Contributed by Debilyn Kinzler.
Rita has been a longtime volunteer for the Oviatt Library, and even served as President of the Friends of the Library on two different occasions. Recently, Rita was selected by the Library to receive a Volunteer Service Award, an honor given to loyal volunteers campus-wide by CSUN’s Alumni Association.
Born and raised in New York, Rita Streimer and her late husband, Professor Irv Streimer, arrived in Northridge in 1964 when the campus was still San Fernando Valley State College. The college was officially renamed California State University, Northridge in June of 1972. Professor Irv Streimer quickly became a popular psychology professor, and was eventually instrumental in bringing the study of human factors to CSUN. Having earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and her Master’s degree in Art Education from Brooklyn College, Rita carried a love of the arts and education into her own professional career in California. With more than thirty years of experience in arts education, Rita has curated three exhibits for the Canoga Park Youth Arts Center Gallery. She is an avid art quilter, and although officially retired from teaching, she continues to teach quilting at Los Angeles Pierce College through Encore, a program designed specifically for the educational needs and interests of older adults in the community.
The university has been a part of Rita and her family’s life since the early 1960’s, so volunteering at the university’s library was a natural fit for the former educator. Rita acknowledges the continuing importance of a Library to CSUN and to other universities. “My generation went to the Library to take out books and to look things up — for pleasure and for knowledge. Younger generations use the Library differently due to the variety of resources. Still, the Library is always the center or the heart of the university,” says Streimer. “I cannot imagine a university without a Library.” According to Oviatt Library Dean Mark Stover, “One of the core values of the Oviatt Library is to ‘offer responsive and respectful service to our user community.’ Rita Streimer exemplifies this cornerstone of our library service ethic through her consistent commitment to CSUN students, faculty and staff, as well as the broader community.” Dean Stover goes on to say that volunteers like Rita Streimer bring unique experience, invaluable wisdom, and welcome enthusiasm to the Oviatt Library.
Rita considers receiving the Volunteer Service Award as a huge honor for her and for her family. She clarifies that her service to the Oviatt is a pleasure, and to be given an award for doing something that gives her such satisfaction only doubles the honor. “Rita inspires all of us with her commitment and dedication to CSUN,” says Stover. Rita goes on to say that she would simply like to inspire others to be enriched, as she was, by the ever-expanding variety of events and resources available to everyone at the Oviatt Library.
Rita’s boundless generosity and impactful contributions have left an indelible mark on the culture of CSUN. Rita will be honored alongside other CSUN Volunteer Service Award recipients at a luncheon on October 23, 2015. The Oviatt is proud to introduce the 2015 Library Volunteer Service Award honoree, Rita Streimer, to the greater CSUN family and the surrounding community.