remembering Norman Horrocks

Norm Horrocks died last week and I’ve been thinking about him all week. When I told my boyfriend about Norm’s passing, he asked “Is that the guy you introduced me to who yelled ‘Yoo hoo’ at us from the golf cart at PLA?” and I said it was. Norm, always eager to make people feel happy and welcome, had spotted me and wanted to make sure I spotted him. He made quite an impression.

I first met Norm when I was serving on ALA Council where he took me aside and assured me that it wasn’t as confusing as it looked and that I could make valuable contributions there. I was lucky to get to spend time with him at the Nova Scotia Library Association conference in Antigonish a few years ago, where he gave me a Dalhousie pin to wear and we reflected on how much we both loved Nova Scotia. Norm could always make you feel like you were integral to the profession and that he was the profession’s smooth and dashing liason to you personally.

Every time I’d run into Norm at library functions, he was a delight and brightened my day. He was charming and cultured which made a great backdrop for his goofy jokes and wry asides. He deeply cared about libraries, library associations and especially librarians. He seemed to make it his personal mission to be an emmisary for librarianship, to make sure newer librarians had a good “user experience” within the profession.

At the same time as he was charming us all, he was doing the work. His background includes a stint in British Army intelligence the director of Dalhousie University’s library school and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. Reading through people’s blog posts about him (1, 2, 3, 4), you can’t help but be struck by the warmth, generosity and kindness that Norm passed to to every single person he interacted with.

People are leaving rememberances of Norm at ALA Connect, CLA Toolbox, and this wikispaces page. ALISE has set up a slideshow. Donations can be made to the Dalhousie-Horrocks National Leadership Fund in Norm’s memory if you are so inclined. As one of the blog commenters said on one of the many memorial posts “He was the best of us” and he will be deeply missed.

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