Longtime ALA Member Norman Horrocks Dies at 82

October 15, 2010

ALA is mourning the loss of Norman Horrocks, professor emeritus, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who died peacefully during the night October 14 at age 82, according to his daughter Sara Horrocks. A favorite among many ALA members and a member of ALA’s governing Council for 21 years, Horrocks received the Association’s highest honor—Honorary Member—in 2004 and was a well-known expert on ALA’s constitution and by-laws.

As word of his death at the age of 82 spread, comments from members of the Association’s governing Council included:

“What a wonderful, kind, and generous man. He mentored so many of us in how to find our way through by-laws and the policy manual, how to put together a good resolution and contribute to a reasoned discussion, and how to be good councilors—and by example, good people.”—Larry Romans, Vanderbilt University Libraries.

“What Norman knew about ALA history will probably never be surpassed.”—Sue Kamm, Inglewood/Los Angeles.

“I first was privileged to know Norman through work on Reference Books Bulletin, and his wonderful analytic mind and graceful writing provided many useful and delightful reviews. But it is his work on Council that will be most remembered. He was so kind, such a mentor and supporter of librarians new to the profession, a special friend.”—Patricia Hogan, ALA Executive Board.

“Few people in our lives touch so many of us as deeply as Norman did. As a Council ‘groupie’ in the early 1980s, I first saw Norman and the role he played in our Association. Then, like so many of you, I had the opportunity to get to know him, learn from him, and be mentored by him. He was not only a giant in our profession but also one of the most generous, kind, and thoughtful individuals whom I have ever known. What a gift it was to have him in our lives!”—Molly Raphael, ALA President-Elect.

Noting that Horrocks was currently serving as a 2010–11 member of the Association’s newly formed Retired Members Round Table Board, ALA Librarian Karen Muller observed, “This says something about his zest for working on new things and always being willing to lend his expertise in new ways.”

The following is the obituary forwarded by the Horrocks family:

Norman Horrocks, OC, PhD, FCLIP, Professor Emeritus, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University. Born Manchester, England, October 18, 1927. Died Halifax, Nova Scotia, October 14, 2010, aged 82.

Norman began his career in libraries in Manchester, England, from 1945–53, interrupted by three years in the British Army’s Intelligence Corps. He then worked in Cyprus, Western Australia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before joining Dalhousie in 1971. He became director of the School of Library and Information Studies (now the School of Information Management) and was later dean of the Faculty of Management. He left Halifax in 1986 to become editorial vice president of Scarecrow Press in Metuchen, New Jersey, where he also was an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, until he returned to Nova Scotia in 1995.

In 2006, Norman was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his lifetime devotion to library and information science. In 2004 Norman was awarded the International Kaula Gold Medal and was the only person to have been elected to Honorary Membership in the three national library associations—Canadian, British, and American. Norman also received awards from the American Library Association, the Association for Library and Information Science Education, the Atlantic Provinces Library Association, Beta Phi Mu (the international honour society for library and information studies), Dalhousie University School of Information Management Association Alumni, the New Jersey Library Association, the Nova Scotia Library Association, and both Pittsburgh and Rutgers universities. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of library science, the Nova Scotia Library Association established the Norman Horrocks Award for Library Leadership in 2003.

Norman was an enthusiastic pioneer of social networking. His ability to remember names and faces, to make connections across continents—in person, by email, and via the sharing of newspaper clippings—will long be remembered by his students, colleagues, family, and friends.

In addition to his professional career, Norman was an active community member, volunteering with the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, Halifax Regional Public Libraries, and Banook Canoe Club. Paramount in Norman’s life was his love of soccer—he was an avid Manchester United fan. He rarely missed a game and kept up with the scores even in hospital. Norman is survived by wife Sandra, daughter Julie (Cameron Shelley and their daughter Corinna), Guelph, Ontario; Scott (sons Carl and Logan), Ottawa; Gina, New Mexico; Annie (Rob Baert, children Nick, Bethany, and Lily), Dartmouth; Sarah (children Sammy, Elijah, Caleb, and Chloe), Cole Harbour. Norman is also survived by many relatives in the United Kingdom, including his sisters Muriel Jacquin and Elsie Quinn and brother-in-law Philip Humphreys. Norman was predeceased by his parents, Edward and Annie (Barnes), and his sister Doris Humphreys. Special thanks to the nurses and staff on floor 8.1 of the Halifax Infirmary, who took such good care of Norman and his family during his illness.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, October 19 at Saint James United Church, 181 Portland St., Dartmouth, Reverend Glenn MacLean officiating. As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made to the Dalhousie Horrocks National Leadership Fund c/o Office of External Relations, Dalhousie University, or to a charity of your choice.