University of Rochester

Sally Roche Earns Second Annual Messinger Award

October 3, 2008

To make way for the new Gleason Library, more than half of all Rush Rhees Library staff had to be relocated, yet the library hardly missed a beat.

The credit for that seamless transition, said Stanley Wilder, associate dean of River Campus Libraries, goes in large part to Sally Roche. As the libraries' facilities manager, Roche moved 59 people over 18 months, "a complicated task that required an attention to detail that was unbelievable. Ordinarily, it would have taken two or three people to coordinate what she did," explained Wilder.

In recognition of her efforts, Roche is the second recipient of the Messinger Library Recognition Award.

The key to Roche's success, says Wilder, lies in her ability to "maintain the trust of people" in the often delicate task of finding new spaces for them. "You can trust her. She does what she says, and she does it in a gracious and respectful way," he added.

Roche, who has worked at the library for 45 years, said it was "truly an honor" to be chosen. "I absolutely love working for all the staff. It's a pleasure to make them happy."

The annual Messinger Award honors contributions that advance the educational mission of the library or the library profession. The first Messinger Award was given to librarian Suzanne Bell, who manages the libraries' databases, including UR Research, the repository for papers and publications created at the University.

The honor, created and funded by senior trustee Martin E. Messinger, comes with a $5,000 award. Messinger said he modeled the award after the Goergen Teaching Awards in an effort to draw equal attention to the library's vital role at the University. "The library is unique in attracting students and faculty," emphasized Messinger, a 1949 alumnus of the College.

A longtime sponsor of the libraries, Messinger funded the 1998 restoration of the periodical reading room and the 2005 renovation of the reference and circulation desk area. Most recently, he underwrote the creation of a graduate student study room in Rush Rhees which is scheduled to open in spring.