In Memory of Dr. Deborah Barreau

Dr. Deborah Barreau

On February 10, 2012, the School of Information and Library Science lost Dr. Deborah Barreau, a dear friend, colleague and beautiful spirit. 

"Over the past 25 years it was my good fortune to know, work with, and learn from Deborah Barreau," said Gary Marchionini, SILS dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor.  "I have never met anyone as selfless and devoted to others, especially to students.  Deborah thought clearly and consistently about personal information in a way that puts people before systems.  She put our School above her own ambitions and did many things to make us civil, effective and collaborative.  She did this through her wisdom, warm smile and willingness to go the extra step to give us all her time, advice and a sympathetic ear.  Deborah had a quote on her door that exemplified her beliefs and her life practice: “Everyone is indispensable.”  She believed this and lived her life accordingly. Her spirit and inspiration is truly indispensable and although we will miss her terribly, we are all better for having known her." 

Dr. Barreau, Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor, was a masterful teacher, winning the school’s Award for Teaching Excellence in both 2004 and 2008, and the Outstanding Information Science Teacher international award from the American and Society for Information Science & Technology in 2002. She was highly respected and regarded by her colleagues and students, known for her dedication, commitment and kindness; exceptional mentoring skills - offering time and advice at all hours; and for creating a classroom environment that encouraged creativity and understanding.

She was an internationally known scholar in the areas of information systems, organizational behavior, organizational communication and personal information systems. A prolific researcher and writer, Dr. Barreau was principal investigator and collaborator on many research projects. She authored books, numerous journal articles and papers, technical reports and book reviews on information systems, organizational behavior, organizational communication and personal information systems and regularly presented at national conferences and symposia. She served as a leader in professional associations including Director at Large for ASIS&T, the Association for Computing Management, Association for Library and Information Science Education and the Special Libraries Association. She had most recently joined the editorial board of the new digital publication, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. In addition, Dr. Barreau served on the UNC at Chapel Hill Faculty Council, Advisory Committee for Health Sciences Library Collaboratory, and a myriad of committees and boards—always offering her time, expertise and thoughtful opinions.

She earned her Ph.D. in library and information services from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Master of Science in Library Science, a Master’s in Teaching and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UNC at Chapel Hill. She was inducted into the international honorary society, Beta Phi Mu and received the Dean’s Achievement Award for Best Master’s Paper in 1987.

Deb BarreauPrior to joining SILS, Dr. Barreau was assistant professor at the School of Library and Information Science, Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; senior project manager and systems analyst at Aspen Systems Corporation in Rockville, MD; Systems Librarian at Manderino Library, California University in Pennsylvania; a graduate assistant at the UNC at Chapel Hill Health Sciences Library and computer services manager at the UNC at Chapel Hill SILS. She taught 10th and 11th grades for ten years at the Orange Senior High School in Hillsborough, N.C. where she also served as department chair.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Barreau’s family. In addition to her family and many friends, she leaves behind her best friend and companion, her Airedale Joy. 

Visitation was held at Hudson Funeral Home in Durham, on Sunday, February 12, 2012.

A special memorial tribute to Dr. Barreau’s life will be held on Friday, April 27, 2012 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center Ballroom on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. We hope you will join us as we honor Deborah and celebrate her life. 

Because of her dedication and outstanding ability as a teacher, the School has renamed the "SILS Award for Teaching Excellence" to the "Deborah Barreau Award for Teaching Excellence." The award is presented annually during the spring commencement ceremony to teachers (one full-time faculty and one adjunct faculty member) demonstrating the highest level of teaching excellence, commitment, innovation in teaching and effectiveness.

Several people have asked how they can make a donation to the teaching fund. Contributions may be made to the "Deborah Barreau Award for Teaching Excellence" fund (2954) online at or by sending your donation to the School (checks payable to UNC SILS with a note directing the donation to fund 2954).

* To remember Deborah in photos, please click here. 


We would be grateful for your thoughts and condolences as we remember and mourn the loss of Deborah Barreau, a beautiful, gentle spirit whose intelligence, compassion and kindnesses were felt by everyone she encountered. Your remembrance messages will be posted here as they are received.

Remembrance from: Susan Rathbun-Grubb
Message: I will miss Deb terribly, my dear friend and mentor. What an inspiration she has been to us.

Remembrance from: Emily Hurst - Class of 2008
Message: I am very sad to hear about the passing for Dr. Barreau. She was a great mentor & an inspiration. I remember how her door was always open and how wonderful it was to work with her or just to talk with her. She will be greatly missed.

Remembrance from: Denise Agosto
Message: Dear Deb: You were always kind, intelligence, graceful, and gentle.  I feel lucky to have known you.
With lasting affection,

Remembrance from: Jacqueline Olich
Message: Deborah Barreau was a tremendous asset to the broader UNC community and will be missed.

Remembrance from: Uma Murthy
Message: I had a chance to interact with Dr. Barreau and found her to be approachable, warm, and very helpful besides being an accomplished researcher. We attended PIM 2006 together. It was one of my first conference/workshop talks and I was a little nervous. Dr. Barreau put me at ease with her cheerful and calming nature. Later, I emailed her with a question about my dissertation work. She promptly responded in detail and helped connect my computer science research to concepts in information science. I feel fortunate to have known her and will miss her.  - Virginia Tech CS, Class of 2011 

Remembrance from: Stephanie Peterson - former SILS staff member
Message: I am deeply saddened to hear of Deb's passing.  Working with Deb was always a pleasure, and I enjoyed any interaction with her (and Joy, too!).  The world has lost a wonderful, caring, and truly beautiful person.

Remembrance from: J. Scott Brownlee
Message: I am surprised and deeply saddened to hear the news of Dr. Barreau's passing.  She was such a kind, intelligent, giving person.  Even while battling illness, she still found the time to be my Master's paper advisor, as well as an advisor and mentor to countless other students at SILS.  I don't think I've ever encountered anyone in academia who was as self-less, caring, and down-to-earth as her.  And I seriously doubt that I ever will.

Remembrance from: Renee McBride
Message: I am so fortunate that my partner is a PhD SILS student who worked with Deb, so that I had a chance to know Deb. She was a person who gave you faith in humanity, one of the kindest persons I've known.

Remembrance from: Rachael Clemens
Message: A beautiful soul - we miss you already

Remembrance from: John Walker - SILS 2006
Message: As a professor and adviser, Dr. Barreau was just awesome.  As a human being, she was the rare combination of beauty, grace and smarts.  She was a joy to learn from, to work with and to be around.  I feel privileged and lucky to have known her.  What a tremendous loss for our community -- but how cool is it that we got to know her and spend time with her!

Remembrance from: Terrance Hairston
Message: Hearing this news is deeply disheartening. Serving as my advisor, Dr. Barreau was an important facilitator in obtaining my BSIS degree from SILS. She always made time and was open to assist when needed but was never intrusive. Dr. Barreau was a wonderful woman to have known.

Remembrance from: Valerie Gillispie, SILS 2005
Message: I am so sorry to hear this news. Dr. Barreau was my master's paper advisor and a wonderful teacher. She will be truly missed.

Remembrance from: Alex Foley, BSIS '11
Message: Dr. Barreau was a significant influence on my studies at Carolina and I remember her advice to this day. I will remember her for some time -- a true educator that made me proud to be her student. I await details of arrangements and thank you in advance for posting them to the SILS site. If there are any other memorial plans please let us know.Kindest regards and condolences to the SILS community.

Remembrance from: Laura Marcial
Message: Sorely missed... Deb was a first class role model in ILS. 

Remembrance from: Ketan Palshikar - SILS '08
Message: Dr. Barreau had a kind and approachable personality. Classes with her were not only insightful but also extremely enjoyable. I am truly saddened by her passing and her memories will always remain with me.

Remembrance from: Brian Sturm
Message: To me, Deborah was like the best children’s poetry: filled with wonder, overflowing with imagination and magic, and pulsing with irrepressible and contagious glee.  We will all miss her presence, but, like poetry, Deborah will long be revered and remembered.

Remembrance from: Leslie S. Cornell
Message: A very lovely spirit joining the angels!  She was so interested in everyone and went out of her way to speak to each staff person as she came through Administration.  I know Joy is very sad, too.

Remembrance from: Ericka Patillo
Message: Not only indispensable, irreplaceable. As her advisee, I miss her compassionate yet no-nonsense approach, and I will treasure the advice and support she gave me.

Remembrance from: Amanda Leger
Message: Dr. Barreau was always so kind and welcoming.  She made a lasting impression on me when I was her student and I am forever grateful for the things she taught me. She was an amazing individual and will be missed.

Remembrance from: Renee Young - SILS 2009
Message: Dr. Barreau will be deeply missed.  She was a wonderful, caring person, instructor and leader in our field.  A sad day for SILS and UNC.

Remembrance from: Lauren Kage, SILS 2011
Message: Deborah Barreau was an exceptional teacher.  I remember the class I had with her very fondly, but especially her enthusiasm for after-class discussion and the personal interest she took in students' progress.  She was a warm and approachable person as well as a great researcher, and her absence is deeply felt.
Remembrance from: Mega Subramaniam
Message: I have been fortunate to associate with Deb in many instances through professional organization activities. She was an amazing mentor, teacher and a friend. I will truly miss her association, and mostly her smile!

Remembrance from: Marisa Ramirez - SILS 2005
Message: Dr. Barreau was a mentor, role-model and friend. She will be dearly missed.

Remembrance from: Monica McCormick
Message: What very sad news. Dr. Barreau was a dedicated and effective teacher, and her personal warmth was a great addition to SILS. Condolences to all those who worked closely with her--her passing will be a great loss.

Remembrance from: Jung Sun Oh
Message: I am deeply sorry and saddened to hear Deborah's passing. I still remember the beautiful smile on her face and the caring gesture she showed me when I first met her years ago, as a new and timid doctoral student. She made me feel truly welcome, and it meant a lot to me. I know she will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her. I am certainly one of them.

Remembrance from: Lisa Gregory
Message: She was my first memory of SILS - and I am so glad for that. I treasure her words of encouragement and her generous spirit. My thoughts are with her family and friends.

Remembrance from: Kelsey Bartiss, SILS 2013
Message: I was lucky enough to have Dr. Barreau for her last class. She was an amazing professor and it was such a joy to have her for a class. You will be missed, Dr. Barreau!

Remembrance from: Barbara Moran
Message: Deb was a wonderful friend and colleague. Her loving spirit and generosity will be remembered always. We will miss her very much.

Remembrance from: Si Eun Kim
Message: I am so sad. I was one of her students in her last class. Dr. Barreau is not here with us anymore, but she will be remembered in our heart. I will not forget her tender smile.
Remembrance from: Elizabeth Aversa
Message: I had the pleasure of hiring Deb at The Catholic University of America where we became good friends and colleagues.  She was among the greatest teachers I've ever known - caring, respectful, knowledgeable, and fun.  I tried awfully hard to steal her from her beloved UNC, but she was loyal to UNC and SILS.  I can't imagine how folks in Chapel Hill must feel, but it is a sad day for all of us in LIS because we have lost one of our dearest colleagues and friends.

Remembrance from: Skip Auld SILS 1979
I didn't really know Dr. Barreau but took a look at her 2007 interview - & know that she'll be missed dearly. I love her quote "Everyone is indispensable."
Remembrance from: Tammy Ivins, SILS 2011
Message: Deborah Barreau went out of her way to help and encourage every student. Her honest feedback and counsel was invaluable in helping her students succeed in her classes, in the SILS program, and in their careers afterwards.
Remembrance from: Kristina Spurgin
Message: Deb will be so missed. She brought so much heart to her work and interactions with all. She was such a deeply caring and greatly supportive professor and mentor.
Remembrance from: Mike Nutt, MSIS 2011
Message: The two classes I took with Dr. Barreau were not only two of the best from my time at SILS, but two of the best in my entire academic career. She was a natural in the classroom, empowering us to think critically and participate vocally, but always able to illuminate the unconsidered perspective. I will forever be a beneficiary of her kindness and knowledge. Thank you, Dr. Barreau.
Remembrance from: David Singleton
Message: Debbie was an inspiration for me for over 25 years, beginning as one of my first teachers in library school. She was truly passionate about teaching and about connecting to students. She motivated me and many other others to work extremely hard but also to find joy in our work. Debbie had an inner joy about her work, and she shared that joy with a generation of students and colleagues. She will be missed, but her legacy will endure in everyone who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her.
Remembrance from: Julia Khanova
Message: A beautiful person, Deb will live forever in the hearts of those whose lives she touched.
Remembrance from: Manas Tungare
Message: Dr. Barreau’s kindness and warmth are the qualities about her that I remember the most. In addition to being a pioneering researcher, these human qualities set her apart. The world has lost a truly exceptional person. I wish it weren’t this way.

Remembrance from: Chirag Shah - PhD, SILS 2010
Message: I'm so sad to hear about Deb's passing. She was a great teacher, a mentor, and above all, a friend. She was one of the first and few teachers who introduced me to the field of LIS. I remember how I used to share with her my stories about libraries from around the world. I used to send her pictures of various libraries I visit wherever I go. She loved it! I'll miss you a lot, Deb, but you'll always be with us - reminding us of the joy of learning and teaching.
Remembrance from: Bruce Rosenstein
Message: I was shocked and saddened to hear the news about Deborah. She and I were former colleagues at the Catholic University of America. I hadn't seen her in years when she recognized and called out to me in a corridor of the Washington Convention Center during the first day of (I can't recall  which one), SLA 2009 or ALA 2010. We had a brief, pleasant conversation, and I was touched by how much she remembered about me, and even knew about what I was doing at the time. Reading the tributes from her students shows what an inspirational person and teacher she was, and that her spirit will live on.

Remembrance from: Mara Thacker, SILS 2010
Message: Dr. Barreau was a wonderful teacher-- kind, engaging and able to make even the most esoteric topics interesting and exciting. She will be missed.
Remembrance from: Bin Zhang
Message: INLS 500 was my first course in United States, I'm so thankful that I could meet Dr. Deborah. She is so great for giving me courage and suggestion in pursuing the Information Science in SILS. In addition, she did a really good job with excellence in her field. Thank you, Debbie, you will be dearly missed by all of us.

Remembrance from: Michelle Langston, MSIS 2011
Message: I'm very saddened and shocked to hear this news. Dr. Barreau was my adviser and was one of the very first professors I had during my time at SILS. Her smiling face and inclusive teaching style always stuck with me, long after I had finished her class. Whenever I ran into her in the halls, she always greeted me with a smile. She was always so encouraging and so friendly. I am so glad to have had the privilege to have known her and to have been one of her students.

Remembrance from: Heidi Julien
Message: The faculty and staff at SLIS, The University of Alabama, offer our sincere condolences to the UNC community on this sad occasion. Dr. Barreau leaves a significant legacy of humanity and contribution to our field. She will be missed.
Remembrance from: Wanda Monroe 
Message: Deb Barreau was one of those people you aspire to be - gracious, kind, enthusiastic, intelligent and an incredible teacher and researcher. I worked closely with her as she advised and helped with advancing the undergraduate program, always there to offer her guidance and support. She was also there for me personally as I struggled through a rough period. I'm honored to have known her and treasure our moments together. May God's angels surround you Dr. Deborah Barreau.
Remembrance from: Fan Fu, MSIS 2011
Message: Deborah Barreau was a kind and nice professor I met after I came to United States. She taught me a course last semester that I learned a lot. I am very glad to be a student of her. Thank you, Dr. Barreau.
Remembrance from: Kiley Orchard
Message: What a wonderful, warm, and welcoming woman!  I'm honored to have had her as a student and Master's Paper advisor.  She will truly be missed.
Remembrance from: Tiffany Veinot
Message: My deepest condolences to Deborah's family and colleagues. I only met her a few times, but I was always struck by her engagement with the field of LIS, and by her caring attitude towards young scholars in the field. I have no doubt that she will be missed terribly.
Remembrance from: Lorri Mon
Message: Deborah Barreau will be missed - a warm, kind, and wonderful person and colleague.  Wishing heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and the UNC community.
Remembrance from: Heather Bowden
Message: Deb is one of the reasons I came to SILS. Her kindness and enthusiasm not only inspired me to join the program, but fueled me forward when I was faced with challenges. I know that I and the entire SILS community will miss her dearly.
Remembrance from: Sumayya Ahmed
Message: Deb had the ability to guide, comfort and inspire. She was one of the first people to make me feel truly welcome at SILS.  We are from God and unto God we return.
Remembrance from: Javed Mostafa
Message: Deb, I will fondly remember our discussions held in your office and sometimes around a lunch table … on personal information management and many other less serious topics … Dear colleague we will miss you.
Remembrance from: Jewel Ward, MSIS 2002
Message: I'm so sorry to hear that Deborah has passed away. She has been a wonderful faculty member and member of my doctoral committee; a brilliant researcher, and very kind, very warm, and always approachable. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends for their loss.
Remembrance from: Sayan MSIS 2006
Message: I deeply saddened to know about her passing away. She was an amazing warm genuine person and a great teacher. I vividly  remember the last time I met her at the Pittsburgh ASIST conference- she was so happy to see former students like me. You will be missed Dr. Barreau... I was an honor to be your student.
Remembrance from: Martin Borbone, MSIS '09
Message: Dr. Barreau's generosity of spirit, advice, and infinite support guided me throughout my graduate studies at SILS. She was, and remains, an inspirational mentor, teacher, and friend to so many students, loved by all who met her. I remember the day she told us of her promotion to associate professor. We were all so excited at her news and she in turn was more than touched by our out pourings of happiness.  Deborah Barreau was a unique educator, utterly irreplaceable, and will be sadly missed.
Remembrance from: James King, CUA SLIS 2002
Message: I'm glad to have learned and been inspired under Dr. Barreau's teaching. My current career as Information Architect has been guided by her example.  I will miss her and am praying for her family.
Remembrance from: Xi Niu
Message: Deborah was a great teacher and a beautiful lady. I will miss her forever!
Remembrance from: Peiling Wang
Message: Deborah and I were fellow doctoral students at CLIS UMCP in early 1990s; Deborah also met my father in 1994.  We have shared room frequently at conferences. Just a day or two ago, I realized that we had not seen each other for a while. I meant to drop you a line or two to catch up in FaceBook which I only use occasionally. This morning when the ASIST-L message came with the subject "Deborah Barreau," I had the sinking heart feeling. Gary's message portraits a vivid image of you. I miss you dearly and feel really fortunate to have known you.
Remembrance from: Earl Bailey
Message: Deb and I had many great conversations over the years I have attended UNC, but the one I remember most is the last one. We shared our experiences with cancer and how being sick completely changes your perspective on life and what is important. It grieves me greatly to know that she is gone. She was a mentor, a friend, and a wonderful person.
Remembrance from: Jenna Hartel
Message: Deb was a huge inspiration in my academic life and I am very, very saddened by this news. Though I was never her student, colleague, or collaborator she gave me advice and encouragement since our first meeting at an ALISE interview 5 years ago. Few people have Deb's combination of generosity, magnanimity, and warmth--not to mention her talent as a researcher and teacher. She will be sorely missed, but her spirit will live on in all of us who try daily to be more like Deb.
Remembrance from: Megan Thompson - SILS 2010
Message: Dr. Barreau was my first introduction to SILS when I was still an undergrad. I'll never forget my surprise my first day of graduate school at SILS. I saw Dr. Barreau in the lobby of Manning, she remembered me! She gave me that warm smile of hers and said she was glad I came to SILS, and right then all of my nervousness went away. Dr. Barreau was one of those people with the ability to brighten a day in an instant! She always had a smile and a kind word ready for everyone she encountered. My prayers are with her and her family.
Remembrance from: Terrell Russell
Message: Deb was a great friend, mentor, teacher, and advisor to me. She has been a part of my family's life for over 40 years.  We already miss her tremendously.  A beautiful person and a beautiful legacy.
Remembrance from: James McGlothlin
Message: This news makes me really sad. Dr. Barreau was an extraordinary teacher and, more important, a genuinely kind person.
Remembrance from: Katy Vance
Message: Like everyone on this page and at SILS, I am sad to hear that Dr. 
Barreau has passed.  I appreciated that even though my studies took another path after my only class with her, Dr. Barreau always had a kind word and a moment for me when we would meet in the halls.  I hope her family finds peace in celebrating a life well lived.
Remembrance from: Pat Sanes, Orange High School, Class of 1980
Message: I was one of the fortunate ones that was taught in High School by "Ms." Barreau.  Over the last 30 years, I had no idea she had accomplished all that she did.  What an incredible lady.  She was an awesome teacher and always encouraged her students to try.  Her smile was infectious.  My prayers are with her family and close friends.
Remembrance from: Eva Méndez
Message: I was fortunate to meet Deborah Barreau when I was in Chapel Hill in 2005-06. Always working in her office, always having a smile to me, always having important insights and adorable words both in a very professional way and also as a friend. She told me the expression in English "you made my day", and she made many of my days at SILS. We will remember you always Debby.
Remembrance from: Maggie Keller - Class if 2007
Message: Dr. Barreau was my thesis advisor, and I was always grateful to her for pushing me, and not letting me be a lesser version of myself. I also had the pleasure of having her as the faculty advisor on the Oxford trip in 2006, where she was lovely, amazing and fun. She will definitely be missed.
Remembrance from: Carrie Dundas-Lucca
Message: Deb was a wonderful human being who gave everything to her work, students, and friends -- of the human and canine variety alike.  She will continue to be an inspiration to all of us in the SILS community who were lucky enough to know her.
Remembrance from: Manuel A. Perez-Quinones
Message: Deborah was a caring and wonderful person. I met her through professional collaborations but quickly could tell she was a deeply caring individual. I am truly sad for her loss but honored to have interacted with her. My thoughts go out to her family and close friends.
Remembrance from: Ron Bergquist
Message: There are good and nice and decent people in this world, then there was Deb, who was the very definition of the best expression of these qualities. Our lives are immeasurably improved by having been able to be in her presence, though for too short a time.
Remembrance from: Elizabeth Cribbs
Message: Deb was such a wonderful, gracious person. She was a wonderful teacher and mentor, but what I'll remember most is her graciousness and kindness. I'll miss her so much.
Remembrance from: Kathleen Pierce, SILS 2005
Message: Dr. Barreau had a huge impact on my time at SILS, and I know many of my classmates would agree.  She was the kind of person we all aspire to be, though she'd be the first to disagree.  We will all miss her greatly.
Remembrance from: Diane Barlow
Message: Deborah's death came far too soon, taking from us a friend and colleague who cannot be replaced in our lives.  From the time I first met her as a doctoral student at Maryland and through all the years since, Deborah was a joy and inspiration to know.  My deepest sympathies to her family; the Chapel Hill faculty, staff, and students; and to all of us who knew and loved Deborah.
Remembrance from: Travis Mason
Message: I still cannot believe Dr. Barreau is no longer with us. She was one of my favorite SILS professors. I still remember how she would scold me in her motherly way for nodding off at times during class discussion. She was one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She taught me far more about life than I thought possible in a classroom setting.
Remembrance from: Wan-Ching Wu
Message: Deb's kindness has become strength in us. She will remain in our hearts as a gentle yet persistent force.
Remembrance from: Cathy Agresto -  SILS 1982
Message: I had the privilege of working with Deb at Aspen Systems during the 80's.  We shared projects, travelled together, and enjoyed a wonderful friendship.  Once, when staying at her home, I lost a piece of jewelry down the drain.  Within a few minutes she had the plumbing dismantled and the ring retrieved.  Boy, was I impressed.  Deb was a dear friend, a wonderful teacher, and a pretty good plumber. She will be greatly missed.
Remembrance from: Betsy Dorner
Message: Dr. Barreau was one of the best teachers I had at SILS.  She was one of the most encouraging people I ever met and gave me confidence in myself . . . I will miss her so much!
Remembrance from: Amber Cushing
Message: Deb was a wonderful advisor and I will miss her terribly.  In the past few years, she worked with me in a way that has allowed me to reach my full potential in information science research, teaching and service.  She tirelessly worked with me to revise my work, discuss future career paths and support my desire to pursue an academic career while maintaining a balanced life. Throughout her diagnosis until the end, she kept advising me.  I last visited her on January 25th, during which she told me that I was always welcome to come see her at any time, to talk to her about anything, whatever her state.  Her dedication to her students is inspirational.
Remembrance from: Taron Mattocks
Message: Thank you for making me feel indispensable.  Thank you for making me feel that I could come back and accomplish a lifelong goal. Thank you for being there to talk whether about classes, personal problems, or a simple hello passing through the halls.  Finally, thank you for the laugh on stage when I got my degree.  I told you that I would be there but I was wrong.  WE did it together and for that I will forever remember you. Love, Taron
Remembrance from: Jordon Steele, SILS 2005
Message: I am very sorry to learn of this. Dr. Barreau was a great teacher and scholar, but also just a really nice person. She saw me waiting for the bus one time and offered to give me a ride to school.  A small moment but indicative of what a good person she was.
Remembrance from: Erin White
Message: Dr. Barreau was a kind, thoughtful mentor, advisor and friend. Any time I dropped by her office, she always stopped and made time for me, despite her many obligations. She was a shining role model for many SILS students, both personally and professionally, and I hope that all of us will help her spirit live on. My condolences to family and friends of this wonderful person.
Remembrance from: Joanne Marshall
Message: Deb was a great teacher, friend and supporter to all she came in contact with at SILS. She always had kind words and a warm and reassuring smile for each of us. SILS was and is a better place for Deb's presence. We wish her peace and send her love.
Remembrance from: Hsin-liang (Oliver) Chen
Message: I was so happy to see Deborah at last year's ASIST annual meeting in New Orleans.  I will miss her smiley face, kind and supportive personality.
Remembrance from: Sanghee Oh
Message: I deeply saddened to hear of Deb's passing. Deb was a nice, thoughtful adviser and mentor. I remember her at ASIST last year, with warm and beautiful smile on her face although she was battling with her cancer at that time. We talked briefly to catch up, but I didn't know it will be the last conversation with her. I regret that I missed to say to her how I was grateful to have her while I was in the program, and how she was inspirational to me as a great role model of researcher, teacher, and mentor.  I will miss her forever.
Remembrance from: Julie Waresh
Message: I had a class with Dr. Barreau my first semester at SILS. Returning to school after 20-plus years in the workplace, I felt somewhat out of place. She made me feel welcome, and her kindness and encouragement set the tone for my time here at SILS. She had a way of making everyone feel valued. Thank you, Dr. Barreau, I'll remember you always.
Remembrance from: Shaundria Williams
Message: I will always remember your kind smile and warm words.  I will miss you and I pray that your family finds comfort and peace in your memories and in the well wishes of friends.
Remembrance from: Kathy Brennan
Message: I knew Deb only briefly, when she was my professor for the Fall doctoral seminar.  I really appreciated her candor, wisdom, and humor.  From the first day of class I knew she was someone I could always trust. This page is such an incredible tribute to Deb, where everyone can see how much she inspired and encouraged so many people.
Remembrance from: Alani Nichols
Message: I will miss Dr. Barreau so much. Her door was always open to her students and I always felt welcome whenever I stopped by her office. She was a wonderful teacher and scholar and a caring person. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who are experiencing this loss.
Remembrance from: Dawn Towery, SILS 2003
Message: What a nice, nice person Dr. Barreau was, and what a loss her passing is for us all. I will never forget her.
Remembrance from: Jerry Waller, SILS 2006
Message: I'll remember Deb for the rest of my life as intelligent, humorous and compassionate. Some of us have more of the latter than others, and she was steeped in the milk of human kindness.

Remembrance from: Lili Luo
Message: Dr. Barreau served on my PhD dissertation committee and helped me generously in my dissertation process. She was always encouraging. Her sweet smile was very comforting and uplifting. Since my graduation we met at ALISE every year, except this one. I could hardly believe when I heard about her illness and was so dismayed and saddened to learn about her passing. I will miss her so much!

Remembrance from: Frances McVay, SILS 2011
Message: Dr. Barreau was such a sweet and supportive mentor for me while I was a student at SILS. I am so sorry that more people will not get the pleasure of having her in their lives. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, especially her beloved Joy. I know that they and her many friends, including myself, will miss her very much.
Remembrance from: Isaac Meadows
Message: Dr. Barreau it was always a pleasure to run into you around Manning. 
I only wish that it had happened more often. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.
Remembrance from: Matt Stephenson, BSIS '09
Message: Dr Barreau took a huge leap of faith on me when I struggled through undergrad, I couldn't have asked for a better teacher and advocate when I needed one.

Remembrance from: Stephanie Lee
Message:  It was definitely glory to be her student and to take her last class in last semester. She was the warmest advisor in my life ever. I will not forget your cordial comments on me forever. Please rest in peace, Dr.Barreau. I miss you a lot already.
Remembrance from: Telemak Kamparosyan
I am very sorry to hear about this. Deborah was a mentor during my time at SILS. She will be missed and in my prayers.
Remembrance from: Max Felsher, MSIS 2011
Message: Deborah was my adviser. She was always a supportive voice, even (especially) when I was unsure of myself. I'm deeply saddened to think I'll never hear from her again and that future students will not have the chance to experience her mentorship and instruction. My condolences to all her family and loved ones.
Remembrance from: Johanna Russ - SILS c/o '08
Message: This is shocking and saddening news. She was my favorite teacher at SILS.
Remembrance from: Suzie Allard, Ph.D. 
Message: I am overcome with sadness at this news. Many of you have been with SIG-DL from the beginning and are aware that Deborah shared her tireless energy with us to help build the SIG. Her positive attitude attracted new members and her disciplinary expertise facilitated the building of strong programs. With her careful nurturing, our SIG achieved award winning status. 
Deborah was an incredible colleague and a beautiful person. Her legacy will live on in the information and library world and her contributions to SIG-DL are a part of that legacy. We miss you Deborah, but we will never forget you. With highest regards. Suzie
Remembrance from: Leslie Thomson
Message: Deb was the external examiner for my Masters thesis two and a half years ago. I had met her just a few months before at a PIM workshop in Vancouver, where she was an enormous source of kindness, support, and wisdom. Her insights into my research and my thesis were so valuable that they've impacted and enriched all of my work and thinking about the topic since. I didn't see Deb in person again after our initial meeting until this past October, yet she still approached me, remembering all the details of that first workshop, telling about the other attendees I met there, and asking about my thesis and future directions. Her thoughtfulness, generosity, warmth, and her incredible knowledge will be truly missed.
Remembrance from: Cheryl Thompson
Message: I was saddened to hear about losing Deb. Deb was an amazing teacher! My thoughts go out to her family and friends.
Remembrance from: Patrick Cullom CUA SLIS 2003
Message: Dr. Barreau was my advisor at CUA and strongly encouraged me to pursue a career in Archives; for that I will always be grateful to her.  When she left CUA, I told her I would follow her lead and see her back in North Carolina (my home state) someday soon.  Little did I know a short four years later I would get to meet her again as I started working in the photographic collections in Wilson Special Collections Library. Her support and advice to me when I was a first year library student helped me make the choices that made me the Archivist I am today; I couldn't say thank you enough.  My thoughts are with her family. She will be missed.
Remembrance from: Emily Jack
Message: I join the long, long list of people who are heartbroken by the loss of Deb Barreau.  Reading through these messages confirms for me what I've always suspected: That Deb made every person she encountered feel like the most important person.  How she was able to support, mentor, and genuinely care for so many people while at the same time continuing her own brilliant pursuit of knowledge remains a mystery.  Suffice it to say that there will never be anyone else like her.  She had a true, deep joie de vivre and we'll all miss her tremendously.
Remembrance from: Jackie Rich 
Thanks so much for the In Memory of Deb.  It means so much to me.  It makes me realize that her life really made a difference.  When I hurt the most I bring it up and read the good things people said about her.  I made a copy because I know this won't stay on the web too long and I will always have it to read.
I pray Debbie was happy. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the last three months of her life with her and she always perked up when someone from the university came to visit.  She was never too tired to see any one that came.  The last person she saw to be able to speak to was Claudia.
Remembrance from: Lisa Simmons
Message: Though I only had the opportunity to study briefly with Dr. Barreau last semester before she needed to take time off, it was apparent from my first interaction that she possessed a wonderful blend of virtues.  On one hand, she was kind, sympathetic, generous and decent, coupled with mental agility and a dedication to challenging us students in our thinking.  I am fortunate to have shared that time with her. 
Remembrance from: Mary Lamary
Message: I met Deb many many years ago - over our greatest love - our dogs, Duke and Portia.  She was the sweetest, kindest dearest person I have ever known.  I remember many conversations we shared as she worked towards being able to have another after Portia passed on.  When she finally did so, she named her "Joy" because that puppy brought so much back into her life.  Little did she know, Deb brought that kind of joy to the lives of everyone she touched - simply the best "good person" any of us will ever know.  A great loss!

Remembrance from: William Jones
Message: Deborah was a caring, kind and gracious person.  In an academic world where so much of our focus is (necessarily) on our “own” work, Deborah always seemed to show a selfless interest in and concern for others – her students to be sure, but other people in general. At the same time, I saw a quiet, steady strength in Deborah that came through loud and clear in her work. Her work on “finding & reminding”, for example, is still some of the most widely cited in the field of PIM research. I shall miss Deborah greatly. She is irreplaceable.

Remembrance from: Michael E. Brown, MSIS 2011
Message: Dr. Barreau agreed to be my advisor when I started my degree in 2007 and, as many others here have said, was always generous with her time, her knowledge, an always welcoming smile, and always sensible advice. I remember bringing to one of our advising sessions a stack of my favorite books and we both hefted them up and thumbed through them, cooed over them, and talked about the books that made an impression on us. They say that people may not remember what you say or do, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Seeing all these tributes to Dr. Barreau underlines the deep affection she commanded among the people whose lives she touched, and how she made them feel.

Remembrance from: Sarah Snow
Message: Deborah will be missed, but more importantly she will be remembered as a loving lady who touched each person she interacted with.  Each one of us felt special in her presence and that is a wonderful legacy.
Remembrance from: Bin Li
Message: It was such a shock hearing the news.  I had tears in my eyes while reading this page.  I got to know Deborah in my last year at SILS, and consequent conferences.  She was a great mentor and friend.  She gave me the best advice before I taught my first graduate class.  She was there for me during my defense and job searching.  I will always remember her passion, warmth, and kindness.  I still got the jasmine tea I brought for her from China.  I delayed in sending it, and now I will never have the chance.
Remembrance from: Kimberly Hirsh
Message: Dr. Barreau had an ineffable kindness about her and I will remember her always.
Remembrance from: Vedana Vaidhyanathan
Message: Dr. Deborah Barreau refused to give up on me when I had hit a point in my graduate school career where I considered giving up on myself. She advised me and helped me to see information science in a different way than I had previously. She will be missed every day.
Remembrance from: Marianne Afifi
Message: Deborah Barreau was a dear colleague in ASIS&T. She always had a smile on her face and was a calm person. I only got to know her in the last few years, and I will miss her terribly. My condolences to her loved ones.
Remembrance from: Marilyn Humm '71
I was a sorority sister of Debbie Barreau's at Carolina. Even then she was a caring and open-hearted person, always looking out for others and fostering inclusion. She and I and another friend shared an apartment after college as well. We re-connected last Spring, hoping to get together but we each had surgery within the same 24-hour period. After that, we emailed post-op, and she was realistic but hopeful and fighting the good fight.
The photo is from September 1970 at a Kappa Alpha Theta pre-rush gathering at our newly built house. Theta isn't at UNC these days but many of us keep in touch. This is how we will remember her bright spirit.. (see the photo on the photo link above).
Remembrance from: K.-Sun Kim
Message: Although it was just for a short period of time, I very much enjoyed working with Deborah in various association/conference related occasions. She was one of the most generous, kind, and thoughtful persons I have ever met. She was inspiring intellectually and spiritually. Deborah, I'll miss you dearly!

Remembrance from: Paul Williford, SILS '88
Message: Deb was a great friend in library school - bright, friendly, helpful, energetic. She also proved to be a wonderful adviser and mentor over the years. I'm glad I stayed in touch with her - meeting her and her beloved Portia on the Mall in DC once when I was there for a conference and she was working in Rockville. She was a rock for Susan Steinfirst when Susan was struggling with her own cancer in the 1990s. I'm so sorry that we have lost Debbie so early - but I find comfort in knowing that she is reunited with her friend Susan - and Portia - and they're having a great time together.
Remembrance from: Howard Carrier, MSLS 2009
Message: I am greatly saddened to learn that Dr. Barreau has died. I remember her as an excellent teacher and as a kind and gracious person. I also recall discussing dogs and the joys of dog ownership with her, on many occasions.

Remembrance from: Robin Boltz
Message: The world has lost a kind and gentle spirit and an amazing person. Our bond was our love for our dogs. If, as Rylant supposes, there is a Dog Heaven, then you certainly will be reunited with yours.

Remembrance from: Miriam Matteson
Message: Deb, our paths only barely crossed, but I felt so well mentored by you. You were such a fantastic model of professional excellence. You are indeed missed.

Remembrance from: Genya O'Gara, SILS 2008
Message: She was a thoughtful and generous teacher and she will be very missed.

Remembrance from: Carol Perryman
Message: Deb Barreau was on my PhD committee, and present for my defense last August. Though she was ill, she helped me through the process with kindness and wisdom, as she helped so many others. I am grateful to have known her.

Remembrance from: Sarah Jorda
Message: Deborah Barreau was an inspiring teacher and an encouraging mentor. 
Her classes helped me see our world in a new way and I admired the way her careful and insightful questions led our classes in meaningful discussions. Meeting her helped me feel that I belonged at SILS; she will be missed.

Remembrance from: Vickie Kline MSLS 1987
Message: I remember Deb working with us in the SLIS computer lab in the 1980's. She had endless patience with those of us who had little computer experience and lots of anxiety about using them.  (Anyone remember dBase 4?) It was largely through working with her that I became comfortable with technology and eventually went on to become a systems librarian.  I love being the resident geek in the library and wouldn't have gotten to this point without her inspiration!  My prayers are with her family and friends...

Susan Keesee MSLS 2004
Message: I met Deb at a SILS book sale outside Manning Hall where I had my dog, Dixie, with me or my friend Liz had her dog, Tuck, with her. I don't remember the spoken words but will remember the connection made with one of our canine companions. Condolences to all who knew Deb here on earth.

Remembrance from: cindi wolff MSLS 1987
Message: Debbie worked in the SLIS computer lab and managed to save my life and academic career by providing insight and guidance in my attempt to utilize a computer program that neither one of knew for my grad assistantship.  She had the patience and ability to help me through it all.  
She also served as a mentor for me in my early professional career.  She is one of those people you are lucky to meet in life, and will always be grateful you were able to share a bit of time.Remembrance from: Kathi Matsuura
Message: I treasure the kind words of encouragement that Dr. Barreau always had for me.  Returning to school after a fifteen year break, I always looked at her with admiration, and was grateful that she took any interest in me at all.  It is not an exaggeration to say that my education has been enormously shaped by her influence, and I am only sad that I will not have the opportunity to step into her office again and tell her about the doctoral degree that she helped set me on the path to obtain.

Remembrance from: Chris Horn, MLS
Message: My best memories of library school (Catholic University, 1997-2000) were my classes with Dr. Deborah Barreau. Deborah (she insisted that her friends call her Deborah) had all the characteristics of a great teacher--always prepared, empathetic, funny. I was very lucky to get to know Deborah outside the classroom; she was a guest in our home, and I was a guest in hers. I miss her greatly.

Remembrance from: Paul Cantwell
Message: I was saddened to hear of Dr. Barreau's passing. She was a masterful professor and a great friend to her students. I will fondly remember her friendship and support in my time at Catholic University.