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Dr. Barbara Immroth, 1942-2021

Dr Barbara Immroth

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Barbara Immroth, professor emerita at The University of Texas at Austin School of Information. Dr. Immroth was a leader in the field of children’s literature and youth services, and a passionate advocate for the transformative role of libraries in empowering communities.

A beloved educator and mentor to many public and school librarians, Dr. Immroth was a faculty member at the iSchool for thirty-six years. Joining the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (now the iSchool) in 1980, she was the first woman to advance from assistant professor to full professor in twelve years and was also the first woman at the iSchool to direct a dissertation. Dr. Immroth shaped the careers of countless librarians throughout Texas and the United States and won numerous state and national awards for her service to the library field, including the American Library Association (ALA) Beta Phi Mu Award in 2007 and the Texas Library Association (TLA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.  

Dr. Immroth served on numerous committees and in leadership positions, notably as president of the Association for Library Service to Children, a Trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, president of TLA, and national president of the Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honorary Society. She served on national book awards committees, including the Randolph Caldecott Medal and the John Newbery Medal awards for children’s literature. She also authored or co-authored seven books on the topics of library service and health information, including Texas in Children's Books, Library Service to Youth of Hispanic Heritage, and Health Information Across the Curriculum

Immroth began her long career in librarianship when she was an undergraduate student working as a library assistant at Brown University. After graduating from Brown with a B.A. in Spanish, she earned her M.A. in Librarianship from the University of Denver, then completed a School Certification from Duquesne University. She earned her doctorate in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught at the State Library of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh, was a children’s librarian at Carnegie Library, and worked as a high school librarian in Pittsburgh. 

Dr. Barbara Immroth will be remembered by former students, alumni, and colleagues for her commitment to building public awareness for strong libraries, her passionate advocacy for equitable access to information in underserved areas across the country, and her dedication to mentoring and empowering countless students and librarians throughout their careers. She was an inspiring and influential teacher who was always full of wisdom and encouragement, and she touched the lives of many who were fortunate enough to know her. She will be dearly missed. 

Gifts to the Barbara Immroth Endowed Excellence Fund in Children’s and School Librarianship at the School of Information are warmly welcomed. To contribute, please visit the iSchool giving page or contact Shannon Hickson, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at Shannon.hickson@ischool.utexas.edu

To give by mail: 

School of Information 
1616 Guadalupe St, Suite #5.202 
Austin, Texas 78701-1213 
Check Memo: Future Barbara Immroth Endowed Excellence Fund in Children’s and School Librarianship 

Dr. Immroth’s archived faculty webpage is available here 

Sept. 22, 2021