Five Questions: Florence Barber

The Music Division congratulates Florence Barber, who is leaving the Library after a long and storied career.  Cait Miller posed Five Questions to Florence.

Florence, how many years have you worked for the Library of Congress? How long have you been in the Music Division specifically?

Well, I have been employed by the Library of Congress for over 43 years.  I began in August of 1963, resigned in February 1969, and moved to Boston, MA. I was employed by the Harvard Medical School as a secretary for 3 years. I left Boston in Sept. 1972 and moved back to Washington, DC, where I was born and raised. I returned because I got homesick. In October of 1972, I began working at the Library of Congress, Congressional Research Division, Economics Division. In 1978, I moved to Music Division with a promotion. I will retire on November 2, 2011 with over 43 years of service.

Do you have any  favorite memories of working in the Music Division?

Some of my favorite occasions were working for the Chiefs of the Music Division, such as Donald Leavitt, James W. Pruett, Jon Newsom, and now Susan H. Vita, learning from each one of them.  Also some co-workers, who have been here as long as me, such as Michele Glymph, Rudy Parker, Betty Auman, have all become like family to me. I  also have others who have not been as long, they know who they are to me.  Too many to mention.

Do you have favorite performances you attended in Coolidge Auditorium over the years?

Some of my favorite performances were, the ASCAP concerts, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, the Alvin Ailey  performance, the gospel concert, the Motown concert, all the Jazz concerts at the Lincoln Theater, and the Shirley Horn concerts. Other memorable moments were meeting celebrities such as BB King, Dolly Parton, Bill Withers, Judith Jamison, The Juilliard String Quartet and many more.

Have you been or are you still involved in the performing arts outside of work?

I am still involved in the performing arts outside of work, such as hand dancing. I frequent plays, variety shows, and gospel concerts.  This town is busy with all kinds of performing arts, such as the Concerts at the Library of Congress, and  I plan to attend some.

Do you have any grand plans right now for life as a retiree?

My life as a retiree will be joining Senior Citizens Groups who are as active as I want to be.  Continue my hand-dancing daily, if not weekly. I have many retired friends to socialize with.  I have plenty of books to read about all kinds of subjects.  I plan to continue travelling as well.

All of my four children grew up at the Library of Congress, and now my grandchildren have been here.  In all of my travels, I was also proud to tell other  tourists where I worked and in what Division.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Addie Robinson
    February 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    DEAR FLORENCE (KAT):

    YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL PERSON BOTH INSIDE AND OUT! I SALUTE YOU FOR STAYING IN ONE JOB THAT LONG! DURING THE EARLY YEARS, I HEARD HORRIBLE THINGS ABOUT THE “LIBRARY OF CONGRESS!” HOWEVER, IT APPEARS THAT YOU MANAGED TO SURVIVE WITHOUT PROBLEMS!

    I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOMEWHERE DURING YOUR RETIREMENT!

    HUGS!

  2. Rudy
    April 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Kat (Florence) you were always an absolute jewel of a person to work with. There was never a time that I did not get joy from your presence, always so full of life, up-lifting and very helpful. You’re right, there are some co-workers that give you the security of a family atmosphere, which you were one of along with those you mentioned earlier. We cultivated that kind of admiration and trust among each other. Free spirited fun loving people like you are an asset to any environment and not easily replaced.

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