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University at Buffalo Libraries

University Archives

Library Directors

Ruth Bartholomew, University Librarian, appointed 1922

Archives record collection: 13/3/83

Bartholomew served the University Libraries for 42 years. Appointed to the newly created position of University Librarian in 1922, Bartholomew began her career in the Arts and Sciences Library, which was then housed in Townsend Hall. Under her leadership the library collections grew to 85,000 volumes.

With the expansion of the University Libraries and the opening of Lockwood Memorial Library in the mid-1930s, Bartholomew assumed the post of Associate Librarian after Charles Abbott took over as Library Director.

An important figure in the history of the Libraries, Bartholomew helped organize the Friends of Lockwood Library and set up the Libraries' first instruction course in the early 1920s and later helped the Libraries adopt the Library of Congress classification system for call numbers.

The Ruth Bartholomew Conference Room, in Capen Hall, named in honor of this important figure in the history of Libraries at UB was dedicated on September 25, 1983

Charles Abbott, Director of Libraries, 1934-1960

Archives record collection: 13/2/86

Although Abbott began his teaching career as an instructor in the Department of English, he became first an associate professor, then a full professor, and then Director of University Libraries in 1934.

He received his bachelor's degree from Haverford College and his master's degree from Columbia University. He was also a Rhodes Scholar, studying at New College, Oxford.

An authority on modern poetry, Abbott was a prolific book collector and the founder the University's Twentieth-Century Poetry in English Collection.

He was also a figure of great stature within the University community who fostered academic discourse on all levels. Abbott is credited with drawing international attention to the University. Because of his influence, many poets spent time at the University.

Abbott retired from his position of Director a year before his death. The Lockwood Memorial Library on South Campus was renamed Abbott Hall on January 26, 1977 in honor of this important figure in the history of the University.

Oscar Silverman, Director of Libraries, 1960-1968

Archives record collection: 13/2/99

Educated at Yale University and the University of Wisconsin, Oscar Silverman was a well-known scholar of English literature. He became a UB faculty member in 1926 and was Chairman of the Department of English from 1955 until 1963.

Silverman played a great role in acquiring the James Joyce manuscripts held in the Poetry Collection, as well as the Robert Graves Collection and the manuscripts of Wyndham Lewis. In 1964 he was honored for "distinguished professional accomplishment in the humanities" by the College of Arts and Science on its 50th Anniversary.

Silverman retired in 1968 after reaching his goal of bringing the Libraries' collections to one million volumes. During his directorship the Libraries' holdings grew from 375,000 volumes to the impressive figure of one million volumes.

The Oscar A. Silverman Undergraduate Library, named in honor of this important figure in the history of Libraries at UB, was dedicated on September 25, 1983.

Myles Slatin, Director of Libraries, 1968-1972

Joining the University faculty as a professor in the Department of English in 1952, Slatin held positions of Assistant, Associate, and Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences before becoming Director of University Libraries, which was part of his larger title of Coordinator of Communications Resources.

While he was Director, the Library suffered from budget cuts and hiring freezes. Slatin was instrumental in establishing criteria and procedures for promotion and tenure after SUNY Librarians were granted academic status in September of 1968. As Director, Stalin also began the planning for the Libraries' presence on the Amherst campus.

Eldred Smith, Director of Libraries, 1972-1976

Smith received bachelor and Master of Arts in English from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Library Science from the University of Southern California. Before coming to the University Smith worked at Long Beach State and San Francisco State College Libraries and at the UC Berkeley Libraries in various positions.

Smith was key in planning for the Libraries' move to the new campus in Amherst, which is now known as North Campus. He was also instrumental in the reorganization of the Libraries into units and is credited with establishing a series of assistant directorships within the University Libraries. While director, Smith was elected to the Board of Directors of the Center for Research Libraries.

After leaving UB in 1976, Smith became the Director of Libraries for the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

George S. Bobinski, Acting Director of Libraries, Summer and Fall 1972, 1976-1977

Bobinski, who was Dean of the School of Information and Library Studies (now the School of Informatics), served as acting director between the directorships of Slatin and Smith and again after Smith's resignation. He edited the Dictionary of American Library Biography (1978), which was the first scholarly dictionary of past American library leaders. After his stint as head of the Libraries, he returned to the School of Information and Library Science. He recently published "A History of the School of Information and Library Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1966-1999)," in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science.

Saktidas Roy, Director of Libraries, 1977-1985

After joining the staff of the University Libraries in 1973 as Assistant Director for Technical Services, Roy was named Acting Director of University Libraries in February 1977 and Director in June 1978.

Roy completed his undergraduate education in India at Calcutta University and received his Masters of Library Science from Simmons College. Roy began his library work in the United States Information Library in Calcutta, India. He had also served in the library systems of the University of California, Harvard University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and at the American Studies Research Center in Hyderabad, India.

Roy saw the Libraries through their relocation to the University's new campus. During his tenure, the State University of New York at Buffalo Libraries became the 29th member of the Research Libraries Group (RLG) (Sept 1984) and its collections reached two million volumes (Sept 1981). Also at this time, the Libraries' saw the implementation of a Geac automated circulation system and the retrospective conversion and other steps leading to the implementation of an integrated library system.

John Naylor, Interim Director of Libraries, 1985-1986

record collection 22/6F/827

A professor of History who came to the University in 1967, Naylor was appointed Interim Director of University Libraries in 1985. Naylor received his bachelor's degree from Hamilton College and his master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. His research focuses on European History. Although Naylor taught history at both Harvard and Buffalo, he also held a number of other administrative posts before heading the Libraries including those of Associate and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Barbara von Wahlde, Associate Vice President for University Libraries, 1986-2006

Von Wahlde came to UB as the Director of University Libraries from the University of Michigan where she served as Associate Director for Technical Services. After earning her bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University, von Wahlde held library positions at Indiana, the Universities of West Florida, Southern Mississippi, and Maine and Yale University.

During the summer of 1985, she was selected to participate in a Senior Fellows Program at UCLA as well as administration development programs sponsored by the Council on Library Resources and the Association of Research Libraries. Von Wahlde has taken a lead in considering issues related to copyright, intellectual property rights, and alternative means of scholarly communication.

In 1987, von Wahlde acquired the title of Associate Vice President for University Libraries. The acquisition of the three millionth and three million and first volumes in the University at Buffalo Libraries was celebrated in 1996 as well as the University sesquicentennial. During her tenure, BISON (Buffalo Information System ONline) was implemented and the Libraries' strengthened its ties to CIT (Computing and Information Technology).

From 2005 to 2006, von Wahlde accepted a visiting scholar appointment in Turkey teaching and giving lectures at the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) and Bilkent University in Ankara. There she also pursued research opportunities focusing on how students and academics use libraries in Turkey and their expectations for technology, infrastructure and print and digital collections.

Steve Roberts, Associate Vice President for University Libraries, 2006-2010

Stephen Roberts' career in the University Libraries spanned thirty-three years. He served as Associate Director of University Libraries from 1986 to 2005 and was responsible for the development of a plan for automating all library functions and services. In 2005 he was named Acting Associate Vice President during Barbara von Wahlde's visiting scholar appointment in Turkey. He became Associate Vice President in 2006. The Libraries Annex, a high density storage facility, was opened during his administration.

H. Austin Booth, Vice Provost for University Libraries, 2010-

Austin Booth, who holds the rank of full librarian, joined UB in 1997 and received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Librarianship in 2005. Prior to her appointmentt, Booth served as Interim Associate Vice President for University Libraries, Director of Collections and Co-Director of the Arts and Sciences Libraries.

Her research focuses on digital culture, and on higher education and information technology. She earned a master's degree in library and information science from the University of California-Berkeley and holds a master's degree in English language and literature and a graduate certificate in women's studies from the University of Michigan, where she was named University Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor and held a Mellon Fellowship. She received bachelor's degrees in English and economics from Cornell University.