Carol Eyler

23 September 2020
Carol Eyler

Carol Eyler, age 69, died on September 23rd. Carol was the Head of Technical Services in the Library from 1999–2017. Under her leadership, Carleton launched the joint online catalog with St. Olaf College. In merging these two library systems, Carol oversaw the process of bringing the systems into alignment with one another. This was a complicated process because it involved guiding library departments in developing common procedures.

Projects like this were given to Carol because she thought through every detail and possibility, and carefully analyzed what needed to be done. She was dedicated to the library and her job. As a graduate of Kenyon College, she greatly valued a liberal arts education and was proud to work at Carleton. 

Carol was a lover of libraries and books and found great joy in reading, especially about nature, and enjoyed walks through prairie areas around Northfield. Her burial will be a green burial on Kenyon College’s prairie.  

Posted In


  • 2020-09-23 11:49:35
    Kelly Connole

    I am sorry to read this sad news. I met Carol 17 years ago when I saw a posting in a feminist bookstore in Minneapolis about a Northfield bookclub. She was the contact person and, when we spoke on the phone, we had a wonderful lively conversation about books. I was new to Northfield and didn't know anyone. We met for dinner before my first bookclub meeting and I so appreciated Carol's kindness at a time when I really needed it. I hope to pass that welcoming energy on to others to honor her.

  • 2020-09-23 13:15:53
    Matt Bailey

    I had the pleasure and privilege of working with Carol, my fellow Ohio native, for 12 years. She could be buttoned-up in both manner and appearance, but surprisingly her office in the library was always a riotous mess: books and papers stacked on every surface, including the chair seats. But like many people with messy offices, I believe she knew exactly where everything was. Her mind and her memory were like a vast card catalog. And if you got to talking on just the right subject (cats, often, or the printing and binding of books, artisan cheese, or the travails of homeownership), a whole other, wonderful side of her would open up to you.

    Carol cared about getting things right (though not necessarily about being right—she was always willing to learn something new or a different way of doing something). This could sometimes put her at odds with those who just wanted to get things done and out of the way or those who just wanted to have things their way, right or not. She cared about getting things right because she cared deeply about the core ideals of librarianship, including privacy, preservation, professionalism, and connecting people with knowledge. She commanded respect, but she returned it, too, to those who shared her ideals or her commitment to doing the best possible work.

    I'll miss seeing her randomly around Northfield, bumping into her at the movies or at the co-op, but her work lives on at our library and others through the systems and procedures she instituted and the people (including student workers) she hired, trained, and worked with.

  • 2020-09-23 14:00:15
    Sam Demas

    Carol was a thoughtful and dedicated librarian, committed to excellence, hard work and providing leadership in making the library technical services work in service to the Carleton community. She was willing to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work and careful thinking necessary to formulate policies based on the mission of the library and the best interests of students and faculty. She immediately embraced the idea of forming a partnership in which the two libraries of Carleton and St Olaf aspired to operate as one. She threw her heart into complex work of developing a joint catalog, the heart of the enterprise, and set standards and provided leadership on enduring standards, policies and practices of cooperation between the colleges. Her personal interests in books and learning, nature and beauty informed her professional work and provided opportunity for more personal connection with a very private, but also very open person. A consummate technical services librarian — imbued and inspired by values that flourished in the academy — Carol was respected by her colleagues in and out of the library, and remembered fondly by those who got to know her.

  • 2020-09-23 15:54:37
    Stacy Beckwith

    I'm so sorry to learn of Carol's passing. She was so wonderful to work with, especially when we needed an inventory of all of Gould's monographs and resources in Middle East Studies in 2011/12, as we applied for a U.S. Dept. of Education grant to help launch our program. No detail or nuance was too small for her to consider and I came to know our Library's richness all over again through her knowledge and diligence.

  • 2020-09-23 16:04:26
    Jennifer Edwins

    I was so sorry to learn about Carol’s death. We worked closely together for 18 years, and I greatly respected the way she tackled projects, figuring out all details with precision and perfection. Although she was the epitome of professionalism, it was always good to hear her let loose with a hearty laugh at something humorous! Fortunately, she was given the gift of added years after two near fatal bouts with leukemia. I’m glad she was able to enjoy 3 years of retirement with her partner Jane.

  • 2020-09-23 16:08:21
    Kristin Partlo

    Carol cared deeply about the library and her responsibility to care for the systems that make the library accessible to everyone. She had a firm and visible faith that the fruit of her tireless commitment to detail and careful documentation was borne out by the endless potential that a well-tended library offers to a reader. Whenever I had the opportunity to work with Carol on a tricky problem, I appreciated her clarity of thought, her singularity of purpose, and her creativity in coming up with manageable solutions. I am saddened that she did not have more time in retirement and hope she knew how much of an impact she had on her colleagues, the library, and the Carleton community.

  • 2020-09-23 21:17:54
    Victoria Morse

    I remember Carol's excitement about the St John's Bible project and also her emphatic advice about the responsibility of women to push on to positions of leadership and authority. Later on we shared moments at the Northfield Care Center checking in on loved ones. She was a vigorous and clear-sighted person and will be much missed.

  • 2020-09-24 06:47:32
    Jeanie Owens, St Olaf College

    I worked with Carol on Bridge projects. Bridge was the name of the combined library consortium between Carleton and St Olaf. She really wanted things to be consistant and easy for people to use. We have a successful combined catalog because of her tenacious work habits. And she loved the color purple. But if you got her to talk about her cats, her light would shine. She will be missed.

  • 2020-09-24 13:34:02
    Hsianghui Liu-Spencer

    It was a pleasure to work with Carol over 12 years in the technical services (TS) at the Gould Library. Her librarianship presented itself of how she solved the problems, implemented projects and maintained a high productivity among many busy tasks. Without wasting time, she also led the TS department to accomplish many milestone projects in the library. I had been thankful for her leadership in collaborating with campus units, for her kindness to nature and bird-watching, which we had called upon to watch birds by her office window, and also for her supporting my work with additional notes in 'purple' ink of her corrections!

  • 2020-09-24 16:25:02
    Paula Lackie

    I've read all of the comments before mine & they all resonate with me and my experience and appreciation of Carol.

    My tiny additions of Carol-appreciation are to add that for many years she walked a disk from the library to ITS, and past my office, to complete a backup process for some library system (that I can no longer recall) .. it was an occasional interaction that was lovely but a bit ludacris (the systems were complex... but could not automate that last step?!) and we usually had some conversation about the day/this process. She said that she never minded the manual nature of it. In some ways, it was very satisfying to have this concrete and routine process in her schedule - that took her out of the library.

    In another interaction, apparently when she was new to the library & I was trying to understand what she did, I asked her "so... what is *technical* about Technical Services." It turned out to be a rich discussion for us for years. One that often included her robust laugh.

    And I too shared some overlapping time with her at Northfield Care Center - as we visited our respective mothers. I met Jean there as well. They showed such joy in one another and in Carol's mom.

    I am so sorry that her retirement was so short.

    Carol, you are missed.

  • 2020-09-28 09:12:46
    Angi Faiks

    I am saddened to learn the news of Carol's passing. Carol's expertise and deep and detailed knowledge was widely respected and admired. She was always kind to me, seeking me out at various professional meetings and conference and asking me deep and interesting questions. She seemed to be endlessly seeking ways to enhance and improve libraries through the important work of Technical Services. She will be missed and I send my deepest condolences to all who loved, learned from, and admired her. While those words are written in the past tense, I know the love, learning and admiration will carry on. I, and Carol's colleagues at Macalester, send our condolences and kindest wishes to her Carleton family.

  • 2021-02-12 14:33:37
    Caroline Merkl

    Fond memories as a student worker in Tech Services - especially of our department summer field trip to the newly constructed library in downtown Minneapolis. You are missed!

Add a comment