George Louis MAYER died on Oct. 5, 2017.
He was born on Sept. 17, 1929 in Somerville, NJ. His parents were Louis and Susan Mayer, also born in Somerville. His father was a mechanic and his mother, a homemaker and excellent cook. He had an aunt, Helen Pfaff, a teacher who was a major influence in his life. George was interested in opera from an early age, and even as a high school student had a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera. He graduated from New York University and received his MLS from Columbia University. In 1954-55, he was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to study music for a year in Germany.
George began his NYPL career in 1953 at the Melrose Branch as 1/2-time clerk, then Librarian. He was promoted to Senior Librarian at the Music Library in the E. 58 St. branch where he worked from 1955-1965. As Senior Librarian, he was in charge of the transition of the Music Circulating Collection in 1965 from the E. 58 St. branch to the new high profile location at Lincoln Center as part of the new NYPL Performing Arts Library. At the General Library and Museum of the Performing Arts (as it was then known), he served as Supervising Music Librarian, Principal Librarian, Acting Coordinator and finally, Coordinator of all Circulating Collections and Services at the General Library, retiring in 1987.
After his retirement from NYPL, George held positions as reference librarian at Brooklyn College Music Library and at Adelphi University Library.
During his tenure, George broadened the scope of the collections to feature popular music, jazz, Broadway show music, and rock music to reach a wider audience. Students in these fields often studied privately in studios and other facilities with no access to specialized libraries serving their needs. He also worked to make sure the library provided information to the authors of books, articles, reviews, program notes and record liner notes by offering unique clipping files and other ephemeral materials to those library users as well as to others.
A few other highlights of George's career were:
--urging the collection of audio-visual materials library system-wide -- not just at the Central Libraries
--advocating that the library administration develop policies to assist branch staff in dealing with the growing population of library users with special needs and sometimes demands
--helping to select security systems for the branches
To paraphrase and quote the words of one of George's colleagues, George was "dedicated to the arts, sciences and democracy," was intelligent, knowledgeable, opinionated, extremely generous and kind, and not least, "with a flair for clothes/love of fashion." And he was a passionate lover of all animals, especially his beloved cats Adalgisa, Miss Kitty, Max and Misha. He was a unique, dear man who will be sorely missed by his many friends and admirers.
See New York Public Library Newsletter, Issue 38, page 11.
See New York Public Library Newsletter, Issue 35, page 27.
See New York Public Library Newsletter, Issue 34, page 6.
See New York Public Library Newsletter, Issue 32, page 5.
See New York Public Library Newsletter, Issue 31 page 18.