Phyllis and Arthur Rieser

Phyllis and Arthur Rieser

It’s no mystery—Phyllis and Arthur Rieser are true ‘friends of the library’

Murderers, embezzlers, blackmailers—it’s a mystery lover’s paradise. The Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies is the home to this rogues gallery, thanks to the generosity of Phyllis and Arthur Rieser.

The couple, formerly of New York City, donated their collection of 10,000 mystery and adventure books to the library when they retired to Florida. The Friends of the University Libraries thanked them Nov. 15 at the annual Authors and Artists Recognition Reception in Jerome Library.

Among the 10,000 volumes given by the Riesers from their personal collection are first editions, early printings and trade editions, including true crime and fictional crime from about 1880 to the present.

Many of the couple’s personal favorites are represented in the collection, including authors Lawrence Block, Robert Crais, John Dickson Carr, Agatha Christie, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Ed McBain, Ellery Queen, Dorothy Sayers and Rex Stout.

The donation ranks among the largest single-genre collections given to the University and complements the nearly 50,000 mystery and crime books already in the Browne library, which houses one of the largest collections of the genre in the United States.

In seeking a home for their collection where it would be kept together and available to scholars and researchers, the Riesers were referred to BGSU by the Mystery Writers of America, explained Dr. Janet Parks, Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus, who presented the award.

The Friend of the Library Award is given annually to honor a University employee, student, community person or institution who has contributed substantially to the growth and development of the University Libraries.

In accepting the award, Phyllis Rieser said she and her husband were very impressed with the Browne library and had enjoyed touring it. “We wish we lived closer so we could visit more often,” she said, adding, “You deserve an award for having such a fabulous library.”

In addition to the Friend of the Library Award, 91 BGSU faculty and staff members were honored at the ceremony for their scholarly and creative accomplishments. Roger Anderson, president of the Friends and associate professor emeritus of political science, said the authors and artists recognition is “distinctive because it recognizes people across the University.”

November 20, 2006