Barbara Opar Receives 2023 Libraries Distinguished Service Award

Jan. 8, 2024, 1 p.m.

three people posing for camera
Michael Speak, Dean of School of Architecture; Barbara Opar, Librarian for Architecture and French Language and Literature; David Seaman, Dean of Syracuse University Libraries and University Librarian

Syracuse University Libraries Assembly (SULA) selection panel chose Barbara Opar '73, G'74, Librarian for Architecture and French Language and Literature, as the 2023 recipient of the Libraries’ Distinguished Service Award. The award was presented at the Libraries’ holiday and recognition event on December 20, 2023. The award is a 30+ year tradition recognizing Libraries staff who have made a significant contribution to both the Libraries and the broader Syracuse University community. A cross-departmental panel of Libraries staff judged nomination entries and selected the recipients based on outstanding service to Libraries’ users, excellence in professional skills and significant contributions to the Libraries’ community. The Distinguished Service Award, which is open to all Libraries employees, allows peer recognition based on nominations, a recommendation from the person’s supervisor and recommendations from at least two members of the University community.

Barbara Opar has been an integral part of the development of King + King Architecture Library, from dedicating the space and shaping its collections, to hiring and training excellent students, and serving daily on the front lines triaging questions from the University community. Faculty in the School of Architecture and French Language and Literature highlighted and applauded Opar for her dedication to students over the years through teaching, mentorship and commitment to helping them succeed. One person wrote in their nomination letter that “Barbara instilled within me a passion for scholarly research that continues to shape my worldview. Like an astute and persistent detective on a case, she showed me how to track down the most minute and hard-to-find items to support my objectives. She served not only as a pragmatic role model, but as a collegial ideal.”

Other contributions that colleagues found notable include Opar’s role in organizing the University’s annual French Colloquium and advocating for underserved voices in the architecture community. Beyond the University, Opar has contributed to the profession across several decades and received prestigious awards such as the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Architecture School Librarians. One letter of support noted Opar’s 50 years of service to the Libraries and the University.

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