The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Preserving the past for future generations

Patricia Zuccaro is the archivist at the City College Special Collections room. The room is adorned with history, including window panes from the original City College library. Photo by || Cecilio Padilla || [email protected]

Tucked away in the farthest corner of the Learning Resource Center on the third floor resides a true City College gem.

Lined with darkly varnished bookcases, it sits baked in morning sunlight.

This room is the Special Collections archive, a repository of over 90 years of information regarding the college’s history and its students.

The room’s sole occupant and guardian: Patricia Zuccaro.

Zuccaro came to City College in 1997 as the librarian and archivist tasked with organizing some 60 boxes of college archival material to make it accessible for research. Since coming to campus, Zuccaro has worked with numerous colleagues, as well as people in the community.

Jan Haag, chair of the City College Journalism Department, worked with Zuccaro on a book about the history of the college, and says she was impressed with the Special Collections Room, and with Zuccaro herself.

“She’s a delight to work with,” Haag says. “She’s fun, she’s funny, so knowledgeable, and so smart. She makes research an absolute joy.”

Haag was surprised to find Zuccaro went beyond providing information she needed for the project, but also helped by putting it in relation to other facts. She says Zuccaro used her own time to hunt down hard to find pieces of information.

“I could not have done that history project without Pat Zuccaro,” Haag says.

While Zuccaro says she finds her job fulfilling, her interest in history extends far beyond her position.

Before getting her master’s in library and information studies in 1996, Zuccaro received a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and worked for the National Parks Service for about 20 years. Her work took her to many western states, including Hawaii, where she lived for nine years.

While in Hawaii, Zuccaro practiced archeology and managed museum collections.

Her time working for the parks service inspired her to follow a career involving the past.
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“That actually set the foundation for the rest of my professional and personal life,” Zuccaro says.

She believes history can aid the future in not making the same mistakes as former generations, as well as reminding people of the better parts of our past.

“We have a responsibility,” Zuccaro says, “not only to preserve the past, but also the present for future generations.”

Aside from working at three local colleges as a librarian and archivist, Zuccaro spends her free time researching her family genealogy. Her interest in her family’s past took Zuccaro to Sicily in search of answers.

“What that has led to is I received my dual citizenship with Italy about a year ago,” Zuccaro says.

Although dual citizenship is a hard status to attain, Zuccaro says the challenge was worth it.

“I really enjoyed the process,” she says. “Getting all of my historic documents together, writing to Sicily, getting the documents, and then going to the Italian consulate in San Francisco and submitting all my applications.”

Zuccaro plans to return to Sicily this June to visit her ancestors’ villages outside the capital of Palermo.

Zuccaro believes more people will visit the Learning Resource Center in coming years and hopes one day to see permanent staffing in the Special Collections Room.

She sees history as an invaluable resource for students and anyone interested in the past.

Sandy Warmington, a City College librarian and reference coordinator, says she often refers students and faculty to Zuccaro for questions about the college’s history and the city itself.

“She is very helpful with the students, and very gracious about giving up her time,” Warmington says.

Zuccaro says, “I think that history defines who we are. What has gone on before us has laid the foundation for who we are today.”

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