Obituary: Lorrita E. Ford - Former Director of Library & Learning Services at College of San Mateo

By College of San Mateo Library

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Lorrita E. Ford, 72, on September 19, 2021. Ford was the Director of Library and Learning Services at College of San Mateo from 2002-2016, and previously worked at Diablo Valley College, as well as Oakland Public Library. Lorrita Ford attended Los Angeles Community College for her AA. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature and her Masters of Library and Information Science from UC Berkeley. At College of San Mateo, Ford was a champion of interdisciplinary collaborations across departments and programs, establishing library representatives on committees across the campus, and coordinating with a range of departments and student clubs. She pioneered a makerspace and tool lending library and joined forces with the Math and Science Division on the annual Family Science and Astronomy Festival + Makerspace event. She was intentional about developing representative and inclusive library collections and programs.

photo of Lorrita E. Ford

Lorrita E. Ford

Ford sought input from her employees as part of decision making and encouraged library workers at College of San Mateo to take on leadership and shared governance representative roles across the college, San Mateo County Community College District, and Peninsula Library System, thus helping her employees to develop leadership and collaboration skills. She encouraged and mentored early career librarians in public and academic libraries. She advocated for a college information literacy requirement, promoted library programs and services, and partnered with student clubs and student athletes to develop and present programs at the library that were representative, meaningful, and relevant to them.

We want to honor and celebrate her inner strength, personal style, and commitment to mentoring library professionals and promoting library services.