Dr. Claudia Gollop, PhD, a distinguished former faculty member and associate dean at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), passed away on May 3, 2022.
A native of New York City, Dr. Gollop received her BA from City College-City University of New York (CUNY) and MLS degree from Columbia University. She worked as a library and information professional in public, special, and academic libraries for nearly 15 years prior to returning to school to earn her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.
Gollop joined the SILS faculty in 1994 as an assistant professor. She became an associate professor with tenure in 2000 and served as associate dean from 2004-2007.
“Claudia was a consummate mentor to students and her colleagues. She always found a way to find good and value in every person and in their ideas. Her work experience in libraries allowed her to link information services theory and practice and inspired her students,” Gary Marchionini, Dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor at SILS, said. “She was always ready to serve her community, including as SILS Associate Dean, student organization mentor, and committee chair. She was a kind and compassionate teacher, scholar, leader, and friend and we will all miss her greatly.”
In addition to teaching courses in reference services, health information resources and services, and information issues related to diverse user groups, she served as advisor for numerous master’s papers and dissertations. While at SILS, Dr. Gollop also served as a committee member on the SILS Alumni Inclusion and Diversity (SAID) committee, which increases involvement and engagement of SILS minority alumni.
Her research centered on issues of consumer health information acquisition and dissemination, particularly among older adults. Her groundbreaking article “Health Information-Seeking Behavior and Older African American Women,” published by the Medical Library Association in 1997, has been cited more than 150 times.
After undergoing angioplasty and cardiac rehabilitation in 2007, Dr. Gollop launched a new line of inquiry into cardiac rehabilitation information referrals practices with the goal of improving the heart health of women and minorities.
Dr. Gollop received the Round Table for Ethnic and Minority Concerns (REMCo) Roadbuilders’ Award in Library Education from the North Carolina Library Association in 2009. In 2012, Dr. Gollop received the Edward G. Holley for the Good of the Order Award from SILS for her outstanding service to the school and held the Frances Carroll McColl Term Professorship at SILS.
In 2018, she was named the winner of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Award for Professional Contribution. The award is presented to ALISE members for regular and sustained service that promotes and strengthens the broad areas of library and information science education through the holding of appropriate offices and positions within the profession.
After over 25 years of service to SILS, Dr. Gollop retired in 2020. Her impact on the students, faculty and staff at SILS leaves a lasting legacy for generations of information and library science students and professionals.
“Dr. Gollop’s early work in health services for underserved individuals and communities established a foundation for SILS’ public good approach to health informatics,” Marchionini said. “She practiced inclusivity and led SILS diversity and inclusion work throughout her tenure. We are a stronger, more compassionate, and more public-service oriented school because of her.”
SILS welcomes your thoughts, memories, and condolences for Dr. Gollop. Please submit your message using the form linked at the bottom of this page and it will be posted on the SILS website shortly after it has been received. Donations in Dr. Gollop’s memory can be made to Book Harvest in Durham https://bookharvest.org/.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Gollop's passing. She was a true advocate for LIS education and supported vibrant, meaningful experiences inside and outside the classroom.
Dr. Gollop was incredibly kind and a fantastic mentor. She guided me through my master's paper process with grace and care and I will never forget her!
My condolences to the community and her family. Dr. Gollop was a wonderful teacher and kind friend as well. May her memory be a blessing.
Dr. Gollop was so helpful to me as I was learning to teach INLS501 at SILS. She was kind and friendly and I'm so sorry to hear this news.
Stephanie Willen Brown
I was honored to have Dr. Claudia Gollop serve as my PhD advisor from 2012-17. I know my PhD program could not have been as positive an experience without her as my advisor. Her smile and enthusiasm got me through the tough times! I had the honor of learning from her as a researcher as well as an educator. Many of my syllabi were developed using materials she generously shared with me. Claudia was there for some of the big moments in my life - including my dissertation defense (where she was the first person to call me DR. VARDELL), my graduation, and even my wedding. She will be missed. I am so grateful to have known her and to be a small part of continuing her legacy.
Dr. Gollop was one of the professor for one of my first classes in the MLIS program, and she really set the tone for my entire time at SILS. Dr. Gollop emphasized service and care as core characteristics of librarianship. This has stuck with me.
Condolences to Dr. Gollop's family and friends, Her career was an inspiration to us all.
It is with profound sadness I hear the passing away of Claudia. She was an extremely nice person and was always there with a smile and helpful suggestions. I have never seen her say no in giving help. She was a very good influence on our students.
Claudia, you leave this world a better place with your work and friendship.
Rest in Peace
Dr. Gollop saw the many talents every student brought to their studies and inspired them to greatness. I greatly enjoyed her humor, thought-provoking questions and motherly warmth. She was definitely one of my favorite professors at SILS and made a huge impact on my experience at UNC. Wishing her colleagues and loved ones peace and strength at this difficult time…
Jenny Simpson Parsons
Dr. Gollop made me love reference and the art of reference interviews. I dropped out of SILS for a year. When I returned to school I was in Dr. Gollop's class. She called my name out on the roster and was so excited that I had come back to school. Dr. Gollop had that natural goodness and joy that was infectious. I learned so much from her- especially to always be generous and value people.
Dr. Gollop was as kind as she was intelligent; I admired the calm professionalism she brought to my courses with her, and count them among some of best offered during my time at SILS.
My deepest condolences to Dr. Gollop's family and friends. I still remember running into her in the SILS hallways, and coming across her warm smile, as she would inquire on how I was doing and wish me the best. There was something comforting in how she inquired and wished. I will remember her smile.
Claudia Gollop was inspiring. She was instrumental in students success. She worked to diversify the profession by writing about multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion and through her recruitment and retention efforts. Dr. Gollop understood and often related to the challenges I experienced while matriculating. We bonded instantly - sharing stories about growing up in New York City. She understood and supported my research about black churches and grew a strong affinity for archives. She encouraged me, advised me and saw me through my dissertation process. At the end of my dissertation defense she gave me the nod and we walked out heads held high. I will miss her kindness and fortitude. I will miss her advice and encouragement. I will miss her brilliance and her smile. SILS was lucky to have this scholar and we are all lucky to have sat learned from her.
I served as Dr. Gollop's research assistant during the 2005-06 academic year and learned so much from that experience, not just about health informatics but about academic librarianship as a whole. My deepest condolences to her family and friends.
The world is a poorer place without Claudia. Her smile and thoughtfulness to everyone she met brightened us all, and she helped us become more than we thought we cold be. She and I would often joke that when we retired, we would start a hotdog stand out front of Manning Hall and continue to "serve students" just in a different way. I miss you deeply, my colleague, mentor, and friend.
Dr. Gollop was the best combination of warmth, empathy, insight, and intelligence. I learned about reference from her, but even more, I learned that scholarship and librarianship should inform each other - and inform how we can positively change society.
Claudia was one of my first teachers at SILS and then served as my advisor. I admired her greatly. She was warm, funny, friendly and very focused on consumer health and diversity issues. She taught me so much and was very encouraging all along my way from student to graduate to professional. Condolences to her family. She was one of a kind and I will miss her.
Claudia was very special to many students and faculty colleagues in Library and Information Sciences. She was open to discussion and helping others. I learned so much from her. And her support of graduate students and especially IMLS Scholars at NC Central University was incomparable. My deepest condolences to all family and friends. We will miss Dr. Gollop so much!
Dr. Deborah Swain
As the long-time faculty liaison to the EPA Library internship program, Dr. Gollop was a wonderful resource and inspiration to the staff and interns of the program for many years. The EPA family sends our collective heartfelt condolences to the Gollop family.
Dr. Gollop was in her first year at UNC SILS the year I started my Master's program. Her calm demeanor and her kindness to me as a 'mature' student helped me get through some of the obstacles I encountered as a student who had been in the workforce and out of school for almost 20 years. I feel lucky to have been her student and to have known her. My condolences to her family and friends.
When I came back to SILS for my second year I didn’t know if I wanted to continue on the road to being a librarian. I felt like I didn’t have a place at SILS. I was too loud and spoke without thinking. I didn’t feel focused, was depressed and anxious. I did know I needed a mentor for my master’s paper so I went to see Dr. Gollop. She sat with me for two hours and discussed how I loved research and where I could go with that in my career. She told me she could see me getting my doctorate and teaching one day. She also told me I needed someone else to be my adviser for my master’s paper, but that she would always give me advice on my career. She was right and I found the right adviser and have listened to her career advice many times over the last fifteen years.
I remember Dr. Gollop as a very nice professor that wanted to maintain a relaxed classroom atmosphere and as someone who really encouraged presentation skills.
I was one of the early CHIP program graduates as well after finishing undergrad at UNC, and Dr. Gollop is notable to me as having the last class I've ever attended at UNC. For that, I'll always associate the feelings of the completion of my education with an image of Dr. Gollop since I still remember packing up my laptop for the last time in that little board room we used for class.
Grant Harrison, BSIS '11
Dr. Gollop taught the first class of my first semester of library school in the early 2000s. INLS 111 Info Resources. It was the best introduction to SILS and librarianship. Her knowledge and professorial presence joyfully confirmed I was in the right place. I always loved seeing her over the years at conferences and the like. Her smile is missed.
I'm so saddened to hear of Claudia's passing. I have such fond memories of our wide-ranging discussions at events such as the Beta Phi Mu meetings. Sure, we talked of professional interests, but we most enjoyed hearing each other's opinions about traveling, books, or movies. We will miss her joy in all things.
After I was working in the field about a dozen years, Dr. Claudia Gollop asked me to speak with one of her classes about my patchwork of local medical librarian jobs. Preparing for her class gave me a perspective that was so validating and sharing the experience with others was rewarding to me and I hope to the class participants. I wish I had gotten to know her better. A true gem!
Susan Keesee, MSLS '04
In 1999, Claudia Gollop wrote about the continuing lack of diversity in libraries and iSchools in quietly devastating terms:
“[Change] will take more than the will and isolated nisus of LIS faculty alone. If the future workforce of the profession is to be representative of the racial and ethnic makeup of the nation, upper-tier administration must be dedicated to advancing institution-wide policies relative to multiculturalism and information access, from premise to practice... Nonetheless, the issue of diversity and the general response to it by LIS education and the profession is not new, nor has it been wholly welcome.”
Her diagnosis remains apt.
Thank you, Claudia, for your bravery, perseverance, and prescience.
Claudia Gollop. 1999. Library and Information Science Education: Preparing Librarians for a Multicultural Society. College and Research Libraries 60(4): 385-395. (Available at: DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.60.4.385
When you’re writing a dissertation, it matters who your faculty advisor is. Claudia was my doctoral advisor, and I was her first PhD student. Much of my success in getting through the program is due to Claudia’s guidance and support. Without her, the countless hours I spent in research might today bring up only memories of long hours and draining work. With Claudia’s support, they are experiences to be treasured because we connected on them. Dealing with on-campus issues and personalities might have given me a case of PTSD! But with Claudia’s support I gained strength and confidence from those experiences. Writing that dissertation might have been years of writer’s block and nervousness. But Claudia saw me through it in a timely manner. When I was preparing to give my dissertation defense, I was very nervous and had practiced my presentation. A week before I was to present, Claudia sent me guidelines for the presentation. One major thing she said was that the defense should be no longer than 20 minutes. Twenty minutes! I’d prepared an hour-long presentation. Yet, for some reason that made me relax and not worry so much. It’s amazing how much better the presentation was after I cut out all that fluff. Twenty minutes was all I needed, and Claudia knew that. It’s hard to believe that this was her first time guiding someone through the dissertation process. Through the years, I always felt comfortable calling on her because she would always listen. There are so many things to remember about Claudia—her smile, steadfast support, beauty, intelligence, wisdom, and gentleness are just a few. I will miss her dearly.
Debra J. Slone
Dr. Gollop taught me when I was a student early in her career at SILS. I still recall talking to her in the hallway and how kind and approachable she was. In my professional career, I was fortunate to serve on search committees with her and to see her every year at the EPA-RTP Library Open House when she was the liaison. She has always been such a supporter and advocate for her students and colleagues and the entire information field. I will miss her very much, and am happy to have the memory of her to remain in my life.
I am so sorry to hear about her passing. She was the loveliest teacher I had at UNC. She was so sweet, understanding and compassionate. She guided me through all my studies at UNC. I will always remember Ms. Gollop. She was a great person and teacher. Rest in peace.
Dr. Gollop was a kind, warm-hearted soul and a great advocate for libraries and reading. I am grateful to have gotten to know her.
It goes without saying, but this was incredibly sad news to read. I had the opportunity to take a class by Dr. Gollop that ended up inspiring my master's paper (which she served as the advisor for). At the time, I had no idea how her passion for supporting diversity in libraries and educating others about the issue would impact my career; to this day, I still think about these discussions and use them to inform my work. Her kindness and compassion towards students is one of the many things we all appreciated about her. I feel incredibly lucky to have been in her presence during my time at SILS. She will forever be a true LIS heroine.
I'm sorry to hear about Dr. Gollop's passing. She taught reference my first year as a student, which was also her first year as a professor at SILS. Dr. Gollop was warm and professional, and I learned so much from her. She was also supportive of me as a student who'd been out of school for a number of years. Dr. Gollop will be missed.
Dr. Gollop always smiled. She made us (the students) feel welcome. She was soft spoken and kind. I will forever remember her this way.
Shauna Stephenson Wiest
Dr. Gollop was my doctoral advisor. She was the first professor I met and talked with after arriving at SILS as an international student. She was so kind and supportive and helped ease a lot of my anxieties. Whenever I think of her, my mind is always filled with warm and sweet memories. I'm extremely saddened by her passing.
Rest in peace, Dr. Gollop. You will be missed!
Dr. Gollop was a quiet powerhouse in medical librarianship and strength as a mentor and advisor. Her firm guidance and consistent support was and is the epitome of excellence in academic research. Her work with women and heart health inspired me to pursue similar topics as one of her last MS students. I deeply hope and will work to make the impacts she did.
When I initially arrived at UNC, I felt like a fish out of water. I then had the opportunity to enroll in two classes taught by Dr. Gollop and our relationship developed from mentor, to colleague to dear friend. Claudia exemplified the true meaning of the word 'educator.' She served as my dissertation advisor and helped me to make the decision to transition from UNC to NIH/NLM and ultimately to my current path in academia. She spent many hours supporting and advocating for SILS students. Her smile was always warm and welcoming and I will miss our brunch times and topics at Carolina Inn with Dr. Teresa Church. Claudia, I will miss your laughter, your kindness and your authenticity. Rest in peace my friend.
Lori E. Harris
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