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My Memories of My Friend Allen Overland

By Zeinab Mansour

Allen Overland

In the Spring of 2011, Allen Overland participated as a speaker in an event sponsored by the DC/SLA  International Relations Committee.

Allen began his presentation by saying how happy he was to see in the audience a friend of over 20 years as well as a fellow librarian. I was that friend. I considered myself to be so  fortunate to be Allen’s  friend , who was a great source of inspiration to me all these years.

In  1991,  we met at the School of Library & Information Science at Catholic University of America here in Washington, DC. I was 50 years old when I started to pursue that degree, and it was a challenge to have classmates the same age as my daughter. Allen empowered me to pursue my dreams and to never give up.

After graduation, our friendship not only continued, but  grew into  professional collaborations.  Since Allen and I shared a passion for international librarianship, we became  managers of  libraries in international research institutions, with him serving at the  National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and later at Export-Import Bank of the United States. Allen also was the coordinator of the Washington International Librarian’s Group (WILG)

Throughout his career, Allen displayed the characteristics of  creativity, passion for the field and determination

I noticed that determination when I saw him for the last time in August 2014.  We met to celebrate Allen’s birthday, unknowingly, his final birthday celebration.

On that hot summer day, while having lunch not far from his work place in McPherson Square, I saw a man who, despite his grave illness,  had the determination to live his life, and had the will to pursue his dreams.

On  Friday, January 23, 2015,  Allen Overland passed away. He bravely struggled with health issues the past few years.

I will always remember and cherish Allen’s friendship and how he inspired me, and  many others by his own example on how to live life by not giving up, and to pursue our dreams despite all odds.

I will always remember his gentle smile… and perhaps,  just perhaps, he is now looking at us from above with his beaming smile for honoring and remembering him as a good man who never gave up till the very end.

One Response to “My Memories of My Friend Allen Overland”

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  1. […] heartfelt thoughts about Allen and his contributions to their personal and professional lives.  Zeinab Mansour and Tim Myers submitted beautiful tributes, speaking of Allen’s many qualities, including his […]


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