Robert Sidney Martin

Robert Sidney Martin photo


Professor Emeritus


Texas Women's University



Graduation year:


Bob (as he is known to most everyone) has had a most interesting and distinguished career as an archivist, librarian, administrator and educator.  After starting as a rare book and manuscript librarian, working in Special Collections at the University of Texas at Arlington and Louisiana State University, in 1995 he was appointed Director and Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  From there he joined the faculty of the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman's University, where he briefly served as Interim Director.

In 2001 Bob was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate to serve as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  While in Washington he also served as Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.  In September, 2006, the United States Senate confirmed his Presidential appointment to the National Council on the Humanities. 

His service in the federal cultural agencies provided him the opportunity to take an active role in international cultural affairs. He was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the UNESCO General Conference in Paris in 2003, 2005 and 2007.  In 2004 and 2005 he served as co-head of the U.S. Delegation to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Meetings on Cultural Diversity. In 2004 he was the head of the U.S. Delegation to the Organization of American States Intergovernmental Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities in Mexico City, and a member of the U. S. Delegation to the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003.  From 2003 through 2008 he served as a member of the U. S. National Commission on UNESCO, and was a member of its Executive Committee.  In all of these roles he has participated in shaping international information and education policies.

After his service in Washington, Bob returned to TWU, where he was Professor of Library Science and Lillian Bradshaw Endowed Chair until his retirement in 2008.  Since then, he has remained active in the profession through service on a number of governing and advisory boards and committees.  He currently serves on the Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council and on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Learning Innovation.  In November, 2008, he was appointed by the Archivist of the United States to serve as Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Electronic Records Archives. 

Bob's accomplishments have been recognized by numerous awards and citations.  Foremost among these is the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor conferred in the United States, which he received in November 2008. Among the numerous other awards and honors he has received are Fellow of the Society of American Archivists; Distinguished Service Award, Texas Library Association; Distinguished Service Award, Society of Southwest Archivists; Distinguished Alumnus from Rice University; Lifetime Achievement Award, Department of Library and Information Sciences, University of North Texas; Distinguished Alumnus, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the Justin Winsor Prize from the American Library Association. In May 2006 Dominican University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa.

Bob has fond memories of the three years he spent in Chapel Hill, taking coursework and conducting research for his dissertation.  He was privileged to study with a group of outstanding scholars--among them Edward G. Holley, Lester Asheim, Haynes McMullen, and Robert Broadus--who had a profound impact on his perception and understanding of the profession and the social role of libraries.  His research on Louis Round Wilson shaped his subsequent career, fostering his deep commitment to libraries of all types as critical elements in the infrastructure of learning and the dissemination of knowledge.

Bob now resides in The Villages, Fla., with his wife, Barbara Stein Martin (Professor Emeritus at the University of North Texas College of Information), but he still gets to Chapel Hill on a regular basis to participate in the meetings of the SILS Board of Visitors.