Shank, Russell, the chief librarian at UCLA 1977-1989 was known as a staunch supporter of Amendment No. 1 to the rights of all libraries and the early proponents of the technology as a way to improve library services , has died. He was 86 years.
Shank, professor emeritus at the UCLA Graduate School of Education Science and Information that was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1970, died June 26 at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, said his daughter, Susan.
A former president of the American Library Association., Shanks died three days after his electric scooter down and struck his head against the concrete while attending the group's convention in Anaheim. Although not shown signs of trauma, the daughter said, fell into a coma in his hotel room that night.
"I always hoped this convention," said Susan Shank, who accompanied his father. "What better way out of a library, an ALA convention after talking with his friends and colleagues."
Before being appointed university librarian at UCLA, Shank spent a decade as the first director of libraries at the Smithsonian Institute, where he began to automate tasks and create the first centralized catalog of its more than 80 libraries independent.
As chief librarian at UCLA, has treated about 19 libraries on campus.
Mango, who had a degree in electrical engineering, which had a strong interest in computers, said Gloria Werner, who worked with him at UCLA before him as a librarian at the university.
"That's why we have automated many of the functions of the library," said Werner. "A lot of other people were not so eager to get their feet wet in the world of computers. He had a huge impact on trends in libraries now take for granted. It was gradual, and not always easy if you were running a huge library system. "
Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom American Library Association., Said Shank was "one of the true giants in the field of university libraries."
"He stood for the practice of good management in research libraries," he said. "He has promoted research libraries in this country as the backbone of U.S. preeminence in the sciences, social sciences and the arts."
After a fire that damaged the historic Los Angeles Central Library in 1986, Mango has invited two groups of reference librarians who were housed there and moved to the Powell Library at UCLA.
"As a young librarian, I thought it was an extremely generous thing to do," said Jones. "Instead of a gang war between public and academic libraries, Russell Shank had the information needs of the community in mind."
In 1990, he received the stem of Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements by academic librarians who have contributed significantly to improvements in the field of library development and library management and research.
In the same year he received the freedom to read list of Honor Award from the Foundation.
"He really believed in freedom of expression and libraries - and that libraries are places where there would be no restriction on what people read or what kind of research they could do," said Jones, who also is executive director of Freedom to Read Foundation, a legal arm of the library association.
Shank was born September 2, 1925, in Spokane, Washington, and served in the Navy during World War II.
Early in his career, Shank was an assistant professor of library at UC Berkeley and worked in the faculty of Columbia University school library.
Shank divorced. Besides his daughter Susan, will survive his other sons, Peter and Judith Shank Twist, and three grandchildren.
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