Shields, Gerald R. 1925–2005

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Shields, Gerald R. 1925–2005


OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born November 24, 1925, in Waukegan, IL; died November 10, 2005. Librarian, educator, and author. Shields was a retired library science professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a leading figure in the American Library Association (ALA). A World War II veteran, he also served as a linguist for the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s. He worked as a supervisor for a steel company and as an adult education coordinator for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) while earning his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin in 1960. This was followed the next year by a master's degree. During the early 1960s, Shields gained experience as a reference librarian in Milwaukee and, from 1964 to 1967, was head of the social sciences department for the Montgomery County Public Library in Dayton, Ohio. Next, he found employment as editor of American Libraries from 1968 to 1973 for the American Library Association. Joining the staff at the Buffalo campus of the State University of New York in 1973, Shields rose from the position of assistant professor of library science to associate professor in 1979. He was also dean of the School of Information and Library Studies from 1975 until his retirement in 1990. Shields did not become inactive after that, however, and instead continued to work as editor of Public Libraries. Active in the ALA for many years, he served on committees, was a councilor-at-large during the mid-1970s and early 1980s, and was former treasurer of the group's social responsibilities roundtable. All this work made him a good candidate for the presidency of the ALA, though he did not succeed in gaining that position; however, he was president of the New York Library Association from 1982 to 1983. Concerned about the potential threats to intellectual freedoms in the United States, he was the coauthor of Freedom of Access to Library Materials (1982); Shields also coedited and contributed to other books and journals. One of his unique contributions was the cartoon "Jerrybuilt Librarians," which he created under the pen name Jerrybilt for the Ohio Library Association Bulletin.



American Libraries, January, 2006, p. 71.

Library Hotline, November 28, 2005, p. 2.