After 25 years, library specialist ready to retire after bringing positive outlook to job

Headshot: Bob Kozminski
Bob Kozminski, library specialist, is retiring after 25 years.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

After working for University Libraries for 25 years, Bob Kozminski, library specialist, is retiring.

A reception in Kozminski's honor is planned Thursday, March 5, from 2-3 p.m. in the Mary Idema Pew Library multipurpose room. 

Kozminski was hired in 1995 to work in the cataloging department when the library was located in Zumberge Hall. In 2005, he moved to the library’s reference desk and said he was able to make more connections on campus. 

“Working with the university community for the last 15 years, I was able to see the entire academic year unfold, which was really rewarding,” he said.

In 1983, Kozminski was paralyzed from the waist down because of transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord. He has been an advocate for disability rights on campus by serving on the ADA advisory committee and assisting in the construction of the library to ensure everything in the building was accessible to people with disabilities.

“I live each day with the challenges of accessibility, and serving on the ADA committee has given me the opportunity to help people understand and see things in a perspective," he said. "I can help lend some support to those areas.”

Kozminski has accomplished a lot at Grand Valley in the past 25 years. He said his favorite duties are simply to encourage a positive attitude and to be kind.

“There is a lot of pressure put on students to do well,” Kozminski said. “We need to be sensitive to the fact that people aren’t always going to have a good day. How you address students and how you treat them can lift their spirits.”

One of his favorite moments was when a student offered to push his manual wheelchair up the ramp to the library doors. Kozminski said it was an experience that changed both his and the student’s outlook on life. 

“As I’m going up that switchback, I thanked her for her kindness and briefly told her why I was in a wheelchair, and by the time we got up to the building she was in tears,” he said.

Kozminski said he looks forward to traveling with his wife during retirement.

-- written by Olivia Conaty, student writer