Elliott E. Kanner, 73, library administrator

March 29, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Elliott E. Kanner, a retired library administrator and volunteer coordinator, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure and chronic lymphocytic leukemia at Johns Hopkins Hospital. A former Columbia resident, he had been living at Sunrise Assisted Living of Towson since December. He was 73.

His wide-ranging career with libraries included developing libraries for Native Americans and overseeing services for a large library consortium north of Chicago. In his active retirement he enjoyed volunteer service that brought him commendations from two Maryland governors.

He also was an avid cyclist who bicycled throughout the country and much of Eastern Europe. He led two bicycle tours through Eastern Europe, and in retirement he bicycled in Italy for 11 consecutive summers, until last summer.

"He was a great role model and a friend to many," said his nephew, Brian Holland, of Alexandria, Va.

Born in New York City, he grew up in the Bronx and Washington Heights, where he graduated from George Washington High School in 1946.

He worked as a library page at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, where mentors encouraged him in the library profession. He continued to work there during the day and attended City University of New York at night.

After brief Army service in 1951, he returned to Columbia University on the GI Bill, completing his bachelor's degree in 1954 while working in the Columbia law School library during the day.

He entered the Columbia University School of Library Service with advanced standing, and received a master's degree in 1955. Upon graduation, he held a yearlong Library of Congress fellowship, focusing on collection development and extension services.

He returned to school to receive a doctorate in library science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1972, where his dissertation was on the role of libraries for the elderly.

Upon retiring, he moved to Columbia to join the inaugural class of Volunteer Maryland, a predecessor to AmeriCorps. He was a volunteer coordinator for Magic Me in Baltimore and Sarah's House shelter at Fort Meade from 1993 to 1995. He received Citizen of the Year commendations from Govs. William Donald Schaefer and Parris N. Glendening.

He volunteered with several organizations. Among them, he spent several years on the board of the Howard County Association of Volunteer Administrators until November and taught English in Poland as part of the Minneapolis-based Global Volunteers.

A private family funeral service will be held Tuesday, and a memorial service will be arranged.

In addition to his nephew in Virginia, survivors include a sister, Violette Holland, and two other nephews, Darryl Holland and Bart Holland, all of New York City.

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