Ron Joslin Memorial Remarks by Angi Faiks 3/8/2019

Hi, my name is Angi and I had the pleasure of working with Ron for over 15 years. Thank you for the opportunity to share some remarks on behalf of the library and library community. But first of all I want to send along greetings, condolences, and hugs from our library director, Terri Fishel. She so wishes she could be with us all today but was unable due to circumstances beyond control. She wants you all to know that she is with us in spirit.  So..

Generosity, Kindness, Care, Creativity, Conviction

These are words that come easily to mind when thinking of Ron.

And these are words that describe Ron’s approach to his work, his colleagues, and our community during his remarkable 34 years at Macalester.

Ron assumed many roles in his time at the DeWitt Wallace library. His intellect, abundant talents, openness to learning, and willingness to embrace change allowed him to support the work of the library in numerous ways. Over the years Ron transitioned from Evening/Weekend Librarian, to Head of Circulation, to a team leader for Public Services, to Systems and Technology Librarian, and several years ago he assumed the role of Research and Instruction Librarian. It was in this latest position that Ron’s passion for Open Textbooks ignited. The Open Textbooks movement is a growing effort to provide high quality, free educational materials to all who need them. It was Ron’s Generosity, Kindness, Care, Creativity, Conviction – and a healthy dose of stubbornness 😀 —  that pushed him to move forward in this emerging work of libraries and to help create freely available learning resources to all who may benefit from them. This is not easy work. In fact this is very challenging, groundbreaking work. But Ron knew that this work was important, the right place to focus his energy, and that he could do it. And so, he did.

I want to give you just a small glimpse into this work. In partnership with Professor Britt Abel, Ron helped create an interactive open textbook on German Language learning. Ron traveled to Europe this past summer to support the creation of unique content for this German textbook. He also worked with professor Sonia Mehta in creating an educational globalization textbook and helped connect Sonia’s classroom to sixteen villages in the foothills of the Himalayas. I hope this gives you even a small sense of Ron’s creative contributions to the open textbook effort, to these professors, and to the students we serve both at Macalester and across the world.

Ron was also the creator of Macalester’s Library Technology Conference, which launched in 2008. Ron had the idea to create a professional development opportunity that would provide an affordable, accessible venue to discuss technologies impacting library services and to provide practical learning experiences to participants. Ron’s dream of creating this “LibTech Conference” sparked an outcome that none of us could have predicted. Over the years the continually sold-out conference (usually within a few days) has welcomed over 5000 participants, hosted 24 inspirational keynote speakers, generated thousands of innovative projects, and developed a growing body of inspired colleagues from across the US as well as from from Canada and Africa. Participants from far and wide know of and have high regard for our library, our staff, and Macalester due this conference and due to Ron.

And there are many more examples where Ron made a difference in libraries and in the lives of others through his work. Ron was motivated by a deep commitment to service. And his service ethic showed up in countless ways. We were all inspired by Ron’s unwavering support of student employees, his dedication to the faculty and students he worked with, his efforts towards making information accessible to all, his willingness to repeatedly step in to support his colleagues, his “anonymous” 😀 donation of hundreds of movies to our collection so that everyone could enjoy them, his annual leadership in coordinating holiday gifts for a family in need, his shared bowl of candy (a personal favorite of mine), and so much more. Ron’s had a profound impact and his impact carries on.

My sincere hope is that deep down his contributions made him feel proud, happy, and most especially valued– and that he was keenly aware of the significant influence he had on us, those we serve, and on the profession as a whole.

We will miss his insights, his creative spark, leadership, laughter, and friendship. It will simply not be the same without him here with us.

He has left an indelible mark on this place and the people, and I am deeply grateful that we had the good fortune of having him in our lives and in our library family.

We thank you, Ron, for all you did to make us and everything you touched shine brighter. Thank you.

Angi Faiks 3/8/2019


In Fond Memory: Ron Joslin Copyright © by DeWitt Wallace Library, Macalester College. All Rights Reserved.

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