Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Louis Round Wilson, Library Educator

Although he was affiliated directly with only two American library institutions, Louis Round Wilson (1876-1979) had a significant impact on the entire library world. Today is the 135th anniversary of his birth. Wilson became Librarian of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1901 at the age of 25. While at UNC he founded their library school in 1931. His contribution at UNC was significant enough to have the library building at UNC which he helped build named for him. In 1932 he joined the library school at the University of Chicago as Dean. He retired from the University of Chicago in 1942, but returned to the University of North Carolina where he engaged in a variety of post-retirement activities for another 30 years. He died in December, 1979, just days shy of his 103rd birthday. Along the way, he helped found the North Carolina Library Association in which he served as President in 1909, 1920-21, and 1929-30. He was also active in the American Library Association and served as its President in 1935-36. Maurice F. Tauber is author of a biography about Wilson titled Louis Round Wilson, Librarian and Administrator (Columbia Univ. Press, 1967). In his biography Tauber referred to Wilson as the dean of American university librarianship, but indicated that he was concerned with librarianship in all types of institutions. He quoted Robert Burton House who said Wilson was "one of the most constructive persons of his generation in the entire university world."

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