Judith Caruthers, former Director of Libraries at LSU Health Sciences Center, died June 27th after fighting a long and courageous battle with cancer. Her career at LSU spanned more than 20 years. She began her Medical Center career in 1971 as a Library Associate. She earned her Masters in Library Science at LSU in Baton Rouge and then worked as a reference librarian, interlibrary loan librarian, and head of reference. She left to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison returning to New Orleans in 1986 as Director of Libraries where she remained until illness forced her to retire in September 1997. She became a tenured Associate Professor in 1990.
She served as a consultant in the establishment of the Southeastern and Southwestern Area Health Education Centers and was a visiting professor at the LSU School of Library and Information Science in Baton Rouge. She was a member of the Medical Library Association, the Association of Health Information Professionals at the Distinguished Member level, the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association, and the Health Sciences Library Association of Louisiana.
The Library made many strides under Judith's directorship; it moved into the world of automation by bringing up, with the Shreveport Library, the online catalog in NOTIS and MEDLINE online. The move from the old library at 1542 Tulane Avenue to the Isché Library occurred in May 1989. Probably her greatest contribution to librarianship was as a teacher. She influenced many young library school students to become medical librarians, and many of them have said she changed their lives; they all remember her with great affection.
Her interests were vast. She played the flute with the LSU Medical Center Band in the 1970's, and she was instrumental in saving an Enrique Alferez frieze when renovations occurred at the Medical School. Mayor Marc Morial honored Judith for her contribution in saving the frieze by declaring November 8, 1996 as Judith Caruthers Day. She lived in the French Quarter for 30 years; she purchased a home there and was in the process of renovating it when she became ill. She loved living in New Orleans and the French Quarter, but Alabama was always home and Auburn was her university. She was buried on July 14th in Hugley, Alabama alongside her parents.
Farewell friend and colleague, rest in peace.
Contributions to the Judith Caruthers History of Medicine Fund may be sent to the LSU Health Sciences Center Library, 433 Bolivar Street, New Orleans, LA 70112.
-- Wilba Swearingen
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