SILS Distinguished Alumnus Bob Martin profiled for University 225th anniversary retrospective

April 22, 2019

UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Distinguished Alumnus Robert "Bob" Martin (PhD '88) was profiled as part of the University’s 225th anniversary retrospective series, which highlighted Tar Heels who have made impact on campus, communities, the state, the nation, and the world.

Bob Martin sitting at a table in the SILS Library
Robert Martin (PhD '88) in the SILS Library.

Martin had a renowned career as a librarian, archivist, administrator, and educator. During his appointment as the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), he launched the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which awards grants for the training, development, and recruitment of librarians and archivists.

In 2008, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President George W. Bush, the second-highest civilian award in the U.S. Martin and his wife also established the Honorable Robert S. Martin Distinguished Professorship in Librarianship at SILS. Read his full 225th profile here.

Martin is the second SILS alumni to be featured in the series. Elinor Dixon Hawkins, who graduated in 1950 with a library science degree, was profiled in November 2018.

Hawkins, who is also known as the Story Lady or Miss Elinor, dedicated her life bringing story time into the homes of many North Carolinians. She also helped create libraries in unusual locations, including a sheriff’s office, a train station, and a woman’s club house.

She was honored with a New Bern bear and was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s most prestigious citizen award. Read her full profile here.

Two former SILS administrative leaders have also been spotlighted in the series, SILS founder Louis Round Wilson and the School’s first dean Susan Grey Akers.

Louis Round Wilson, for whom the Wilson Library is named, spent his life advocating for public support of libraries. He worked to develop and advance the North Carolina Library System, and helped establish the Library Science School at Carolina and other collections and programs. Read his full profile here.

Susan Grey Akers became the first female dean at UNC-Chapel Hill when she was appointed the first dean of SILS, then called the School of Library Science. She was a cataloguing expert and was the fourth person in the U.S. to earn a PhD in library science. After leaving Carolina, she extended her work to Japan and Iran. Read her full profile here.