A Letter of Gratitude and Recognition
to Harold Billings and Joan Gotwals
This month has seen the retirement of two long-standing members
of the DLF's Steering Committee -- Harold Billings, Director of
General Libraries at The University of Texas at Austin, and
Joan Gotwals, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries at Emory
University. Both retired from their libraries at the beginning
of this month, and their energy, enthusiasm, and foresight will
be greatly missed in the DLF and in the larger library world.
I particularly value their kindness to me in my first year with
the DLF, and a tangible part of their legacies is the valued
and active roles their library staffs continue to play in DLF
initiatives and Forums.
Our very best wishes to you both for a healthy and active
retirement, from your friends, colleagues, and admirers
in the Digital Library Federation.
David Seaman, on behalf of the Executive Committee
and Steering Committee of the Digital Library Federation.
I take the liberty below of extracting some information from the news
accounts that accompanied their retirements.
Harold Billings has served the University of Texas at Austin
library system in various capacities since 1954, and was
Director of General Libraries at UTexas, Austin, from 1978-2003,
and oversaw a massive growth in collections and in digital
library technologies. During his tenure, the library collections
grew from four million to more than eight million volumes, and saw the
development of a rich and heavily-used digital library. Looking
back at his tenure, Harold chose to highlight another
achievement: "Of all the accomplishments of the past 25 years,
I am most pleased with the development of a superb staff, many now
recognized nationally for their expertise, who deserve the credit for
major, continuing improvements in library operations, programs
and services." During his earlier years at the university,
Billings helped Dr. Harry Ransom and his staff in the
acquisition processes that built the Humanities Research Center
(HRC) collections, and he established the library's Asian and
Middle East Collections in the late 1960s, as well as having a
leading role in the Mexican American Library Program.
His most recent publication is "Magic and Hypersystems:
Constructing the Information-Sharing Library" (Chicago: ALA, 2002),
and the University of Texas at Austin GSLIS established
"The Harold Billings Fellowship for the Study of Library and
Information Science" in his honor in 2000.
Joan Gotwals retires after 14 years as Emory University's Vice
Provost and Director of Libraries, overseeing the central library,
plus the health sciences, law, theology, math and science, and
Oxford libraries. "My experience at Emory has been very satisfying,"
she says, I've had wonderful support from the University
administration and from faculty." Gotwals' time at Emory saw the
creation of The Center for Library and Information Sources
(CLAIR) in 1998, bringing together the academic side of
information technology with the library. The InfoCommons area of
Woodruff Library is one of the campus' focal points of research
and service. "We've made Emory Libraries much more visible on
the national scene, as well as within the Emory community,"
Gotwals said. "I think the libraries are becoming much more
central to everything people do." Gotwals' tenure also
witnessed the opening of the Marian K. Heilbrun Music and
Media Library in 2001 and the Math and Science Library this
past August. Next year, the renovation of Candler Library will
be complete, providing a grand reading room for all members of
the Emory community. The past 14 years also have seen the libraries'
holdings rise from 2 million to 2.7 million volumes, and Emory's
Special Collections in the areas of modern English language
literature and African-American collections are among the
finest anywhere, Gotwals said. Prior to coming to Emory,
Gotwals spent 26 years working in the library system of the
University of Pennsylvania, where she earned Bachelor's,
Master's and Doctoral degrees in political science. She is
also part of the original group of sixteen founding members of
the Digital Library Federation, in 1995.
Executive Director, Digital Library Federation
1755 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
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