Four university library staff retire | Newsroom

Four university library staff retire | Newsroom

Four faculty members of the University Libraries are retiring. Dana WR Boden, Anita Breckbill, Judy Diamond and Joan Latta Konecky are leaving their full-time positions.

Students, teachers, staff and colleagues are invited to leave a message for the retirees at:

Dana WR Boden

Boden began her career in 1982 at the CY Thompson Library and over the years has worked as a liaison librarian in 16 different departments on East Campus, primarily in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the Faculty of Education and Humanities.

Boden received her doctorate from UNL in 2002 in administration, curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis in postsecondary administration. She received her bachelor’s degree in agriculture and master’s degree in education from Western Kentucky University, and her MSLS from the University of Kentucky.

She has a deep commitment to outreach and service to the libraries, the university, and the community in the state. Boden supported the shared governance of the libraries, served 17 years as an appointed congresswoman, and has held the positions of chair, vice chair, and secretary of the faculty of libraries. She has served on numerous committees in the libraries and for the university, including two terms on the University Conduct Board as secretary and chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, and on the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee as co-chair and chair.

She serves on the board of the Friends of the Larsen Tractor Museum and will continue to do so until her retirement. Boden has also been involved with the Nebraska chapter of the Honor Society of Agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta, and plans to remain so since her election as a member in 1984. Professionally, Boden was a member of the United States Agricultural Information Network for 34 years and served on its Executive Council.

Other honors Boden has received include the Outstanding Science Librarian Award from the University of Nebraska Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Honor Society, in 2007, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Nebraska Library Association, College and University Section, in 2005.

Boden has published many papers. One of her most popular papers — with over 21,000 downloads from Libraries Digital Commons and numerous citations — is “Miniature Cattle: For Real, for Pets, for Production.”

Boden’s plans for retirement include traveling, spending more time with family, genealogical research, and continued service with the Tractor Museum and Gamma Sigma Delta. She has many photos and family materials for projects and will continue to cheer on the Huskers.

Anita Breckbill

Breckbill began her career at Nebraska in 1989 as a music cataloger, which was her role until she was appointed head of the music library in 1994. She was the liaison librarian for the Glenn Korff School of Music for many years. She received her doctorate in flute from the University of Iowa and her MLIS degree from the University of California, Berkeley, after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Goshen College.

Breckbill has been granted professional development research leave for a cataloguing project in Wales, research in Paris and London, and consultancy work for a library in Pune, India. She has over 25 publications and over 35 presentations in her portfolio. Her research spans the spectrum from French music libraries and flutes to birds.

A project to return some World War II loot—a baton used by Richard Wagner to conduct Siegfried’s Idyll—to the Richard Wagner Museum in Germany created quite a stir, with an entertaining newspaper presentation; a trip to Bayreuth, Germany; an opera; and a reception at the Richard Wagner House. In a show aired by Nebraska Public Television, Breckbill and Hannah Jo Smith, the baton’s owner, were interviewed about the baton and the experience. The show aired on February 8, 2019.

Breckbill supported her library and faculty colleagues by serving on many committees in the libraries and for the university. From 2002 to 2003, Breckbill was chair of the faculty of the libraries and from 2004 to 2007 she was a member of the academic senate. She was an enthusiastic member of several music library associations, including the Mountain Plains Music Library Association, for which she served as secretary/treasurer, president-elect, and president, and was voted “Best of Chapter” five times for her presentation at the annual conference.

Breckbill’s plans for retirement include a six-month part-time position at the Boston University School of Theology Library, cataloging hymnbooks that are part of the impressive hymn collection. Breckbill is looking forward to getting to know Boston and spending some time on the East Coast.

Judy Diamant

Diamond’s career at Nebraska began in 1990 and has been devoted to creating innovative informal science education programs and conducting research on wild bird behavior. During her three decades as curator of informal science education at the University of Nebraska State Museum, Diamond served as principal investigator or co-investigator on more than $21 million in grants supporting science outreach projects. Her initiatives have advanced public education and learning about cutting-edge science research through innovative museum exhibits, a NOVA documentary, comics, computer applications, and extracurricular youth activities.

Since joining the library faculty in 2020, Diamond has focused on science outreach to libraries and youth. Her 2020 National Science Foundation-funded Rapid Response Research project created comics about the pandemic virus that were distributed to youth in rural and tribal communities. Her 2021 NSF-funded paleontology grant worked with 30 tribal and rural libraries to enhance their collections of current books on deep time and climate change. As part of her 2022 Grand Challenge award, Diamond worked with the Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Center in Walthill, Nebraska, to enhance One Health resources. Her 2023 NSF grant with librarians Erica DeFrain and Gabriel Bruguier, Nebraska 4-H, and others works with tribal libraries to enhance their biodiversity resources. Diamond published a chapter on science outreach through libraries in a book she co-edited, “Amplifying Informal Science Learning: Rethinking Research, Design, and Engagement (Routledge, 2023).”

At the museum, Diamond led the development of the Mesozoic and Explore Evolution galleries, funding them with NSF grants. She coordinated the redesign of Elephant Hall in 1993 and renovated dioramas in the Hall of Nebraska Wildlife from 1996 to 2003 and Charles Darwin exhibits in 1998. She coordinated 26 temporary exhibits produced in-house in Morrill Hall. With the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, she developed educational loan packages on each of Nebraska’s four tribes. At UNL, Diamond taught graduate courses in children’s literature, exhibition design, communication studies, and informal learning. She also served for 15 years on the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee of the Faculty Senate, where she served as chair and vice chair.

Diamond’s research on wild parrot behavior has been funded by the National Geographic Society, and she is an authority on comparative studies of bird play. She has published 13 books, 14 book chapters, and 54 peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2024, she was executive co-editor of “The Nebraska Sandhills (University of Nebraska Press).” In 2014, she was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Diamond’s plans for retirement include serving on the NSF’s STEM Directorate Advisory Committee and on the selection committee for the University President’s Innovation, Development, and Engagement Award for the next three years. She is working on books on nematodes and deep time, as well as a “User’s Manual for the 21st Century.” She will continue to play a supporting role in her current NSF projects, particularly those involving her library colleagues.

Joan Latta Konecky

Konecky joined UNL in 1990 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center library. She was tenured by UNMC in 1990 and UNL in 1996. From 2011 until her retirement, Konecky served as both the life sciences and biomedical librarian at UNL and the medical librarian for the Leon S. McGoogan Health Science Library at UNMC through a courtesy appointment. She has served as liaison librarian at UNL for the School of Biological Sciences, School of Natural Resources, and Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, and at UNMC for the Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing.

Konecky has devoted her career to library instruction and student teaching. A selection of classes she has supported with library instruction include fundamentals of biology (two semesters), general biology, human biology, invertebrate zoology, parasitology, vertebrate zoology, and molecular biology.

Konecky has an incredible track record of leadership service and active involvement with colleagues from various areas on campus. She represented the Libraries faculty as a senator in the Faculty Senate and served on a wide variety of Senate committees during her career, including the Executive Committee (secretary), Committee on Committees (chair), Parking Advisory Committee (chair), Academic Standards Committee, Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, University Student Judicial Board, Academic Rights and Responsibilities (panel member), and the Academic Planning Committee.

Konecky’s retirement plans include spending more time with his family, doing housework and traveling.