Grace-Ellen McCrann, City College’s Innovative Librarian and Author, Dies

December 4, 2009 | Archive

It is with profound sadness that the City College of New York Libraries announce the passing of Grace-Ellen McCrann on November 30, 2009.

Grace Ellen McCrannFrom the first day that Prof. Grace-Ellen McCrann joined the library faculty at CCNY she made an impact. Her outsized personality and total dedication to user services constantly pushed us all to upgrade both physical and virtual collections and the pathways to their use.

Prof. McCrann spent her first year with us as an adjunct in the Reference Division, moving into the full-time Government Documents Librarian position in September 2001. Although she brought to the position some experience from the State Library of North Carolina, working with government documents had not been her specialty. But anyone who encountered her would never know that. She brought zeal and passion to her position, becoming a goodwill ambassador for documents, encouraging everyone to consider them a primary source for almost any subject. Prof. McCrann went to great lengths to demystify documents and make them accessible to all users, and her enthusiasm for them was contagious.

Prof. McCrann is well known in cyberspace for her resource collections series, Government Views of . . . which includes web pages on the Iraq war, SARS, the Rosenberg Spy Case and D-Day, that have been linked to by hundreds of libraries, government agencies and educational institutions.

She is also the author of numerous articles and book chapters that are heavily reliant on the use of government information, as well as its management and preservation. Prof. McCrann was most recently working on a book chapter on using online documents to help offset library budget cuts and an article on digital preservation of online documents. She recently curated the exhibit currently on view in the Cohen Library Atrium, The Cold War: Two Superpowers and their Spheres-of-Influence.

During four of her nine years at CCNY, Prof. McCrann also held the title of Reference Division Chief, holding both positions while earning her second master’s degree in information science through SUNY’s Empire State College. She earned her MLS from North Carolina Central University where she was elected to Beta Phi Mu, and her BA in communications from Seton Hall where she was a National Merit Scholar.

Prof. McCrann was an integral part of the library’s information literacy program, teaching in the freshman inquiry series as well as a wide array of political science, legal studies, international studies and public policy sessions. She particularly enjoyed teaching and took great pains to add resources targeted to class topics to her web pages on the library “Research by Subject” web site, where she developed pages for American Studies, Government Publications, International Studies, Law & Legal Studies, Political Science and Public Policy and Public Affairs.

Prior to joining the CCNY library faculty, Prof, McCrann held positions at the New Jersey Historical Society, the Librarian’s Yellow Pages, District of Columbia Public Library, the State Library of North Carolina and the New Hanover Public Library in Wilmington, NC. In her pre-librarian days, she worked in marketing for several companies, including New York’s WOR radio.

She was a member of the American Library Association in both RUSA–Reference Users Association and GODORT–National Government Documents Round Table, the Association of College and Research Libraries, various local and regional library associations, and the New York Library Club where she served as Vice President.

Memorial contributions may be made to “The Grace-Ellen McCrann Memorial Book Fund” at the City College Libraries, 160 Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031.