April 20, 2024

A Disturbance In The Force

I received some shocking, disturbing, unwelcome4382779679_4145e11087_m news yesterday. Apparently during a “routine” biopsy, Gail Schlachter passed away at the young age of 72. I will not recite the litany of her achievements here, which can be read in part on her biography web page. I prefer to provide a brief personal view of a life well-lived.

Gail was the kind of person who was always glad to see you. If she ever didn’t smile I don’t know about it.

She was giving to a fault. When my mentor Anne Lipow retired from UC Berkeley and started a consulting business, Gail was there with advice and assistance on how to start a successful publishing business. Anne credited Gail with providing essential guidance and support. They were steadfast friends until Anne’s untimely passing from cancer.

Later I came to know Gail’s daughter, Sandy Hirsh. Sandy is an accomplished librarian in her own right and now Dean of the library School at San Jose State. If you know Sandy you know that Gail clearly did something right.

Yesterday the Twitterverse and Facebooklandia were abuzz with anguished cries from librarians all over. There are good reasons for that. Gail was a giant in the profession, and active in so many areas, from professional publishing to ALA governance. To say that she will be missed is a serious understatement.

Rather, there has been a disturbance in The Force.

Image by Konrad Summers, Creative Commons License CC-BY-SA 2.0

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Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.