By Julissa Castro Ruiz / Staff Writer
Friend, Mentor, and Sister, Elisabetta Morani left behind a legacy that has not only shaped the Frohring Library into one of the most important English Libraries in Italy but has also had a great impact on the life of students, faculty, and the JCU community. Wise, creative, and innovative, Elisabetta had a vision for what a library should be, and in her 16 years at John Cabot University, she worked hard to see that vision fulfilled.
“She knew that the library is the true heart of a university, the place that should foster knowledge exchange without being afraid of getting a bad grade. She was so open to innovation and she always wanted to collaborate with everyone, from faculty to students, to create a library for everyone.”Livia Piotto, Interim Head Librarian.
Full of joy, kindness, and wisdom, each moment spent in Elisabetta’s presence was unforgettable, as shared by her coworker Giovanna Contigiani:
“We could say a lot about her, but I think that there are three aspects of her personality that can describe her briefly but effectively: she was always bursting with ideas, her laughter was contagious, and her smile was reassuring.”
Elisabetta saw the world from a different perspective, motivated everyone around her to follow their dreams and passion, and helped people reach their full potential. Her thirst for knowledge made her not only a mentor but an inspiration for those who had the pleasure of knowing her. She made the Frohring Library into a sanctuary where students and faculty could find the knowledge they sought. She welcomed change and growth with open arms and was always open to ideas or suggestions that would benefit the library.
“Elisabetta loved collaboration, collaboration was everything. It was so normal for her to stop by in the Lemon Tree Courtyard and chat with whoever she found there. And these chats often became ideas on how the library could help [in] creating collaborative opportunities and synergies,” Livia said.
If the library is the heart of a university, then Elisabetta Morani was the center of it all.
“She left a huge void, the void that a heart would leave when taken out of its body. But she left us her library that she built and let grow like only a great librarian could do,” expressed Livia. Her legacy continues to shape the library, and the impact she had on the university will continue to inspire both faculty and students.
The Legacy of Elisabetta Morani in the words of JCU Library Staff
Livia Piotto- Interim Head Librarian, Instruction Coordinator
I think that one of the most difficult things in life is to truly become friends with a coworker, not to mention a boss. But I was lucky enough to have that relationship with Elisabetta Morani. I still remember the first time that I heard her laughter on the phone. That was the beginning of our long friendship, because she was not just a boss to me, she was a mentor, she shaped me into the librarian I am today, she was a friend and a cool sister.
She was an experienced librarian that trusted me, a girl that wanted to be a librarian, to actually become one. She was a special and wise woman, and she saw in me potential for growth and taught me to always look for opportunities for improvement and growth. She was capable of seeing the world always from a different perspective and she believed in a new idea of a library. She knew that the library is the true heart of a university, the place that should foster knowledge exchange without being afraid of getting a bad grade. She was so open to innovation and she always wanted to collaborate with everyone, from faculty to students, to create a library for everyone. Her idea of a library was that the people should be in charge of deciding what a library should look like and she followed this principle when she advocated for a bigger library, for extended opening hours. The library for Elisabetta was, and still is, for the students, for the faculty, not for the librarians.
Elisabetta loved collaboration, collaboration was everything. It was so normal for her to stop by in the Lemon Tree Courtyard and chat with whoever she found there. And these chats often became ideas on how the library could help creating collaborative opportunities and synergies.
I know that in the last few years she was a little hidden from where the library action is. That is the role of a head librarian after all, you become more a manager and less a librarian. But her love was in everything that a library could do for the community. I wish all the students had the chance to meet her and talk to her at least once. She was a great mind, and she had a great heart. She left a huge void, the void that a heart would leave when taken out of its body. But she left us her library that she built and let grow like only a great librarian could do.
Giovanna Contigiani- Electronic Resources Librarian
I met Elisabetta in 1994 when we were both working on a project for the Vatican Library, and since then we have been true friends who highly value each other also as professionals. Elisabetta was a great person, but humble, always available, and generous.
We could say a lot about her, but I think that there are three aspects of her personality that can describe her briefly but effectively: she was always bursting with ideas, her laughter was contagious, and her smile was reassuring.
Thank you for everything, Elisabetta!
Enrico Amarante– Acquisitions Librarian
Working with Elisabetta for all these years has been like living many lives. For all the things she taught me, for all the human experiences I went through thanks to her. She made me grow as a human being and a librarian, and life and Frohring Library were one thing for her. She is always in my thoughts, and I’m sure she will always be.
Manlio Perugini– Reference and Instruction Librarian
As most of the interactions anyone had with Elisabetta, brief as they might have been, were worth a tale, I really would not know where to start. A human volcano, she had many characteristic features, one of which was the power to read every little detail at first sight. She used to joke about this, quoting the proverb “l’occhio del padrone ingrassa il cavallo,” to say that only a careful (and caring) eye can see every important thing, and act accordingly. She was often impatient to the point of restlessness, and yet she taught me one important lesson (among many others): in the library environment, one-off solutions are always the wrong ones. A librarian needs to think – and act – like a gardener, daily taking care of the services and of the people, always aware of the need for constant attention and the human touch.
We will miss her; we do miss her.
Paolo Livorati– Reserve Manager and Circulation Specialist
Elisabetta will forever be remembered for creating not only one of the most important English-language academic libraries in Italy, but first and foremost a welcoming and inspirational place for our students and our faculty; an environment which was and is, in the mind of everybody who has ever relied on the Frohring Library for teaching or research purposes, the very heart of this institution. She will be missed by many, but her legacy lives on.
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