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.

4 thoughts on “remembering Norman Horrocks

  1. I was at the funeral. According to one of his daughters, among his last words was ‘where’s the agenda?’ which, if you’ve known Norman, is suiting. Another thing they said was that he was a social media expert before computers existed. So true. He definitely sits in my mind as one of the true rock stars of librarianship.

  2. In honor of librarians:

    Maya Angelou recently said the following: “God put the rainbow in the clouds…so the viewer can see the possibility of hope. That’s what a library is….No bad can happen to you in the library. You can’t be talked down to, belittled, humiliated in the library. As soon as I’m in a library, I’m OK.”

  3. Hi. I’m a 40 year old woman, who after trudging life’s road, is finally finishing her Bachelor’s degree. It is life’s goal to be a librarian.
    Thank You for your website! It has kept me hanging in there, still believing in my dreams.
    I know the next step after my Bachelor’s is Masters. Could you offer any advise in continuing my pursuits?

  4. Norman was a real British gentleman. He was a graduate of my LIS department many years before I ever arrived there. We had some wonderful chats at ALISE and I was honored to be invited to his universities reunions. Norman had a wonderful way with people and was a great teacher and communicator. I like those enduring words “what’s on the agenda”? Perfect. God Bless him.

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