John Shaloiko, Librarian, Mentor, Friend
By Kathy Miller, Executive Director, Rochester Regional Library Council; chairperson, NY 3Rs Association
When Jeremy asked me to write a memorial to John Shaloiko, I was honored and pleased to do so. John, who recently retired as the Executive Director of the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council, died March 29, 2015. He had been my friend and mentor for more than 30 years.
My first introduction to advocacy and NYLA’s “Lobby Day” (as it was then called), was with John teaching me the ropes. At the time we worked together at the Rochester Regional Library Council – me as a “newbie” and John as Coordinator of the Intersystem Pilot Project - Rochester Area Resource Exchange – Project RARE. Project RARE was one of two pilot projects that led to what we know now as School Library Systems.
That leadership that John showed in Project RARE continued throughout his life. From RARE he became a Liaison Officer for OCLC in Dublin, Ohio. Missing his hometown (and maybe the Bills), he moved back to New York State eventually becoming Assistant Director at the Western NY Library Resources Council and, in the early 1990’s, Executive Director of the Southeastern NY Library Resources Council.
Along the way, he continued to serve as a leader and mentor and friend to many of us. At Southeastern, just a few of his achievements include developing technological services to support programs for hospital and special libraries; negotiating licensing agreements to create electronic regional interlibrary loan services and creation of the first NY regional council to offer shared digital assets of member libraries under the name Hudson River Valley Heritage.
Statewide, his influence extended to the establishment of NY Heritage; discounted e-resource access to libraries across NY by establishing the NY 3Rs relationship with WALDO; and exploration of new models for service provision across system type. John's dedication to library services was recognized statewide, receiving the NYLA’s ASLS/NY3R's Spirit of Librarianship Award.
John had hundreds of library friends throughout the country, and all recall him as smart, personable, an out-of-the box thinker, a risk-taker – a professional dedicated to providing the best library services for people at all types of libraries. To me and many like me, he was a mentor and friend, someone who would always listen, advice, and always, always offer to help out.
You could not know John without knowing his booming voice (I know; I shared an office with him once), his great sense of humor and infectious laugh, and his gentle, and gentlemanly ways.
After retirement in 2014, John looked forward to spending more time with his wife Joanne, and his adult children, daughter Jessica (and her husband Adam) and son Craig, time at his beloved Adirondack retreat, Mountain Rest, at his lovely home in Ruby working on his garden and bonsai collection (awesome!), and watching his favorite teams – the Buffalo Bills and Sabres. Sadly, that was not to be. John died March 29 at his home, surrounded by his family, following a 3-year courageous battle with cancer.
The world was a better place because of John. We all will miss him.