Director of University Libraries, Emeritus Norman D. Stevens

The UConn Library is a special place to many people but we can’t think of anyone that has dedicated more of their life to the Library and the institution of librarianship, than Norman Stevens. Our former director passed away Saturday and since that time we have been reflective on his life and legacy. Anyone who knew Norman will not be surprised to know his obituary, which is below, was well organized and full of details that sum up the many positions he held, accolades, and accomplishments. What he left out, in our humble opinion, is the true sense of loss we feel as an institution for a man that would do anything for the UConn Library, and the loss we feel personally in our hearts as we share this.

Our condolences to Nora, David, Sara, Elizabeth and all his family and friends. We are a better library, and a better people, for knowing Norman.


Norman Stevens, 1987. Courtesy of Archives & Special Collections.

Norman D. Stevens, 86, son of the late David and Ruth Stevens, completed his life on December 15, 2018. He is survived by his wife Nora, son David (wife Sandra), daughters Sara, and Elizabeth (husband Thomas Breen); grandchildren Chelsea (husband Patrick Leishman), Nathan Breen (wife Oana), and Zoe Breen; and great-grandchild Luca Breen.

Norman was born and raised in Nashua, NH and began his library career in 1949. He worked at the Library of Congress while attending American Univ. part-time. He received his B.A. in Government from the Univ. of NH in 1954 and spent a year at Victoria Univ. College in New Zealand as a Fulbright Scholar. He received an M.A. in Library Service from Rutgers Univ. in 1957 and received their first Ph.D. in Library Service in 1961. In 1989 he received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Norman worked at Rutgers University Library from 1955-1957 and was Acting Director of Howard Univ. Libraries in Washington, D. C. from 1961-1963. He was a member of the administrative staff of the Rutgers Univ. Libraries from 1963-1968. He started at the Univ. of CT in 1968, where he held various administrative positions before being appointed as Director of University Libraries. He was honored as Director of University Libraries, Emeritus in 1994 upon retirement. He served as Acting Director of the newly created Thomas J. Dodd Research Center until 1995.

Norman was an early advocate of computer technology in libraries for data management, shared cataloging and research applications. He served on the Board of the New England Library Information Network and was president of the board from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. He was a member and chair of the Board of the Connecticut Library Information Network during its formative years and oversaw the UConn Libraries participation in OCLC: Online Computer Library Center.

He participated in planning and implementing UConn’s Homer Babbidge Library from 1975-1978, the largest new university research library building in the nation at that time. He oversaw the renovation of that building in the 1990s. He directed the planning and construction of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and the Music Library. He was involved in the early planning to improve library facilities at the university’s regional campuses.

CT Children’s Book Fair, 2013. UConn Library photo.

Norman, as administrator, was active in establishing and developing the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection (NCLC) in the Dodd Research Center, now among the nation’s major collections of books, original art and manuscripts from distinguished children’s authors and illustrators. He was an active member of the American Book Collectors of Children’s Literature and served as president. As a member of the University Libraries Exhibits Committee, Norman organized dozens of exhibits in both the Babbidge Library and the Dodd Center, continuing to volunteer into his retirement.

Norman was an informative and entertaining contributor to the professional library literature for 60+ years. He authored seven books, hundreds of articles and reviews, and an assortment of library ephemera. In the mid-1950s he and a colleague established the prestigious Molesworth Institute, a fictional organization devoted exclusively to the promotion of library humor. As Molesworth Director, he wrote many satirical articles on aspects of librarianship, and the Institute’s Library Humor Archives are housed with his personal papers in the University Archives at the Dodd Research Center. Dr. Stevens is now Director, in Perpetuity, of The Molesworth Institute at The University of the Great Beyond.

Norman and Nora Stevens, 2006. UConn Library photo.

Norman assembled a collection of thousands of postcards, commemoratives, souvenirs and artifacts relating to the history of librarians, library collections and library architecture, which are housed in the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, and wrote A Guide to Collecting Librariana, the first book on the subject. His voluminous collection of children’s literature about books, reading, librarians and libraries is part of the NCLC. Norman collected crafts, inspired in part by the activities of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. Since the 1970s he supported awards and donated objects to the league’s permanent collection. Norman’s hand-carved 9” wooden spoon collection and related documentation will become part of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.

Initiated in 2005, the spoon collection illustrates Norman’s special ability to discover and support the work of creative people. It required him to identify and contact hundreds of talented artisans from around the globe, enlisting them in the creation of a unique and beautiful collection, forging lasting friendships along the way. Norman’s endlessly inventive mind and his kind and generous personality will be remembered by everyone who had the good fortune to know him.

In lieu of flowers, please share a reminiscence on Norman’s page at A celebration of Norman’s life will be planned for the Spring.

Former Network Services Librarian, Terry Plum

With sadness, we relay the news that former staff member Terry Plum has passed away after battling brain cancer. Our condolences to his family and friends.

Stephen (Terry) Plum

Terry Plum, the UConn Libraries Network Services Librarian from 1990-2000, passed away peacefully on December 10th after battling brain cancer for two years. During his 10-year tenure with the UConn Libraries, Terry led the Libraries in presenting a wide array of networked electronic resources to support the UConn community through various information networking solutions, including a Novell CD-ROM LAN, modems, gopher, and web topologies.

Terry was recruited to UConn from Middlebury College, where he served as a Reference and Bibliographic Instruction Librarian. Prior to that, he worked as a Reference/Instruction Librarian at Plattsburgh State University. Terry earned a Bachelor’s Degree at Middlebury College, a Master’s Degree in Librarianship at the University of Washington, and an MA in Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

After leaving UConn in 2000, he joined the faculty at the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science in Boston. During his 14 years at Simmons SLIS, Terry taught graduate courses such as Digital Technologies, Technology for Information Professionals, Reference Services, Digital Information Services and Providers, and Information Technology Management. He led the development of the online education program at Simmons SLIS, helping to create successful online master’s programs in archival management and information science and online certificate programs in digital stewardships, school library teacher programs, and cultural heritage informatics. He also helped develop online learning environments such as the Simmons SLIS Digital Curriculum Lab.

Other accomplishments at Simmons included directing the development and growth of the SLIS satellite program at Mount Holyoke College and serving as technical leader on several grants, including education for digital preservation and cultural heritage informatics. He contributed to 15 international grants and library projects in locations like Kosovo, Vietnam, Thailand, Georgia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Liberia and coordinated the development of summer courses in Rome, Paris, and Seoul for SLIS students.

Terry authored or co-authored more than 25 articles and book chapters on various aspects of library education and the use of networked electronic resources and presented internationally after competitive selection at professional conferences, workshops, and meetings.

At the time of his retirement from Simmons in 2014, he was the Assistant Dean of Simmons SLIS and was responsible for academic initiatives for the school including directing the satellite campus at Mount Holyoke, coordinating technology, online education, international projects, and teaching.

Terry was also an active library consultant, advising on public library building projects and assisting with library cost analysis studies at more than 50 research libraries. Related to this work, he co-developed MINES for Libraries© (Measuring the Impact of Networked Electronic Services), a methodology for surveying the demographic characteristics of electronic services users and their purpose of use.

He strongly believed in public service, serving on the Board of Directors and as President of the Holyoke Public Library and led the 14.5 million dollar public library renovation project in Holyoke, Massachusetts, his primary residence for the last 18 years of his life.

He is survived by his wife, Sydney Landon Plum (an English professor at UConn), his son Trevor, his daughter Hilary, and his two grandchildren, Berit and Valen.

Terry Plum, 30 December 1947 – 10 December 2018

Kind, wise, sweet, witty — outstanding husband and father
Remember him by being good to each other,
taking a long walk, and reading a book
you borrowed from the library!

Paws-to-Relax Returns!

Paws-to-Relax returns this semester in Homer Babbidge! All dogs will be on Level 1 in Homer Babbidge so stop by and take a study break and relieve some stress.

And THANK YOU to all the dogs and their handlers for taking time out of their days to come and visit, and to Carolyn Mills for organizing it all for us!

Monday, December 10
1:00-2:00 – Jeanne Ladd & Benny (Shih-Tzu)
2:00-3:00 – Octayvia Rickard & Boo (Golden Retriever)
3:00-4:00 – Betsy Tubridy & Barney (Golden Retriever)
4:00-5:00 – Judith Pepin & Bella (Pug)

Tuesday, December 11
1:00-2:00 –  Steve Kornfeld & Summit (English Lab)
2:00-3:00 – Peter Lok & Andy (Golden Retriever)
3:00-4:00 – Niki Dispario & River (Collie)
4:00-5:00 – Mary Beth Curtis & Witness (Golden Doodle)

Wednesday, December 12
1:00-2:00 – Lauren Jorgensen & Dream (Rottweiler)
2:00-3:00 – Cheryl Morgan & Cassie (Golden Retriever)
3:00-4:00 – Claudia Eberly & Tegan (Welch Springer Spaniel)
4:00-5:00 – Diane Baricak & Meka (Keeshond)
5:00-6:00 – Ed Ruchin & Sawyer (Akita)

Thursday, December 13
1:00-2:00 – Rebecca Caldwell & Hunter (Shetland Sheepdog)
2:00-3:00 – Sandy Lok & Nutmeg (Golden Retriever)
3:00-4:00 – Betsy Tubridy & Finn (Labradoodle)
4:00-5:00 – Terri Carpenter & Mia (Shetland Sheepdog)

Friday, December 14
1:00-2:00 – Laura Labato & Penny (Chihuahua Mix)
2:00-3:00pm – Laurel Rabshultz & Wrigley (Newfoundland)
3:00-4:00pm – Robin Mozeika & Boo (Golden Retriever)
4:00-5:00pm – Karen Tuccitto & Shadow (Cocker Spaniel)

**We make every effort to keep the schedule, but you know, dogs can have crazy schedules and you never know when they need to be somewhere else…