Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
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CLAUD GLENN SPARKS
Claud Glenn Sparks was born on October 21, 1922, to Claud C. and Mamie Shoemake Sparks at Commerce, Texas, where he grew up. He received a bachelor of science degree from East Texas State College in 1941 and immediately entered military service. He served in the European theater of operations with the Headquarters, Advance Section Communications Zone, and, at the end of the war, with the Army-Navy Liquidation Commission until his discharge in November 1945. From January 1946 to June 1948, he was employed as an administrative officer in the Veterans Administration Branch Office in Da1las.
Sparks then entered the graduate program in English at Texas Christian University and received a master of arts degree in 1949. He completed a year of post-master's study at the University of Oklahoma, 1950-1951, fo1lowed by a master of library science degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1952. During his time at Texas he became passionate about the value of libraries in the cultural life of society and dedicated his career to furthering, by example, the critical role of libraries and the educational preparation of librarians and, later, information scientists. Among his positions as a library practitioner, 1952-1965, were reference assistant at the University of Illinois in Urbana and director of libraries at Texas Christian University for thirteen years.
In 1965 he went to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor to complete studies toward a doctor of philosophy degree in library science. Upon graduation in 1967, he turned to education for librarianship as professor and dean of the newly accredited master's program in the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas).
He became a professor in the Graduate School of Library Science at The University of Texas at Austin in 1971 and was promoted to dean of that school in 1973 after a year as acting dean. A member of Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan, he insisted on the highest academic performance by faculty and students alike at UT. At the time he returned to full-time teaching and research in 1982, the information science segment of the program had grown to an academic specialization supported by several of the school's faculty who were information scientists. Also, the library science faculty had integrated information science principles and technology into all its courses. From 1982 until his retirement in 1995, he taught courses in management of all types of information agencies and a course for students who planned to become academic librarians.
Glenn Sparks will be remembered for his examples of absolute integrity, thoroughness, and precision, and for his long-range thinking. He had the gift of being able to analyze quickly a complex situation and to see the core and essence of an issue. His quiet, composed manner sometimes disguised his strength in strategic planning and participatory management, and his dry wit. However, when an issue of principle was involved, he fought intensely. His generosity in mentoring is noteworthy.
His contributions received recognition at the University and in the national library profession. In 1984 he received a Texas Excellence Teaching Award from the Alumni Association of The University of Texas at Austin. In 1992, the alumni association of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science honored him for forty years of service to the school. After his retirement in 1995, the C. Glenn Sparks Endowed Presidential Scholarship was established by alumni and friends of the school to honor him as a “devoted professor and dean.” The Texas Library Association honored him as its “Librarian of the Year'' in 1983 “in recognition of superior achievement, dedication to the profession, and contribution toward the improvement of library science in Texas.”
In the American Library Association and the American Association of Library Schools, he worked for betterment of library education nationally. He was the director of the American Association of Library Schools from 1973-1975. He collected, analyzed, interpreted, and published statistics of all library education agencies in the nation for several years.
In 1977 he brought to UT the library science periodical Libraries and Culture (formerly Journal of Library History), one of four refereed scholarly journals in the profession. He served as a member of the Editorial Board of the journal from 1976 to 1995, and was acting editor in 1980-1981. His principal research interests were in library history and biography, library management, and library and information science education. In addition to publishing several chapter-length biographies over the years, Sparks was pleased that his revised dissertation appeared in 1993 as a substantial volume published by Scarecrow Press of Metuchen, N.J. Entitled Doyen of Librarians: A Biography of William Warner Bishop, this study of one of the prominent library figures of the twentieth century was a welcome and acclaimed addition to biographical literature of the profession. His contribution to management literature centered on strategic planning and the improvement of schools library and information science.
C. Glenn Sparks died on Saturday, November 3, 2001. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Lou Turner Sparks, and their daughter, Anne Frances Sparks Lightfield, and her husband Thomas. Memorial contributions are designated for the C. Glenn Sparks Presidential Endowed Scholarship in the School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin.
Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Donald G. Davis, Jr., Julie Hallmark, Billie Grace Herring, and Heartsill Young.