Former USC librarian Ruth Britton died in Rosemead on Jan. 27. She was 88.
An Oklahoma native, Britton graduated from the University of Oklahoma with an associate’s degree in social work and from the University of Illinois with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in library science.
Britton was the head of USC’s social work library for more than two decades. She retired in 2000 after more than 43 years of service to the university.
“Ruth is responsible for helping build the USC social work collection into the esteemed collection it is today,” said USC Libraries’ director of public services Linda Weber, a longtime friend and colleague of Britton. “She dedicated her life to her library, faculty, and students. She was a mentor to many of us.”
An active member of USC, local and national boards and committees, Britton was on the board of the California Social Welfare Heritage organization. She also served a term as president of the Association of Mental Health Librarians.
She was honored twice with the Outstanding Service Award by the USC School of Social Work Alumni Association and with the George Nickle Distinguished Service to Social Welfare Award from the California Social Welfare Archives.
“Ruth was an active member on the executive board for the California Social Welfare Archives,” said Weber, with whom Britton co-authored the article “Academic Library Information Centers: A New Service Approach for Subject Support” shortly before her retirement. “She was also responsible for getting the Arlien Johnson Social Work History Collection housed in Special Collections.”
While she was USC’s social work librarian, Britton forged a long-standing friendship with USC scholar Frances Feldman. While retired and in their 70s, both frequently could be spotted in the stands at USC basketball games.
Britton is survived by her children, librarian Janet Britton of Fort Collins, Colo., and attorney Eric Britton of Perrysburg, Ohio, as well as two granddaughters, Madeleine and Claire Britton.
In lieu of a memorial service, friends and colleagues may make gifts in her memory to the Friends of the Westchester-Loyola Village Library.
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