CSUN Librarian and professor in Chicano(a) studies dies

Gwenn Crittle

An alter in honor of Dr. Karin Duran, a librarian and Chicano(a) studies professor. Photo Credit: Dedee Verdin / Staff Photographer

Dr. Karin Duran, a librarian and professor in Chicano(a) studies died Friday, June 11, 2010, of complications from a stroke.

Susan C. Curzon, dean of the university’s library, posted a statement on the website of the Oviatt Library where she expressed great respect for Duran as a person and a colleague.

“It is not possible to say in a single email the extent of Karin’s contributions,” Curzon wrote. “She loved her various responsibilities and this showed in the high quality of her work.”

Duran had been a librarian at CSUN since 1972 and was a senior member of the library staff. She was an instructor in the Chicano(a) Studies department since 1977.

“She was devoted to the students who learned a great deal throughout her research course,” Curzon wrote.

Chicano studies department Chair Dr. David Rodriguez, said he had known Duran since the 1970s.  Both he and his wife, meet Duran when they were students themselves. He said he couldn’t believe it when they heard of Duran’s death.

“We’re shocked,” Rodriguez said.  “When she first went in (to the hospital) we were just hoping it was a mild stroke, but it just got worse.”

Rodriguez much like the statement posted by Curzon, spoke highly of Duran not only as a person but also as a colleague.

“She was a beautiful woman in terms of how she got along with people,” Rodriguez said.  “She had great patience.  She knew how to work with people well.  She was very stable in a lot of the committee work, departmental work she did with us, and her librarian work. She was always updating things so we’re going to miss that on an institutional level not on just a personal level.”

Even though the university will recover from the loss of Duran, it will be felt for a while Rodriguez said.  As far as having someone step in to fill her, Rodriguez said there is someone with the potential that will be coming in to help out but with everything that Duran did and the kind of person she was, she is irreplaceable.

“There’s no one with all the expertise and personality that could ever replace her,” Rodriguez said.  “We’re going to be missing her in ways that I think a lot of people will not see until the semester progresses.  No one can replace Karen.”

Public arrangements on campus are still pending but there is an altar on the lower level in the Oviatt Library in the Teacher’s Curriculum Center where students are welcome to come by and pay their respects.  There are blank paper cutouts of angels at the altar where people can write personal messages to Duran.

In her statement, Curzon said that Karin’s husband Rick, had mentioned that Duran would have wanted a celebration and gathering rather than a service. In lieu of flowers, people are being asked to send donations to Nativity Catholic School in Los Angeles.