Sandy Berman has influenced an entire generation of librarians by showing that activism and librarianship can co-exist. He challenged the notion of what it was to be a librarian and expanded the parameters of librarianship. For him, there was no separation between the personal and the political. He was a strong advocate for the oppressed, sexual freedom and alternative press. He was an untiring crusader against the racist, sexist, obscure and unclear subject headings assigned by the Library of Congress, so much so that the Library of Congress felt obligated to respond occasionally to his petitioning.
More than any other, he liberated information. If he had information to share, he did. He distributed his "Sandy packets" to those who could make the most use of them. There was a passion about his involvement and work accomplishments. Even the abrupt end to his career was handled with personal integrity by standing firm at a great cost for what he believed in. He will continue to serve as a role model for generations of librarians to come.
- Byron Anderson
I've told people before the story of how had it not been for Sandy Berman's and Jim Danky's Alternative Library Literature I wouldn't be where I am today, nor have become involved in radical ideas in librarianship, so enough of that one.
Sandy sent my first son his own copy of the beautiful children's book, Save my rainforest. Just turned four, it's now one of Daniel's favourite books. He knows more about the issues surrounding rainforest destruction than I did when I was 30. And he's learnt it in one of the most powerful ways: through reading and interacting with that reading. That such books exist isn't up to Sandy, of course. What's central is that Sandy's work makes them more available to more people. Daniel's lucky: he got the bespoke service. I like to think, though, that Sandy's remarkable approach to cataloguing means that everyone stands to get that service.
- Dr. Chris Atton