Joe Cali Library Fund

The History

Joseph John Cali was a librarian at Antioch College for 53 years.  He died on February 13, 2007 at the age of 78.  His last day was spent keeping the library open during a snowstorm, despite the rest of campus being closed.  This was typical of his dedication and his conviction of the library’s critical and essential role in student learning.  Joe began his career at Antioch College as music librarian in 1952.  Shortly afterwards, he served in the U.S. Army for two years in Germany, attaining the rank of Sergeant.  After fulfilling his military service in 1954, he returned to his position at Antioch College.  Joe’s career spanned more than half a century, from printed word to the adoption by libraries of digital electronic media.  He helped move the collection into Olive Kettering Library in 1955, and in 1983 became library director. He oversaw many changes, including the transition of the library’s traditional card catalog to an online catalog in 1998 and helped form the consortium OPAL (Ohio Private Academic Libraries) that paved the way for membership in OhioLink.  He had a passionate commitment to rigorous academics and to the scholarly and intellectual endeavors for which Olive Kettering Library provided a foundation.    Joe Cali 2
The extraordinary depth of the library’s collection of periodicals and other serials is a testimony to Joe’s meticulous attention to research needs.  Over the years, many Antioch graduates went on to careers as librarians, inspired by Joe’s own commitment to the profession and his support of scholarly and intellectual endeavors.  Joe’s dedication to Olive Kettering Library was only exceeded by his passion for classical music.  His master’s thesis from Case Western Reserve University was “A Bibliography of Composers’ Biographies,” which allowed him to combine his love of music with library science.  The depth and breadth of his knowledge of recorded music was one of the strengths that he brought to his work at the library.  On a playful note, he always saw to it that the library observed the birthdays of Beethoven and the conductor Arturo Toscanini, Joe’s particular hero.

Another of Joe’s enthusiasms was sports.  He was a talented athlete, especially on the basketball court.  He could often be found in Curl Gym, impressing opponents with the accuracy of his half-court shot.  Joe earned the affection of generations of Antioch students, staff, and faculty during his tenure at Antioch College.  Through the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s his sense of humor was often expressed in phrases that became legendary on campus. His gruff exterior was typically tempered by the twinkle in his eye.  Many Antiochians still answer to cherished nicknames created and christened by Joe Cali.  The reopening of Antioch College and the new students and faculty that use that facility everyday owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the memorable Joseph John Cali.

The Goal  

The Antioch College Classes of 1959 and 1960 were particularly close to the young Joe Cali.  Those friendships and relationships continued on for a half-century.  The leadership and interested parties from these two classes would like to honor their friend and mentor Joe Cali by providing permanent support for library materials and books.

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