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April 16, 2001

Library endowment honors memory of Candy Coonerty

By Alyssa D.Clagg

Enriching UCSC library collections for generations to come, the Candy Coonerty Memorial Endowment has been established with a $10,000 gift from her family to honor her memory and continue to champion her passions for reading and the arts.

Coonerty, co-owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz in downtown Santa Cruz, was a knowledgeable and devoted book lover and valued board member of the Friends of the UCSC Library who died in 1999 of a stroke at age 49. She served the UCSC library in numerous ways, enhancing Friends' meetings with her personal warmth and in-depth understanding of books and the book trade.

"She had a real passion for the Santa Cruz community and a passion for enhancing the community," said longtime friend and fellow board member Nancy Litvak. "She worked very hard to keep [the community] in good condition and to bring people together."

Coonerty provided leadership and creative vision for the Friends' annual Book Collection Contest, which continues to inspire new generations of college and high school students to develop an enduring commitment to books and reading. In recognition of Coonerty's contributions, the Friends dedicated a special reading bench in her honor at the book collection awards ceremony in April 2000. The bench is in the foyer of McHenry Library with a view of both the library book stacks and a stand of cherry trees that flower each spring.

"She was so passionate about the university and particularly the library. I know she would be delighted by the bench that was dedicated to her memory, placed as it is, in the heart of the library itself and looking out on the magnificent cherry trees and year-round beauty of the campus," Litvak said. "Candy's family is happy there's a fund that lives on after her untimely passing--something that carries on her enthusiasms and interests."

Each volume in the Candy Coonerty Memorial Endowment will display a personalized bookplate. The UCSC library web site will recognize Candy and the Coonerty Endowment by providing friends, family, and donors with immediate access to the growing bibliography of books purchased in her name.

"Candy meant a great deal to us--she brought a wonderful and special commitment to the Friends of the UCSC Library Board and had an unusual breadth of literary and philosophical interests, combined with an exceptional knowledge of books and the community," said University Librarian Allan Dyson. "The endowment will reflect all these interests, and as a result, will benefit a very wide cross-section of the UCSC community."

Income from the endowment will be used to buy library materials on subjects of special interest to Coonerty, such as Judaica and Jewish social and intellectual history, publishing and the history of books, community studies and community-building, and the history and sociology of the family. The kind of journals and audio and video recordings Coonerty might have selected and appreciated will also be purchased in her name.

"We established the endowment because her interests as co-owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz were to foster reading in the Santa Cruz community," explained Ruth Issenman, Coonerty's mother. "The endowment will help expand knowledge, especially in Jewish scholarship."

Those wishing to contribute to the endowment may call the Library Development Office at (831) 459-4211.

Louise Donahue contributed to this article.


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