Debbie Rogers, former BSA librarian for 34 years, a dear friend to many, passed away on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. Debbie was 67.
Read more about Debbie from her longtime colleagues and a student.
“I write these memories with a heavy heart. Debbie was a dear friend and colleague who built a world-class arts and academics library. She created a resource for students and faculty that was invaluable to learning at BSA, and maintained the school’s archives, preserving documents of school history and alumni accomplishments. As the daughter of a city school librarian, I guess her career choice was in her genes. But she was so much more than a librarian – a life-long learner, a good listener, a strong supporter of every aspect of the school, and a kind friend. Students could depend on her to guide their research, support their studies, and find materials to peak their interests. Her library was truly the heart of the school. As if running the day-to-day library wasn’t enough, she always went the extra mile helping with events, outreach, field trips, and so much more. She was an integral part of Wayne’s team that introduced technology to the school, long before most of us even knew how to turn on a computer. Donors generously gave to the library because they trusted her knowledge and instincts. Her collection was a source of pride for the entire school.
One of my fondest memories is every December, Debbie closed the library for an afternoon, and our team of staff, volunteers, and students moved in to stuff 500 gift bags to be distributed the following morning to young city school students by Santa and BSA dancers at a special school matinee performance of The Nutcracker. It was a magical time for all of us.
A little-known fact is early in our careers, Debbie and I worked together at another school, Barclay. She was returning from maternity leave after having her first child, Stephanie, and was new at balancing motherhood and career. We didn’t know then that a decade later, we would both be at BSA and would become valued colleagues and treasured friends.
We had so much fun over the years with our work and play, and most of the time they were one and the same. I smile at the memories of our many talks as we followed Cal Ripken’s consecutive games streak, wished President Josiah Bartlet on West Wing was really our President, tried to solve the woes of Carrie on Sex and the City, agreed the final episode of Seinfeld was absurdly perfect, critiqued the plot twists and fashions of Downton Abbey, shared the progress and challenges of the students, celebrated the journeys of the alumni, expressed our opinions on all current events, movies, theater, concerts, and anything else that caught our attention! Two days before she died after a grueling day of chemo and radiation, our last conversation ended with sharing our thoughts on the Beatles documentary! She was engaged until the very end.
Debbie was interested in simply everything – books, sports, school, good food, style, Broadway musicals – one of the most well-rounded of friends. We shared a love of good literature and favorite authors. I’m so sad that she won’t get to read Elizabeth Strout’s newest book, and even sadder that we won’t get to talk about it.
When I think back on Debbie’s life, I am reminded of the words of Maya Angelou, “Determine to live life with flair and laughter.”
She found comfort in her loving family and wide circle of friends. I count myself lucky to have been one of her buddies. I miss her beyond measure.” – Georgia King
“Our wonderful Debbie Rogers! A treasure to all of us who knew her! Fun and funny and absolutely devoted to BSA . When BSA expanded its campus and built the new library, the architects referred to the new space as the heart of the school where all would come together to learn and flourish. Debbie was at the very center ensuring that BSA’s rich collection of resources would remain relevant and always accessible to each and every student. Her love of BSA was inspiring and infectious!! We all will miss her so!” – Caroline Senatore
“I absolutely loved Debbie. She was such a fun colleague and an even better friend. She was a role model to me as the perfect “working mom” and she helped me so much, especially in the early years when I was raising my kids. I truly adored her. Truly.” – Carter Polakoff
“She was a pillar of the community at The Baltimore School for the Arts! We used to try to sneak into the library and take naps and cut up, but she was not having it. If you didn’t have a book or project at hand you would kindly be escorted out! A tough cookie with a heart of gold. I used to make fun of her voice with an uncanny imitation. Throughout the years I would do it right in front of her to see her snarl a lil grin in. She would eventually give in to the laughter. The times I went back to visit the school or when I had little jobs there, I often found refuge in the library. I would fall into those doors welcomed with its familiar coziness. You had a feeling she had a particular touch for every book, video tape, cassette, DVD, album, don’t be fooled. That library was stacked with hidden jewels and she knew the location of Every single one! As my acting career blossomed, I would go back to her and get research and new plays and so much information.
She watched me grow from a little boy to a man. When I was going through a rough patch, she never judged me or looked down on me. She knew and had faith that I would get it together. She clapped when I won. Fighting the tears as I write this. Debbie Rogers was a force. My heart goes out to her family and the Baltimore School for the Arts family. I love you Deb. My Teachers at that school are like family to me. I don’t know where I would be if God hadn’t plucked me out of the muck and mire and given me such a lovely and loyal group of leaders. Let’s celebrate the life of Deb, who touched so many.” – Lance Coadie Williams
The memorial service will be held in Florida on Monday, December 27th at 10:30AM ET.
Zoom link to the memorial service: https://bit.ly/32msJt7