Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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Brooke E. Sheldon was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1931, the youngest of four children of Leonard Hadley Sr. and Elsie Ann Sutherland Earle. Two years later, in the midst of the depression, her family relocated back to her parents’ home area in Nova Scotia. A student of a one-room school house, she was a precocious and avid reader, an attribute that prefigured her lifelong connection to libraries with their staffs and services. With her father’s early death, when she was six years old, she also learned how to thrive and survive in difficult times; lessons that she would relive in her adult life. Her mother and her new stepfather brought the family back to the United States, and Brooke graduated from Cambridge High and Latin School in Massachusetts at age sixteen and completed her undergraduate degree at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, before she was twenty. She was the first female editor of her college’s one hundred and ten-year-old newsletter, evidence of her tenacity and ability to succeed in leadership roles—a strong theme in her later research, teaching, and numerous professional presentations.

Brooke’s first career was in publishing. Early on, she took an advertising position with the Atlantic Monthly, but she quickly returned to her studies, completing a master’s degree in library science in 1954 at Simmons College. Her professional work included positions as a young adult librarian at the Detroit Public Library. Relocating to accommodate her husband—military service and law school education and practice—Brooke worked as librarian at air force base libraries in Colorado Springs and Germany, as branch librarian with the Albuquerque Public Library, as adult services coordinator for the Santa Fe Public Library, in positions with both the New Mexico State Library and the Alaska State Library, and she directed training for a federally funded leadership training institute at Florida State University.

In the midst of her work, raising two boys, and caring for her husband following a head injury from a car accident, Brooke was offered a doctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Before she defended her dissertation, she accepted her first appointment in academia as professor and dean of the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Women’s University (TWU). She stayed at TWU from 1977 to 1990, which also included one and a half years as acting provost. In 1990, she was appointed professor and dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (now, the School of Information) at The University of Texas at Austin, a position she held for five years. She postponed her retirement from UT Austin for one semester to lead the School through a successful accreditation review process. From Austin, she relocated to Tucson, Arizona, where she served as interim director and professor in the School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona. While at Arizona, she was instrumental in establishing Knowledge River, a nationally recognized scholarship and mentoring program that helps prepare librarians who focus on services with Latino and American Indian communities. She retired once more and then completed her academic career as a lecturer in the Executive MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) program in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at San Jose State University, where she was recognized with a 2008 SLIS Outstanding Lecturer Award and as a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer in the School of Library and Information studies at the University of Alberta.

While at UT Austin, Brooke acquired the preservation and conservation program from Columbia University, launched distance delivery courses to students in El Paso and San Antonio, and hired and mentored new faculty members and students. She is recognized within the school by the Brooke E. Sheldon Endowed Professorship of Management and Leadership.

Brooke served as the 1983-4 president of the American Library Association (ALA). She held other key roles in ALA, including chairing a task force that developed ALA’s first strategic plan and chairing the Committee on Accreditation. She received a number of awards, including those from her alma maters—the Doctor of Civil Laws (honoris causa) from Acadia University and distinguished alumna from both Simmons College and the University of Pittsburgh, the Library Leadership Award from the Arizona Library Association, and the Professional Service Award from the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). Within the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), she co-founded the Continuing Professional Education Round Table. Her service to library development in the State of Texas included co-chairing the Texas Pre-White House Conference on School Libraries, chairing the Texas State Library and Archives Commissions’ Library Systems Act Advisory Board, and being a member of the Board of Directors of the Tocker Foundation. She was also a trustee at the American Library in Paris.

Brooke was a warm, enthusiastic, and charismatic speaker, trainer, and consultant. Many of her publications focused on the topics related to leadership.

She died at the Sheldon compound in her beloved Santa Fe on February 11, 2013. She passed on her terms: independent in her house, and safe in the loving arms of her family and dear friends. She leaves to cherish her memory her sons, Scott (and Susan) and Stephen (and Maria); one granddaughter (Brooke) and two grandsons (Matthew and Skyler); her brother, John; and her sister, Mrs. Eugene Hunter.

In addition, her impact will be seen forever through the lives, loves, and achievements of her colleagues and students to whom Brooke will always remain vibrant, supportive, and a good listener. Above all, she made people feel valued and important.



William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin


Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Professors Loriene Roy (chair), Philip Doty, and Barbara Immroth.