SILS Remembers Professor Barbara Moran

Dr. Barbara Burns Moran, PhD, long-time faculty member and former dean of the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), passed away at age 75 at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C., in the company of her family on May 2, 2020. For more on her family and personal life, read her obituary online

Professor Barbara Moran in her office in Manning Hall.
Dr. Barbara Moran in her office in Manning Hall.

Dr. Moran graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., earned an MLS from Emory University, and her PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

She joined the SILS faculty in 1981 and served as dean of the School from 1990 to 1998, during which time she enhanced technical resources, added an undergraduate minor program, and increased graduate enrollment by 32 percent. She expanded the international involvement of SILS and began the very successful London and Prague summer seminars, a legacy that SILS is working to continue and expand through the Barbara B. Moran Fund for Global Programs.

After her deanship concluded, Dr. Moran again became an active member of the SILS faculty and was named the inaugural Louis Round Wilson Distinguished Professor. She authored more than 85 journal articles and book chapters and co-authored Library and Information Center Management, a textbook used by library science programs worldwide. She retired in 2017, but stayed in close contact with friends and colleagues at the School.

"Barbara’s optimism, nurturing spirit, and keen intellect will be greatly missed in the SILS community and by the library and information professions," said SILS Dean Gary Marchionini in a message to SILS students and faculty.  

SILS welcomes your thoughts, memories, and condolences. Please submit your message using the form linked at the bottom of this page and it will be posted on the SILS website shortly after it has been received.


Barbara hired me at SILS and mentored me as I aspired to be the kind of administrative leader she was. Nobody at SILS commanded such respect and attention, not through power and status, but through calm reason and genuine compassion. She truly cared about every single student and colleague – I never ceased to be awed by her memory of alumni names and accomplishments and recognitions of the work of SILS staff and faculty. Barbara's kindness and remarkable smile warmed every meeting and uplifted us even in difficult and contentious decisions. SILS is great because Barbara was at the helm, whether dean or senior professor – leading, inspiring, and nurturing each of us as individuals and as a collective greater than the sum of its parts. Her passing leaves a void in our lives and in our professional community, but we will remember her as a friend and colleague who made us all better, stronger, and more caring. Rest in peace dear graceful spirit.
Gary Marchionini

Professor Barbara Moran, you will be always be remembered by me as a great human being, teacher, professional and authority.
You were also very warm, and I felt completely welcomed by you at SILS. You made every student feel special  and understood.
I am so sorry for your too soon departure. Thanks for your life in earth.  Wherever you are now, continue having and giving joy.
Viena Covarrubias

What a wonderful colleague and mentor. She cared so much for her students and her field. She will be missed, but her inspiration will live on.
Cliff Missen

From the first time I stopped into the SILS office to ask about taking a class as a continuing ed student, to this very day, my overwhelming memory of Barbara Moran is of a smiling person, a happy person, a genuine person, a person who made the room, and the world, happier for her presence. She was a joy to be around and remains a joy to remember, a source of hope that all of us may aspire to be as good a person as was Barbara Moran.
Ron Bergquist

I'm missing you already. You were one of the key pillars of the SILS community.
Scott Martin

Dr. Moran taught several courses that I took while in library school in the 80's. Her classes were truly a pleasure. I will always remember her positive, optimistic personality and value her encouragement. I am truly sorry to hear of her passing; she will be very much missed.
Irene Patrick

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Moran the other day. I had the privileged of taking a course of hers on academic librarianship while at SILS. I distinctly remember her as being a gifted teacher that was knowledgeable, open as well as fair minded, and a person of genuine merit and ability. I offer my feelings of condolences to her loved ones. RIP.
William W. Knauth

Dr. Moran was a lovely person –  so gracious, and so concerned with her students' welfare. She definitely left a mark on the SILS program, and she is leaving behind quite a legacy. She will definitely be missed!
Cynthia Thomes

I was so fortunate to have Dr. Moran as my professor and advisor in SILS. She was passionate about libraries and her students, and she was as eager to learn from us as we were from her. She was a wonderful person and an excellent mentor. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. I can say without a doubt that she will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.
Kai Ewing

Barbara Moran was a dear friend to our family and a valued colleague to my father, Dean Ed Holley, during his time at UNC and continued to be supportive to us after his retirement. She was a caring friend and a dedicated professional. UNC has lost another priceless gem and our hearts are saddened. Our thoughts are with her husband, Joe, and the rest of her family.❤️
Beth Holley & The Holley Family

Dr. Moran was a kind and generous individual who always had a smile on her face. During my time as a doctoral student, she served on my dissertation committee with wonderful support. She will be greatly missed by a myriad of people in the library profession.
Barbara Marson

I'm so sorry to hear of Dr. Moran's passing. She was such a wonderful person to know and I will miss her. My condolences to her loved ones. May her memory be a blessing.
Shayera Tangri

I will always remember Barbara  for her ever-present smile, her humor and her unsinkable optimism.  And not lastly for her fervent devotion to SILS.  I am a former student, a friend, a colleague and the beneficiary of her recommendations for two professional positions. She took on a second deanship amid tough times for SILS, and we owe her a debt of profound gratitude. She certainly did her mentor Ed Holley proud by embodying his dictum of "for the good of the order."
She will be fondly remembered and missed by so many.
Tommy Nixon

I am so grateful to have had Dean Moran as my advisor, mentor and friend. She enriched my life, both professionally and personally.
Jennifer Manning

Our interactions were limited, but Barbara was kind and welcoming, always with a warm smile, when I was at SILS from 2000-2001.
Michael Nelson

I miss you, miss your talk, and miss your smile. When I was in UNC in 2018 as visiting scholar, we discussed a lot in brown bag meetings. Thank you for your inspiration.
Dan Wu

Very sad news for me, also for my family and colleagues in Czech Republic. Professor Barbara Moran was a really great personality of the LIS education, not only in the U.S.A., but also she was known in my country – Czech Republic. I met her the first time in 1996 at UNC-Chapel Hill and saw her the last time on June 1, 2018 in Prague during the final ceremony and dinner of the Prague Summer Seminar (the course SILS, UNC, and Charles University organized together; we started this two-week seminar in 2002 with Barbara Moran). She will remain in my memory forever. Thanks, Barbara, for everything, for academic discussions, your time, lectures help to Czech LIS education, your friendship.
Richard Papik

Barbara was one of the most compassionate educators I have known, and I was so privileged to have her as a teacher and, later, as a colleague. She had such a gift for making people feel heard and valued.  
Casey Rawson

I remember Barbara as the warm and loving wife of my college classmate, Joe Moran. Barbara was friendly and welcoming to all of Joe's college friends from the time we were slightly rowdy post adolescents to now. She and Joe were a great couple to talk with because both possessed open and inquiring minds as well as personal warmth.
Joe Wilson

I was admitted to the doctoral program when Barbara was the dean. I came to Chapel Hill with a 7 year old child. At first we did not have an appartment. We stayed at the Tar Heel Motel. One afternoon during a tropical storm, when the rain was pouring and the roof leaking, without any notice, Barbara knocked at our door and insisted that we come to stay in her home. That is how her family adopted us. I never took her classes, but she was very much interested in my progress and my dauhter's wellbeing. My daughter and I will keep memories of her in our hearts. Thank you, Barbara.  
Alenka Šauperl

Barbara's office was right next to mine for several years when I was a junior faculty member.  She was a great mentor to me, providing advice, grounding, wisdom, and humor at all the right times.  She was also great scholar, teacher, and advisor.  I miss our conversations at the end of the day and will always admire her calm and steady leadership.
Rob Capra

Barbara was a friend and colleague over many years, but I best remember her leading thoughtful deliberations when she served on and chaired the ALA Committee on Accreditation.  She was smart, caring, flexible, and understanding in her dealings with everyone - and her standards were high.  She was someone you could always count on - the best kind of professional colleague.  She will be missed by many.
Elizabeth Aversa

Barbara was always optimistic and supportive and thoughtful. She was one of the first women to lead a major LIS program and was thoughtful about the journey. She was an intelligent writer and deeply affected the scholarship of the field. Among her many contributions, this is one of my favorites: Moran, Barbara B., Elisabeth Leonard, and Jessica Zellers. 2009. “Women Administrators in Academic Libraries: Three Decades of Change.” Library Trends 58 (2): 215–28. She was the best and will be missed, but her legacies persist.
Kathleen McCook​

An inspiring, inspired leader. An even better person. We will miss Barbara Moran and always remember her.
Stephanie Kretz

I am Ed Holley's last doctoral student and his friendship and compassion changed my life. Barbara Moran filled that role admirably for me in Ed's absence for which I am forever grateful and blessed. My wife, Ann McLain, also a student and friend of both Ed and Barbara described her perfectly as "a lovely person". We cherish them.
Barry W. Seaver, PhD

Barbara was so supportive and generous and brilliant. Without her, I'd have never finished my PhD. But even more important, her curiosity and her kindness helped me (and so many others) think more broadly about so many aspects of LIS practice and leadership and popular works and every area she taught and researched in. She was a wonderful mentor outside of the advisor role too, and just a great person to talk to and be around. I'll miss her so much.
Nina Exner

Professor Moran was an extraordinary educator and a wonderfully kind, compassionate person. I feel very fortunate to have known her. I remember and share so much of her advice, and what I learned continues to serve me so well.
Joan Petit

I'm so sorry to hear of the early passing of Professor Barbara Moran. When I was visiting scholar at SILS she was very friendly to me. I will always remember her with her smiling face. Rest In Peace...
Yurdagül Ünal

Barbara enriched our Carolina community in many ways, in areas ranging from academic scholarship and service to our state, to her unhesitant sharing of compassion for others. She has left an indelible mark and she will be missed by all who knew her.
Robert Blouin​

Dr. Moran was such a genuine person and her enthusiastic positivity was uplifting to everyone in her sphere. She taught one the best courses I took in library school, "Seminar in Academic Libraries"; a nuts-and-bolts look at all aspects of the field. I still remember the professional and interpersonal lessons I learned from her. She was an icon at SILS and will be missed.
Mark Sanders​

I am a career colleague and close friend of Barbara’s husband Joe. From time to time Joe would warmly, and with great pride, talk about Barbara and her many personal and professional accomplishments at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Library Science. It was not until last summer that I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara when she and Joe visited Buffalo. Over dinner, it took only moments to find Barbara to be a remarkable woman; a kind, gentle, warm, and caring spirit who possessed a keen intellect. During our short visit it was evident how much love and respect Barbara and Joe had for each other. Barbara was a remarkable woman in this world. She touched and changed the lives of so many with her kindness and leadership in her profession. Barbara was a talented and special person. Joe was so very lucky to have had her at his side and a life partner/soul mate for 54 years. I only wish that I had known Barbara longer and in a closer fashion. She was a bright light in this world for so many over her years. Her spirit will shine on for many years to come.
Bob Stephen 

Dr. Moran was an incredibly compassionate and thoughtful teacher, advisor, and mentor. She launched my career with a recommendation for my first professional position. She has made an indelible mark on my life and the lives of thousands of other SILS grads. She will be greatly missed.
Lucy Holman

Dr. Moran was a beloved teacher and mentor. She welcomed sharing her knowledge, and her kindness to me during library school and during my career meant the world to me. She was a treasure and is missed already.
Donna Hitchings

Barbara was a caring mentor who provided me with far more advice and perspective than any student could ask from a professor (she wasn't even my advisor!). She was so kind, and a great instructor. Her style and her heart have influenced me forever. She will be missed.
Erin Carter

Dr Moran was a wonderful professor -- I took her management class and still use many of the techniques that we studied in my position as a branch manager. She helped me understand statistics in Research Methods (without too many tears) and gave thoughtful and helpful advice on my thesis. I am saddened at her loss and extend my heartfelt sympathy to her family.
Lindsay Ideson

I would have never applied to a PhD program if not for Dr. Moran. She truly changed the course of my life, and I am so thankful for that. Barbara was a sharp, thoughtful, and kind person. I am so fortunate to have had her as a friend and mentor.
Amanda Click Drewry