Bob has seen us through many changes--most especially the planning and building of the new Sawyer Library. The old Sawyer Library, largely subterranean, at 8 Ashburton Place, was a challenge for both staff and library users. Bob tried to keep us ahead of the curve, especially in areas of technology--Sawyer Library was one of the first libraries to loan laptops to users and provide them with an in-house wireless network--but the old Sawyer Library was cramped, dark, and an awkward maze of underground floors and mezzanines with no room for new books or new electronics.
Bob worked tirelessly throughout 2004, 2005 and 2006 to get the library planned and built, often rushing back and forth from his Ashburton Place office to the construction site, hard hat in hand--see picture above of "Bob the Builder," hardhat adorned--to attend to every detail. The new library opened, appropriately enough, on Bob's birthday, May 15th, in 2006. (And one of his proudest accomplishments is that the project was on time, under budget, and the Library did not miss a single hour of regularly scheduled service.)
In the new library, Bob continued to keep technology current. Again, our library was an early adopter of several new technologies, including the now popular check-out Kindles. And did you know that Bob was also our IT guy? Bob has spent countless hours "re-ghosting" and repairing Library PCs, laptops, and printers, even filling paper trays, and changing toner. And he also helped many faculty members and departments with software problems and repairs, doing quite a few office and house calls over the years. Clearly, this was not your average--"Don't bother me, I'm thinking big thoughts, wearing my tie!"--library director.
To say he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty was an understatement. Which is not to say that Bob didn't, in fact, have "big thoughts." Bob has authored and co-authored a great many articles and books on library best practices. His publications include Action Plan for Outcomes Assessment in Your Library, U.S. Government on the Web, and Revisiting Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education. And his latest book, Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes just won a prestigious award at the latest ALA Convention.
Bob has even taught classes related to library management at our local "Library School," Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
Bob got into this library almost every morning, well before opening, to make sure that the library was ready to greet its public, and he stayed late many a night to set up for and supervise readings and events in the Poetry Center, a facility that he cared deeply about. Shooting video, lining up rows of chairs, Bob did everything he could to make every Poetry Center event a successful one.
His dedication and hard work are not to be questioned. Was he always the most warm and fuzzy boss to work for? I'd have to say no. (Sorry, Dude!) You really did not want to be the person to tell him another printer was broken or some act of petty vandalism had occurred. To this I can testify. But what this proved above all else is how deeply he cared about every printer, every light fixture, every database, and every resource this library offered to the Suffolk community.
That level of commitment and techno-savvy will be very difficult to find again.
So, thanks, Bob! All the best to you in Pensacola. Happy trails to you and to Peg (and your feline pals). And don't forget to crank up the Sugarland on the drive south.
[Bob's Farewell Party, hosted by Dean Greenberg, will be held in the Poetry Center on the Library's 3rd Floor at 3pm on Wednesday, July 7th. Please stop by and celebrate Bob's great service to the University and his future success! And if you can't make the fête--or even if you can--and you want to leave well wishes here, feel free to do so.]