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W. David Rozkuszka, documents librarian, dead at 53

W. David Rozkuszka, 53, a librarian known for building an outstanding international collection of government documents in the Stanford libraries, died surrounded by family and friends on Friday, Jan. 10. The cause of death was AIDS-related lymphoma.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Chapel of Grace at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. A reception will follow.

Rozkuszka was born Aug. 21, 1943 in Ludlow, Mass. He earned his bachelor's degree from Loyola University in Chicago in 1965 and his master's degree in library science from Syracuse University in 1967. He came to work in Stanford University's libraries that same year and retired in February 1994 because of disabilities related to HIV infection.

A former director of the Jonsson Library of Government Documents, he served most recently as international documents librarian and African and Middle Eastern bibliographer. On retirement, he was honored with the title Librarian Emeritus.

He was remembered by colleagues and friends as an erudite and charming man with wide interests in travel and the arts.

History Professor Peter Stansky worked closely with Rozkuszka because of his role in developing what Stansky called "maybe the best collection of British government documents in the world." He regularly involved Rozkuszka in teaching his classes about one of the first rules of research: Ask a librarian. "Best of all about David was his openness to help, to guide students of all levels," Stansky said.

Former colleague Barbara Van Deventer, now assistant director of the University of Chicago Library, recalled Rozkuszka's flexibility and creativity in obtaining documents from different governments with different philosophies toward record-keeping. On his retirement in 1994, she wrote in a letter to friends, "He was so articulate on a zillion subjects that I once told him I suspected he could talk about something as minor as a feather for half an hour. He proceeded to demonstrate that this was an easy assignment. I had to beg him to stop."

"David's legacy to Stanford was building one of the finest foreign documents collections in the United States," recalled fellow librarian Ann Latta. "He also played a major role in planning for a social sciences resources center to be located in Green Library West."

Rozkuszka was a member of several national and international professional working groups including the Western European Studies Association and the Seminar on Acquisition of Latin American Materials of the American Library Association. At Stanford, he was a member of the Committee on Land and Building Development, the Committee for African Studies and the Canadian Studies Advisory Group.

An annual scholarship for students of library science has been established in his name by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association.

He is survived by his mother, Rose Rozkuszka of San Antonio, Texas, and two sisters: Joan O'Brien of San Antonio and Marie Bryan of Lake Worth, Fla.

Memorial donations may be made to the San Francisco Ballet, the Shanti Project or Project Open Hand, both of San Francisco, or to organizations of the donor's choice.


By Janet Basu