Nov. 25, 1921 – July 31, 2013

Sister Mary Tiburtia Gorecki, FSSJ, who founded and designed the library at Hilbert College and directed it for 28 years, died Wednesday in the Colette Hilbert Care Community, Hamburg. She was 91.

Born Irene Gorecki in Baltimore, the youngest of 12 children, she entered the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph as an aspirant in 1936, became a postulant in 1939 and professed her final vows July 8, 1944.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Mount St. Joseph College, now Medialle College, and a master’s degree in library science from Marywood College in Scranton, Pa.

She told an interviewer in 1987 that she became a librarian by accident.

She was supposed to go to a college in Wisconsin to earn a degree in remedial reading, but a mistake in her transfer notice sent her to Marywood instead.

During her 47-year career in education, she served at Corpus Christi School in Buffalo, St. Vincent’s School in North Evans, St. Mary’s of the Lake School in Hamburg and in schools in Massachusetts and Michigan.

Assigned to Hilbert College as library director in 1962, she helped establish the Francis J. and Marie McGrath Library. She led the transfer of 40,000 books into the new library building in 1969, inaugurated several special book collections and was considered the library’s “heart and soul.”

For her first 10 years at the college, she also served as an instructor. She received Hilbert’s President’s Medal in 1972.

She also helped to set up libraries in elementary schools and high schools, at St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga and at Creekbend Heights in Hamburg.

She was active in the American Library Association and the New York Library Association, and had traveled out of state as a library consultant.

She also served as an officer in the Western New York Educational Communications Council and the Western New York Catholic Librarians Conference.

She retired from Hilbert in 1990 and became periodicals librarian at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora.

She had been a resident of the Colette Hilbert Health Center since 2004.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the chapel of Immaculate Conception Convent, 5229 South Park Ave., Hamburg.