Securing a dedicated space for leisure reading at California State University, Northridge’s Delmar T. Oviatt Library had been a longtime dream of emeritus professor Robert (Bob) Gohstand. During his nearly 40 years as a professor in the Department of Geography, Gohstand encouraged his students to not just read for academic reasons, but also for fun and pleasure.
Last week, on Oct. 22, the emeritus professor’s dream came true with the dedication of the Robert and Maureen Gohstand Leisure Reading Room, located on the second floor, west wing of the library.
“I wanted to have a space in this library where one could relax and read,” said Bob Gohstand. “Reading expands one’s imagination and perspective on the world.”
The Gohstands were joined at the dedication by dozens of faculty, staff and supporters including emeritus library Dean Susan Curzon, Oviatt Library Dean Mark Stover and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Harry Hellenbrand, who welcomed and offered remarks to attendees.
“The reading we do on our own time, reading that isn’t deadline-driven, isn’t job-driven, isn’t necessarily research, is some of the most important reading we can ever do,” said English professor Charles Hatfield. He opened his keynote address to the crowd with the song, “In This Quiet Room,” written and recorded by his brother-in-law to raise money to build a library in Westhampton, Mass.
Referencing the song’s lyrics, “in this paper sanctuary,” Hatfield applauded the Gohstands for their donation to the library.
“With a tip of the hat to Bob and Maureen, long may this room, this paper sanctuary, extend a welcome to readers — whatever joys, terrors, provocations or hopes, whatever blend of light and darkness they seek,” Hatfield said.
Bob Gohstand has long been an advocate for the library. He was a member of the Faculty Senate Library Committee for two decades and served as the chair of the committee for 10 of those years. He remains an ardent supporter of the community, the campus and particularly the Oviatt Library, where he continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Library and as director of the Old China Hands Archive.