarian; Acting Chief Librarian; Chief Librarian; Acting Head of Cataloging; Substitute Reference Librarian (1996)
Drobnicki, John A. 1995-Present Evening/Weekend Librarian-in-Charge; Reference Librarian; Head of Reference; Head of Electronic Resources; Library Webmaster; Acting Chief Librarian; Chief Librarian; Head of Acquisitions: Acting Head of Cataloging
Dunkley, Joy 2002-2004 Head of Circulation & Reserve
Engel, Kenneth 1989-1990 Substitute Evening/Weekend Librarian
Franco, Marta G. 1970-1999 Head of Serials
Harsaghy, Fred J., Jr. 1972-1974 Chief Librarian; Acting Head of Technical Services
Jarrett, Gladys W. 1967-1985 Cataloger; Head of Cataloging; Head of Public Services; Co-Acting Chief Librarian; Acting Chief Librarian; Chief Librarian
Kinyatti, Njoki-Wa- 1990-Present Evening/Weekend Librarian-in-Charge; Head of Circulation & Reserve; Head of Collection Development; Chief Librarian
McPhillips, John 2001-2002 Evening/Weekend Librarian; Head of Circulation & Reserve
Machalow, Robert A. 1982-Present Head of Curriculum Materials Center; Interlibrary Loan Librarian; Head of Bibliographic Instruction; Systems Librarian; Head of Public Services; Head of Cataloging; Chief Librarian; Head of Circulation & Reserve; Head of Archives
Maillet, Lucienne 1970-1975 Head of Audiovisual Center; Head of Curriculum Materials Center
Margolis, Michael 2003-2006 Evening/Weekend Librarian-in-Charge
Megwalu, Anamika 2007-Present Evening/Weekend Librarian; Library Webmaster; Coordinator of Electronic Resources; Head of Interlibrary Loan
Miller, Christina 2008-Present School Library Media Specialist
Nash, Madeleine 1999-2000 Evening/Weekend Librarian; Head of Circulation & Reserve
Pratt, Priscilla 1986-1987 Head of Cataloging
Rakofsky, Larry 1983-1985 Evening/Weekend Librarian; Serials Librarian
Schlesinger, Kenneth 2007-2007 Acting Chief Librarian
Sheidlower, Scott A. 2004-Present Evening/Weekend Librarian-in-Charge; Head of Information Literacy; Head of Reference; Acting Head of Cataloging; Head of Archives; Head of Circulation & Reserve
Simpson, Todd 2014-Present Substitute Cataloging Librarian
Soltesz, Kathryn M. 1968-1978 Head of Cataloging
Stiegelbauer, Alyce A. 1978-1988 Evening Librarian; Head of Cataloging; Head of Circulation; Head of Public Services; Systems Coordinator; Deputy Chief Librarian
Su, Di 1997-Present Evening/Weekend Librarian-in-Charge; Head of Information Literacy (twice); Head of Circulation & Reserve; Head of Reference
Tilyou, Elizabeth M. 1987-1995 Reference Librarian; Head of Circulation & Reserve
Urban, Sandra G. 2008-2014 Head of Cataloging; Acting Head of Reference; Head of Interlibrary Loan
Winchester, Shiela B. 1986-1996 Reference Librarian; Head of Acquisitions; Head of Cataloging; Head of Reference
Wondolowski, Christine R. 1986-1988 Evening/Weekend Librarian-in-Charge
Young, Hope E. 1986-2011 Reference Librarian; Head of Current Periodicals & Microforms; Head of Interlibrary Loan; Head of Serials

Part III: The Part-Time Library Faculty

Name Years of Service Positions Held
Bissainthe, Max 1973-1974 Adjunct Lecturer, Cataloging
Branner, Shirley P. 1972-1973 Adjunct Lecturer, Cataloging
Callinan, Mary L. 1973-1974 Adjunct Lecturer, Cataloging
Cleary, Daniel E. 2002-2005 Adjunct Lecturer, Evening Reference Librarian
Corson, Cornelia 1971-1975 Adjunct Lecturer, Cataloging
Evans, Thomas 2013 Adjunct Lecturer, Reference Librarian
Fischer, Theodore 1980 College Assistant, Evening Librarian
Fusaro, John 1973-1975 Adjunct Lecturer, Evening Reference Librarian
Gallo, Lory 1994-1998 College Assistant, Evening/Weekend Librarian
Handler, Roberta 1971 Adjunct Lecturer
Hossain, Mahmuda A. 1999 College Assistant, Reference Librarian
Jin, Xudong 1994 College Assistant, Reference Librarian
Karakov, Yelena 1973-1974 Adjunct Lecturer, Cataloging
Krepp, Kenneth 2006-Present Adjunct Assistant Professor, Evening Reference Librarian
Lal, Shail 1973-1974 Adjunct Lecturer, Reference, Periodicals & Microforms
Liss, Cynthia Rosen 1972-1975 Adjunct Lecturer, Head of Circulation
Lucas, Pamela 1991-Present College Assistant, Evening & Weekend Librarian; Adjunct Lecturer, Reference Librarian
McPhillips, John 2000-2001 College Assistant, Evening & Weekend Librarian
Mahant, Sushma 1974-1975 Adjunct Lecturer, Reference & Circulation
Miller, Christina 2003-2008 Adjunct Lecturer, High School Librarian
Palcewski, Barbara 1972-1973 Adjunct Lecturer, Acquisitions
Pappalardo, Charles 1967-1968 Adjunct Lecturer, Library Supervisor
Pollak, Vera 1972-1974 Adjunct Lecturer, Cataloging
Rakofsky, Larry 1980-1983 College Assistant, Evening Librarian
Schneider, Patricia 1971-1972 Adjunct Lecturer, Head of Periodicals & Microforms
Seif, Morton 1974 Adjunct Lecturer, Cataloging
Simpson, Todd 2013-2014 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Reference Librarian
Sun, Hongyi (Sue) 1992-1993 College Assistant, Reference Librarian
Trinkoff, Elaine 1972-1975 Adjunct Lecturer, Reference & Interlibrary Loan
Tunney, Deborah 1991-1992 College Assistant, Reference Librarian
Willemin, Julia L. 1971 Adjunct Lecturer
Zekov, Thomas 1972-1973; 1975-1977 College Assistant, Reference Librarian; Adjunct Lecturer, Reference Librarian

Document Actions