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Retired longtime UCR librarians die

Retired longtime UCR librarians die

(March 15, 2001)

Retired longtime University of California, Riverside librarians Robert and Elizabeth Lang, died this week in Long Beach, Calif.

Mr. Lang, 88, an associate university librarian emeritus at UCR died on Sunday, March 11, of heart failure stemming from complications of surgery, his daughter Pamela Munro said.

Mrs. Lang, 83, a former librarian for the English Department at UCR died Thursday, March 15, from complications of a stroke suffered Friday, March 9, Munro added. Both died at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.

Mrs. Lang was born March 20, 1918 in Sherbroke, New Brunswick, Canada. She started working at UCR in 1964 and retired in December of 1998, said Chris Deviny, management services officer with the English Department at UCR. Although Mrs. Lang worked off and on at the library, Deviny said she was devoted to maintaining the department's library in tip-top shape.

"She dearly loved the department library," she said. "It was her pride and joy and she will be greatly missed."

Mr. Lang was born March 25, 1912 in Hope, N.D. In his 15 years at UCR, Mr. Lang was a guiding force in the growth and development of the campus library's collections, which grew from 200,000 in 1963 to more than 900,000 volumes at his retirement in 1978, said UCR Librarian James Thompson. Mr. Lang guided the addition of Unit Three at the Tomás Rivera Library in 1968. He twice served as acting university librarian in 1965-66 and in 1976.

He wrote three books, including "The Land and People of Pakistan" in 1968, Thompson said. Lippincott published a revised edition in 1974. In 1973, Mr. Lang founded "Books at UCR," an occasional newsletter on UCR Library collections. He was its first editor. He also wrote several articles and art exhibition catalogues while on the staff of the library at UCR, Thompson added.

Mr. Lang's curiosity and wide-ranging interests kept him involved with the UCR library well after his retirement, said Patricia Hargis, associate librarian at the English Short Title Catalogue.

"His mind was sharp and always curious," she said. "He was always willing to take on a new project."

Mr. Lang had recently finished compiling the subject catalogue in the Special Collections Department of the UCR Library, Hargis said. He was working on a timeline of the 16th and 17th centuries in English history for the English Short Title Catalogue at the time of his death, she added.

Mr. and Mrs. Lang co-edited "The Odyssey of an Entomologist: Adventures on the Farm, at Sea, and in the University," a 1986 autobiography by the late Alfred M. Boyce, a former director of UCR's Citrus Experiment Station.

Before coming to UCR, Mr. Lang worked 12 years at the State University of New York, College at New Platz, as College Librarian and a lecturer in art history. Before that, he was librarian and assistant professor of fine arts at Cornell University's College of Architecture and Fine Arts. From 1935-41, he was a reference librarian at Oberlin College. Mr. Lang served a short time as an assistant in the Manuscript Department at the Huntington Library in Arcadia in 1935. He completed a master's degree in English from UCLA and a library science degree from Columbia University in 1935.

Mrs. Lang taught briefly at Cornell and Oberlin and did teaching-related work at New Platz but never formally held a faculty position there, Munro said. In 1960 and 1961, she taught at Foreman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan while Mr. Lang taught at the University of the Punjab in Lahore on a Fulbright Scholarship.

The couple met at Cornell, where Mrs. Lang received her Ph.D. in English. They married in 1944 at Oberlin, Ohio. During World War II, Mr. Lang served in the U.S. Army. The couple moved to Riverside in 1963. They were active in University events and in the Congregational Church, where Mrs. Lang was active in Project Food.

The Langs are survived by daughter Pamela Munro, son Peter Lang, and four grandchildren. Services are pending.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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