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Dr. Edward R. Johnson, Dean of Libraries from 1987 to 2004 passes

The staff and faculty of the OSU Library and the Friends of the OSU Library acknowledge with profound sadness the death of Dr. Edward R. Johnson. Johnson held the position of Dean of Libraries from 1987 to 2004. He died at the age of 72 on April 25, 2013.


Johnson held a B.A. in history from the University of Colorado, M.A. in library information science and Ph.D. in Library and Information Science both from the University of Wisconsin. Before coming to Oklahoma he served as a librarian at University of Iowa, Assistant Dean of Libraries for Technical Operations at Pennsylvania State University, and Director of Libraries at North Texas State University.

During his nearly 17 years of service in Oklahoma, Johnson stood out as a dedicated library supporter and advocate. From the beginning of his OSU tenure, Johnson made fundraising a priority, and the numerous gifts secured under his leadership stand as a lasting legacy of his commitment to OSU.


Ed presents annual staff awards with his friend and library supporter, Dr. James Wise, and Wise's daughter.

In 1988, he identified a core group of library supporters, and together they establish the Friends of the OSU Library. The group continues to work today to secure private funding to support the library’s mission. In 1990, Johnson set a four-year goal of raising one million dollars for the Edmon Low Library Endowment which was reached and surpassed two and a half years later. Upon his retirement Johnson along with his wife, Benita, created the Edward R. Johnson Endowment to support the purchase of materials for library and information science.


Johnson, center, with 1999 Cobb Speaker, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Jennifer Paustenbaugh.

While at OSU, Johnson led the automation of the libraries and set a path for the continued adoption of innovative technology to improve library services. In 1991, the Library moved from the traditional card catalog to the automated system, PETE, and later to a web-based OSU Library Catalog. Johnson launched the successful student laptop checkout program, which remains one of the most popular services today.

Johnson also expanded the library’s special collections and placed a priority on the cultivation and preservation of these materials which provide unique research opportunities. Under Johnson’s direction the Oklahoma Women’s Archives was established, and the collection now serves as a highlight of the University’s special collections.


Dr. Neil Hackett, Dr. Kenneth Dollarhide discuss library materials with Dr. Ed Johnson.

Throughout his career Johnson worked tirelessly to inform both faculty and students on campus of the Library’s financial needs and educated them about the unique inflation problems of research journals. This resulted in significant increases from University Administration and support from the students for the implementation of the student library fee. These funding increases were instrumental in improving the OSU Library’s standing in the Association of Research Libraries ranking.

In 2001, he spearheaded an outreach campaign called the “Crisis in Scholarly Publishing and Its Impact on OSU.” The purpose of the campaign was to educate campus faculty and administrators about the breakdown in the scholarly communication system and the impact on OSU. His efforts resulted in OSU’s adoption of the Tempe Principles, which provide guidelines for re-shaping the emerging system of scholarly publishing.


President James Halligan and Dean Edward R. Johnson in 2000.

His work for libraries did not end at OSU. Johnson held leadership roles in national and state-level organizations such as the American Libraries Association, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, and Oklahoma Library Association. He was a founding member of Oklahoma Council of Academic Library Directors, an advisory group to the State Regents, and served as the group’s chair from 2001 to 2003. Johnson was a force behind the establishment of the Big 12 Libraries, later renamed the Greater Western Library Alliance. He worked to establish consortia of libraries to streamline operations and increase the groups’ collective bargaining power with vendors.

Before his retirement, Johnson worked to help state legislative leaders understand the implication of UCITA (the Uniform Computer Information Technology Act) to both libraries and citizens of Oklahoma. This project included the publication of his article “The Law Against Sharing Knowledge” in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Oklahoma Library Association presented him with a special award for his efforts.


Johnson, front row center, with his Dean's Office staff and President James Halligan, center row right, in 2000 with the Library's Celebrating State Award.

Johnson was named an “Oklahoma Library Legend” by the Oklahoma Library Association for his numerous contributions to libraries.

As we mourn the loss of this distinguished scholar, mentor and friend, we also extend our condolences to this wife, Benita, and his son Elliot.

Memorial Resolution Honoring
Dr. Edward R. Johnson

Adopted by the Friends of the OSU Library on June 5, 2013

WHEREAS, Edward R. Johnson served as the Doris Neustadt Professor and Dean of Libraries at Oklahoma State University from 1987 to 2003, and passed away at the age of 72 on April 25, 2013; and

WHEREAS, In 1988, he identified a core group of supporters to establish the Friends of the OSU Library, which continues to support the Library’s mission today; and

WHEREAS, Johnson set a four-year goal of raising one million dollars for the Edmon Low Library Endowment which was reached and surpassed two and a half years later; and

WHEREAS, The numerous gifts secured under Dr. Johnson’s leadership stand as a lasting legacy of his commitment to OSU; and

WHEREAS, In 2003, Dr. Johnson was honored with the 10th annual Edna Mae Phelps Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Friends of the OSU Library, after being nominated by a record number of supporters, 90 members of his staff; and

WHEREAS, Upon his retirement after nearly 17 years of service to OSU, Johnson along with his wife, Benita, created the Edward R. Johnson Endowment to support the purchase of materials for library and information science; and

WHEREAS, Edward R. Johnson was one of 100 people named an “Oklahoma Library Legend” by the OLA during its centennial year for his numerous contributions to libraries; and

WHEREAS, He fostered the careers of countless librarians, and many of those that he nurtured and inspired now hold key administrative positions at research libraries across the country; and

WHEREAS, Edward R. Johnson touched the lives of many people and will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Directors of the Friends of the OSU Library recognizes and celebrates the lifetime achievements of Edward R. Johnson and expresses its members’ deepest sympathy to his surviving family, friends and colleagues.

Memorial Statement for Edward R. Johnson

Adopted by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents on June 21, 2013

The staff and faculty of the OSU Library acknowledge with profound sadness the death of Dr. Edward R. Johnson. Johnson held the position of Dean of OSU Libraries from 1987 to 2003. He died at the age of 72 on April 25, 2013.

Johnson held a B.A. in history from the University of Colorado, M.A. in library information science and Ph.D. in Library and Information Science both from the University of Wisconsin.

During his nearly 17 years of service at Oklahoma State University, Johnson stood out as a dedicated library supporter and advocate. He made fundraising a priority, and the numerous gifts secured under his leadership stand as a lasting legacy of his commitment to OSU. In 1988, he identified a core group of library supporters, and together they establish the Friends of the OSU Library. The group continues to work today to secure private funding to support the library’s mission
Johnson led the automation of the libraries and set a path for the continued adoption of innovative technology to improve library services. In 1991, the Library moved from the traditional card catalog to the automated system, PETE, and later to a web-based OSU Library Catalog. Johnson launched the successful student laptop checkout program, which remains one of the most popular services today.

Johnson also expanded the library’s special collections and placed a priority on the cultivation and preservation of these materials which provide unique research opportunities. Under his direction the Oklahoma Women’s Archives was established, and the collection now serves as a highlight of the University’s special collections.

His work for libraries did not end at OSU. Johnson held leadership roles in national and state-level organizations such as the American Libraries Association, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, and Oklahoma Library Association. He was a founding member of Oklahoma Council of Academic Library Directors, and served as the group’s chair from 2001 to 2003. Johnson was a force behind the establishment of the Big 12 Libraries, later renamed the Greater Western Library Alliance.

Before his retirement, Johnson worked to help state legislative leaders understand the implication of the Uniform Computer Information Technology Act to both libraries and citizens of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Library Association presented him with a special award for his efforts.

Johnson was named an “Oklahoma Library Legend” by the Oklahoma Library Association for his numerous contributions to libraries.

Memorial Resolution Honoring Dr. Edward R. Johnson

Adopted by the AMIGOS Board of Directors on May 14, 2103

WHEREAS, Edward R. Johnson served as the Doris Neustadt Professor and Dean of Libraries at Oklahoma State University from 1987 to 2003, and passed away at the age of 72 on April 25, 2013; and

WHEREAS, Over the course of his long library career, Dr. Johnson was an active participant in Amigos Library Services, the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA), the Texas Library Association, the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries, the Greater Western Library, and numerous other organizations; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Johnson served on the Board of Trustees of Amigos Library Services from 1983-1989 and was the Chair of Amigos from 1984 to 1986, and subsequently represented Amigos on the OCLC Users Council from 1987-1990; and

WHEREAS, His tireless work to forestall the passage of the Uniform Computer Information Technology Act (UCITA) became the model adopted by the ALA to assist other states where similar legislation was introduced; and

WHEREAS, He was a founding member of Oklahoma Council of Academic Library Directors, an advisory group to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and served as the group’s chair from 2001 to 2003; and

WHEREAS, Edward R. Johnson was one of 100 people named an “Oklahoma Library Legend” by the OLA during its centennial year for his numerous contributions to libraries; and

WHEREAS, OLA also awarded him with its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2004; and

WHEREAS, He fostered the careers of countless librarians, and many of those that he nurtured and inspired now hold key administrative positions at research libraries across the country; and

WHEREAS, Edward R. Johnson touched the lives of many people and will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Directors of Amigos Library Services:

  1. Recognizes and celebrates the lifetime achievements of Edward R. Johnson and expresses its members’ deepest sympathy to his surviving family, friends and colleagues; and
  2. Copies of this resolution be sent to his family as well as the Oklahoma State University Libraries.

Other News Stories about Ed Johnson

Oklahoma Library Legends, an Oklahoma Library Association Centenial Project

 

Dr. Edward R. Johnson Retires as Dean of Libraries

Published in the Spring 2004 issue of Perspectives

 

Edward R. Johnson wins 2003 Edna Mae Phelps Award

Dr. Edward R. Johnson, OSU Dean of Libraries, receives the 2003 Edna Mae Phelps award from Ann Halligan, OSU Library Board of Directors member.

First published in November 2003

OSU Dean of Libraries, Dr. Edward R. Johnson received the 10th annual Edna Mae Phelps Award. Johnson was honored at the recent H. Louise & H.E. “Ed” Cobb Speaker Series presented by the Friends of the OSU Library. Friends of the OSU Library Board of Directors member Ann Halligan presented the award.

Johnson was nominated by a record number of supporters. Ninety of his staff and faculty signed a letter of nomination. Halligan read from their nomination letter, "Over the last 16 years, Ed truly stands out as a dedicated library supporter and advocate. He has distinguished himself with his work for the Friends, the OSU Library and libraries of Oklahoma."

"Throughout his career Johnson worked tirelessly to improve salaries and wages for Library employees. He also informed both faculty and students on campus of the Library's financial needs and educated them about the unique inflation problems of research journals. This resulted in significant increases from University Administration and support from the students for the implementation of student library fees. His outreach to the campus community extends beyond funding issues. Johnson regularly meets with faculty and the students to discuss library issues. In 2001, he spearheaded an outreach campaign called the "Crisis in Scholarly Publishing and Its Impact on OSU." His efforts resulted in OSU's adoption of the Tempe Principles, which provide guidelines for re-shaping the emerging system of scholarly publishing."

"Most recently, Johnson worked to help state legislative leaders understand the implication of UCITA (the Uniform Computer Information Technology Act) to both libraries and citizens of Oklahoma. This project included the publication of his article "The Law Against Sharing Knowledge" in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Edward Johnson is a perfect example of what the Edna Mae Phelps Award represents, 'substantially and unselfishly going above and beyond duty to increase the effectiveness of the OSU Library.' With his retirement approaching in February, there is no better time than now and no better way than this to honor him for his sweet sixteen years at the OSU Library."

The Edna Mae Phelps Award was established in 1994 to honor founder and first President of the Friends of the OSU Library Edna Mae Phelps of Seminole. Nominations are collected throughout the year. For information on the award and how to nominate someone, visit http://www.library.okstate.edu/friends/phelps.htm or call (405) 744-7331.

Contact

For more information on giving to the Library contact the Brandy Cox, Senior Director of Development, at bcox@OSUgiving.com or 405-385-0715.