WHO HE IS: Kasten, a native New Yorker, is head of Reference and Collection Development at Burke Library.
YEARS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: This October marks his 35th year at Columbia.
WHAT HE DOES: Kasten specializes in the subjects of Liturgy and Sacred Music.
BEFORE THIS: Kasten pursued simultaneous degrees at the Columbia University School of Library Service and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary. As a student, he worked at the Manhattan School of Music Library. “So I suppose you could say that I have been here longer than 35 years.”
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: After the major renovation of Burke Library in the 80’s, the Pastor of Corpus Christi Church, the late Myles Bourke, attended the dedication ceremony of the new reading room. “He went around the room and blessed the books with a branch dipped in holy water.”
BEST PART OF THE JOB: Experiencing the satisfaction of the patrons and working with the largest collection in its field in the Western Hemisphere. Kasten enjoys the fact that the small Burke community allows him to get to know students on a first-name basis. “Of course, being part of the larger Columbia Libraries community allows me access to the wider world of all subjects beyond theology. I enjoy getting to know the other Columbia librarians.”
IN HIS SPARE TIME: Kasten leads the Men’s Schola Cantorum, a small group that sings Gregorian chants that he founded fifteen years ago. He also sings with two church choirs and is studying the clavichord. Kasten’s interests have extended to the culture of India, and he has visited the subcontinent seven times.