Oral Histories — Commemorating ASERL’s Past

A colorful past, an active present, a bright future

NEWS! ASERL expands its oral history collection.  (April 26, 2022)


ASERL was founded in February 1956 at the then-new Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach. For many years, ASERL was an all-volunteer organization, serving as an informal networking and social channel for research library deans in the Southeastern US. Among its accomplishments, ASERL played a role in securing faculty status for research librarians in the 1960s. ASERL also founded SOLINET (now a part of LYRASIS) in 1973, and was a pioneer in reciprocal resource sharing and group licensing for e-resources.

On its tenth anniversary in 1966, ASERL leaders documented the organization’s early history. That publication has been digitized by Virginia Commonwealth University and can be found at https://digital.library.vcu.edu/islandora/object/vcu%3A6308

To commemorate ASERL’s 60th anniversary, in 2016 the ASERL Board of Directors created an agreement with the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries to create and host audio and video oral histories from ASERL leaders, both past and present.  Jennifer Bartlett served as Visiting Program Officer for this endeavor.  This partnership was renewed in 2022, with another dozen interviews being added to the collection.

The full listing of these interviews can be found here.  Each interview is divided into sections focusing on themes that emerged during the interview.

barry-baker-300x300Barry Baker, Dean of Libraries, University of Central Florida, 1997-2020.
D_FerrieroDavid Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, 2009-present; University Librarian at Duke University, 1996-2004.
j-boykin Joe Boykin, Dean of Libraries, Clemson University, 1982-2006.
p-ghermanPaul Gherman, University Librarian, Vanderbilt University, 1996-2009.
f-grishamFrank Grisham, Director, Joint University Libraries / Vanderbilt University Library, 1968-1982; Executive Director, SOLINET, 1982-1994.  (Frank Grisham passed away in October 2020 at age 92.)
p-kaufmanPaula Kaufman, Dean of Libraries, University of Tennessee, 1988-1999
k-nevinsKate Nevins, Executive Director, SOLINET, 1991 – 2009; CEO, LYRASIS, 2009-2015.
r-russellRalph Russell, Director, Georgia State University Libraries, 1975 -1997.
j-stephensJerry W. Stephens, Library Director, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1985-2014.
 p-willis-scPaul Willis, Director of Libraries, University of Kentucky (1973-2002); Dean of Libraries, University of South Carolina (2002-2007).

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