Brooke E. Sheldon

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Brooke E. Sheldon, Dean and library educator passed away on February 11, 2013 after a long and courageous battle with uterine cancer. She was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on August 29, 1931, but spent most of her childhood in her beloved Nova Scotia – that “Kingdom by the Sea.” She was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard Hadley, Sr. and Elsie Ann Sutherland Earle, her husband, George, and brother Leonard Earle, Jr. and sister-in-law Eleanor (Mrs. John) Earle.

She is survived by her brother John and her sister, Barbara (Mrs. Eugene Hunter) and her sister-in-law Charlotte (Mrs. Leonard Earle), sons and their families, Scott and Susan Sheldon and Stephen and Maria Sheldon, and grandchildren George Matthew, Brooke Barrera, and Skyler Sutherland Sheldon and many nieces and nephews.

She attended Cambridge High and Latin School and earned her BA degree from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, her MLS degree from Simmons University, and her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. She began her library career as a young adult librarian at the Detroit Public Library and then became branch librarian of the Albuquerque Public Library. She also held positions at the Santa Fe Public Library as Children’s Coordinator and then as Head of the Children’s Department at the New Mexico State Library until she became Director of Library Development. She was Head of Technical Services and Training at the Alaska State Library, Associate Director for Training for the Leadership Training Institute at Florida State University under a grant for the U.S. Department of Education.

She began her library education career as Dean, School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University and was Acting Provost. She accepted a position as Dean and Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas at Austin. After her retirement from Austin, for three years she served as Interim Director and Professor, School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona. She continued teaching in the Executive MLIS program at San Jose State University and ended her teaching career as Visiting Scholar and Lecturer, The University of Alberta, School of Library and Information Studies.

Dr. Sheldon received many honors including Distinguished Alumni Awards from Simmons College and The University of Pittsburgh. She was granted a Doctor of Civil Laws (Hon.) from Acadia University. The Brooke E. Sheldon Endowed Professorship in Management and Leadership was established at the University of Texas, Austin. She was granted the Outstanding Lecturer Award from San Jose State University, and the Professional Service Award from the Association of Library and Information Science Educators, and the Library Leadership Award from the Arizona Library Association.

Her offices in professional associations included President of the American Library Association and during this term of office she traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad. She chaired ALA’s Committee on Accreditation and was co-founder of the Continuing Professional Education Round Table in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. She served on the Board of the Tocker Foundation and was an advisor and Board Member of the American Library in Paris. In retirement she served as President of the Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library and was on the board of the NM Library Foundation.

As an advocate for diversity, Dr. Sheldon recruited and supported minorities for the profession through her successful efforts to get funding as well as to hire minority faculty. She opened her home in Austin for those attending the first national conference of REFORMA and was always so supportive of the activities and efforts of REFORMA.

She has been listed in A Biographical Directory of Librarians in the United States and Canada, Who’s Who in Library and Information Services, Director of Library and Information Professionals, and Who’s Who in America.

Her list of publications include: Interpersonal Skills, Theory and Practice: The Librarians’ Guide to Becoming a Leader, The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts (with Ken Haycock), Leaders in Libraries: Styles and Strategies for Success, Delivering Lifelong Professional Education Across Space and Time (with Blanche Woolls).

Her overwhelming characteristic was her strength of personality vis a vis her friends, students, colleagues, and mentees. She expressed her heartfelt thanks to the many students and colleagues who recently wrote to her describing how her leadership and mentorship was instrumental in advancing their careers.

Her love of travel was interwoven with her professional interests and demands as she gave speeches and consulted in numerous countries including: China, Taiwan, England, France,Argentina, Romania, Sweden, Germany, and Japan. One of her great pleasures in retirement was to travel with friends to exotic locations around the world.

She was known for hosting spectacular parties for friends, students, and colleagues garnering her a reputation as a fun loving, free spirit who had an instant rapport with anyone she met.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers contributions in her memory be sent to the Brooke E. Sheldon Endowed Professorship in Management and Leadership at the University of Texas at Austin and the New Mexico Library Foundation. A memorial service for Dr. Sheldon will be held at the Santa Fe Public Library Southside Branch at 1:00 PM on March 3rd.


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