David Wildon Carr, former associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS), died January 31, 2016, at age 70.
Dr. Carr was a member of the SILS faculty from 1998 until his retirement in 2010. He specialized in collections, reading, and reference work in the humanities and social sciences. As a scholar and consultant, he also addressed learning outside schools, especially in public cultural institutions such as libraries and museums. His work emphasized self-directed inquiry and critical thinking, adult curiosity, informal learning, and independent scholarship. Dr. Carr received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) in 1994 and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from SILS in 2001.
Friends, colleagues, and former students are planning a memorial gathering Saturday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at the Chapel Hill Public Library. If you are interested in attending or helping to organize, please contact Evelyn Daniel at email@example.com, Susan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Marian Fragola email@example.com.
The following obituary was provided by Dr. Carr's family.
David Wildon Carr
(April 4, 1945 - January 31, 2016)
David was always happy to learn more and that made him an exceptional teacher and mentor to his students, family, and friends. He was generous in sharing and loved to make connections with others he met along the way, whether it was a shared appreciation of a book or the unexpected discovery that his new acquaintances now lived in the house he grew up in hundreds of miles away. David created stories for his grandchildren, happily played Legos, and accepted direction of what role he was to take in their play.
Within his family he took, archived, and shared family photographs and stories. In the neighborhood he was the man who provided and stocked the Little Free Library and geocache, and who was frequently outside creating more gardens. He was–as he encouraged everyone else to be–always learning, whether it was about a historical era, Scandinavian crime fiction, or The Octonauts. There also was so much that he was looking forward to learning and doing, and so much that we will all miss sharing with him.
David taught at Rutgers University in the College of Education and the School of Information and Library Science and then at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He loved teaching and his students knew that and responded to his own enthusiasm. His mentoring relationships turned to strong and warm friendships as his students moved into their own careers and lives. His gift for friendship extended widely.
David’s work with museums such as the Strong Museum, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and the Queens Museum of Art led to his sharing of what he was learning about the interplay between these institutions and the learning possible within them in The Promise of Cultural Institutions (2003), A Place Not a Place (2006), and Open Conversations (2011). At the time of his death he was writing more essays for a new collection, as well as preparing for the 2017 keynote address, “Museums and Their Publics in Sites of Conflicted History,” for an international conference being held at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, Poland.
David was born in Morristown, N.J., to Clifford and Marie Carr. His survivors include his wife, Carol; his daughters, Eve Carr and Anna Halsey; his sons-in-law, Dave Dixon and Brett Halsey; his grandchildren, Maxwell Halsey, Jasper Dixon, and Ella Halsey; and a network of extended family, friends, colleagues, and others whose lives he touched. He cared deeply about all and would wish them all rich and long lives as learners, thinkers, and readers.
Memorial donations may be made in lieu of flowers to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Hospice Atlanta Center, the Queens Museum of Art, First Book, or any group that promotes help to others. Or just read a good book, or go to a museum, and think of David.
SILS welcomes your thoughts, memories, and condolences. Please submit your message using the form at the bottom of this page and it will be posted here shortly after it has been received.
Remembrance from Carol Perryman: Dr. Carr spoke with a group of doctoral students, including myself, about literature reviews. He was open to input, and through the discussion we had, conveyed a sense of the story and argument built in the course of conducting a literature review. This new idea opened me to a new way of thinking. I never took a class from him - in fact, the conversation described was not part of a class. He was a generous and kind person who lived in the moment, bringing his whole self. I am shocked and saddened to hear of his death. Rest well, good man.
Remembrance from Rev. Donald H. Fox: David Carr, "Mr. Carr," was my English teacher in my junior year of high school (1968-1969). The next year, he was my future wife's teacher. He influenced both of our lives -- my wife's handwriting is patterned after his engaging and artistic style. His style of rolling the sleeves of his shirt a couple of turns half-way up to the elbow still influences me. I can look at my arms right now as I type this and I think of him. I have vivid memories of him as a teacher. I've saved some of his assignments. I've saved his Christmas message to his students in Dec. 1968. His teaching us James Agee's "Death in the Family" remains a life-long treasure that no one can take away ("and thieves cannot break in and steal..."). His assignment of writing "in the style of a journal" has also been a life-long (well a 48-year-long) companion with me. And then, as others have shared, there's so much more to share: his friendship, via letters and Christmas cards with my wife and me; his delight and enthusiasm for the little things I have written (including the novel of my senior year in high school which I hope someday, if I'm given world enough and time, to extend to my junior year when he was the teacher who "made me an English major.")
He will always be "Mr. Carr" to my wife and to me.
Remembrance from Gail Madak: I was Dr. Carr's student when he taught at Rutgers. We all adored him. I just found out this week that he passed, and I send my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and students. We've lost one of the good guys, so we must all strive to honor his memory. Thank you to all for the wonderful comments written here; it's a comfort to know how many lives were touched by Dr. Carr's kindness and generosity. Over the two plus decades since I graduated, I'd think of Dr. Carr whenever something happened in the world, and wonder "What would Dr. Carr say?" He was a beacon of civility in a world where that quality is rare. I hope we can all learn from Dr. Carr's example of a life well-lived. Again, I am so, so sorry for your, our, loss.
Remembrance from Dr. Ron McCormick: In 1974 I was the Assistant Director of Testing at Florida Atlantic University when I became aware of David Carr's work. I have been a fan of his ever since. And he is still helping me through his books, including Open Conversations (Chapter 4 on Unfinished Lives). I am now developing a tutorial for mature readers residing in retirement communities. Dr. Carr's work will be a part of a reading program that will strengthen the lives of mature readers to help them fulfill their unfinished lives. Eventually retiring librarians will be trained to conduct these tutorials. This will allow them to help their peers on a part-time basis while providing additional income in retirement.
Remembrance from Endrina Tay: I will always remember Dr. Carr for his kindness and his humanity during my time at SILS from 2000-2002. As a teacher, he brought into the classroom a joyful enthusiasm and an infectious sense of wonder at the world around him. Not only did he possess a deep conviction of the importance of communities and the role they play in society, he was quick to recognize the potential of each and every individual, and what each person could bring to the table. This respect was evident in the way he listened to, interacted with, and encouraged the ideas of his students (no matter how insignificant or unoriginal), for which I will always be grateful.
Remembrance from Kathleen de la Peña McCook, University of South Florida, School of Information: I have long used Dr. Carr's books for my Cultural Heritage class. I will be using his Open Conversations: Public Learning in Libraries and Museums this summer. His thoughtful writing impacts the future of our past.
Remembrance from Jim Ruth: Dr. Carr changed my life. He taught me about libraries, cultural institutions, and community; but even more importantly he taught me to look at the world with a lens the revealed the personal responsibility we all have to understand and respect perspectives different from our own. He taught me to know the world is always a bigger place than I think it is. He could find the beauty in things that others would refuse to look at. He was always learning – from everyone and everything. Dr. Carr saw the value in life is to value all people with love and kindness regardless of their experience and beliefs that may be in conflict with my own.
By looking at the world through Dr. Carr's lens, I was able to understand what love is. I mean that literally, as I fell in love with my wife Lisa in library school, in large part thanks to sharing Dr. Carr's class with her and learning with him together. Dr. Carr was the officiant for our wedding.
When Lisa and I got engaged, we approached Dr. Carr and asked him to be the officiant to finish what he started in his class to formally join Lisa and me together. He paused, sat back, smiled and said, "I've done one wedding before...they are divorced now, you sure you want me?" He wrote our wedding vows, and we didn't change a word.
Dr. Carr made everyone he touched better. It is our responsibility to remember him by aspiring to be better. There are very few people in this world that can make you smile just by thinking about them, and even though he is gone, he will continue to make me smile.
Remembrance from Marilyn Carney: Dr. Carr was a great influence on me during my time at SILS. He will be sorely missed. My prayers go out to his family.
Remembrance from Emily Jackson Sanborn: I met Dr. Carr before I decided to become a librarian and was still a public school teacher. We had long hours of discussion about our disillusionment with the education system and (at the time, in North Carolina) the inability of teachers to make changes that would benefit kids. Dr. Carr helped me realize that there were many ways to be a teacher, from different career choices to little moments in daily life. He helped guide me to find my 'fit' in librarianship, and I love my job as a reference librarian working with university students.
Remembrance from Brian Sturm: David was the scholar I have always wanted to be. He was a Renaissance man whose depth and breadth of reading left me reeling with every conversation we shared. He was never at a loss for words, and his notes to me, written in gorgeous calligraphy, were always supportive and encouraging. Like his writing, his teaching was carefully crafted to encourage his students to see the larger picture, to play, and to grow beyond themselves. He challenged his students to think, but his most powerful influence, I believe, was to help them develop emotionally as well. David's passion for his work was most evident in his eyes, which would glow when he was discussing things he loved most deeply: libraries, culture, museums, and how they help develop social consciousness and social conscience. We are a poorer nation without him, but richer for having shared space and minds with him.
Remembrance from Lewis Dorman: Dr. Carr was an excellent teacher, and moreover he was a good man. My first semester at SILS, I had the pleasure to take his Cultural Institutions class, which was undoubtedly one of my favorite classes at SILS, due to the unorthodox nature of the class' structure, as well as Dr. Carr's passionate instruction. Dr. Carr's innovative use of index cards as an educational tool was a hallmark of his tutelage methodology, and one that I shall never forgot, much as I shall never forget the depth of how positively Dr. Carr affected me, both academically and personally.
Remembrance from Bonnie Brzozowski: Dr. Carr shaped my library career through his mentorship and classes. His enthusiasm for the written word was contagious and inspirational. One of the first book discussions I ever attended was one he led at The Regulator in Durham - I was hooked on him and on book discussions from that moment forward. I signed up for every class of his that I could and I am to this day a book discussion junkie. He showed me that public libraries were where I belonged and several times he called me "the natural librarian," which flattered me to no end. I still think it's one of the highest compliments I've ever been paid especially because it came from him. I will echo Grant because he said it so well: he made you feel like you were part of something special and he could make you feel like you were his only student. I wish I had the chance to fully express to him his influence on and importance in my life before he passed. I would not be who I am today without him. My deepest condolences to his family. I am thinking of all of you.
Remembrance from Sue Goode: Even many years after taking a class with Dr. Carr, I often remember him telling us that two of his favorite words were "generosity" and "kindness." He was a man who truly embodied the true meaning of those words and I feet fortunate to have known him and to have learned from him. I'm very sad to hear that he has left this plane, but wherever he is now, I'm sure there are many welcoming his arrival.
Remembrance from Grant Lynch: Dr. Carr told me to call him "David." I never could. He was the best professor I have ever known, and it seemed wrong to hold him in any regard other than that. He was a teacher first, and he had an unmatched ability to make his students feel that they were part of something special. Dr. Carr had the intellect, talent, and charisma to make you feel like you were his only student; he and I continued our discussions about life, librarianship, and making an impact in your world long after I graduated from SILS. I am shocked and saddened to hear of his passing, and my thoughts go out to his wife Carol and the rest of his family at this time.
His book Open Conversations is a must-read for anyone who was unable to take one of his classes. You will find in it what made Dr. Carr so extraordinary: it is a book of truth and counsel about the library & museum world, complete with his unique sense of humor and style. The work he did and the lessons left to the rest of us solidify his legacy as one of the world's great intellectual leaders. How lucky are we few who knew him. How fortunate we are to have known his impact personally. I am deeply saddened that our conversation has come to an end so soon.
Remembrance from Megan von Isenburg: Dr. Carr was my lifeline at SILS, a beacon of thoughtfulness and liberal arts in a sea of professional job training. He had called me upon my acceptance when I was still living in Brooklyn, working in publishing. I think I made a point of his mispronouncing my last name, which I later regretted deeply when discovered what a kind person he was. He was one to connect with people, and I think our connections began with a shared love of New York. Like many, I took as many classes with him as I could. He was my thesis advisor and even a field experience mentor for a photography exhibit at the Ackland. It was probably a little non-kosher for SILS, but with his help, I made my love of photography and the power I felt at Sebastiao Salgado’s Migrations exhibit (http://www.pdngallery.com/legends/legends10/) work for my education. He served as a reference for me in my job and I remember him saying that my “screening” interview sounded physically painful. Remembering him and his deep connectedness and humanity will help me be a better librarian and person for the rest of my life.
Remembrance from Rebecca Kemp Goldfinger: Dr. Carr was one of the generous-spirited SILS faculty members whom I met as a prospective student, and he was one of the reasons I chose to enroll. I will always remember his kindly smile. He was a gifted teacher and a gentle soul. My condolences to his friends and family.
Remembrance from Miriam Intrator: Dr. Carr changed the course of my professional life. He taught me that the history of libraries, books, and reading was a relevant and worthwhile area of scholarship and encouraged and mentored my serious pursuit of it from my time at SILS up until his passing, guiding me on a path that I never expected or planned to follow. He taught me to ask difficult questions and to be open to all different and unexpected kinds of answers. He inspired me to approach books, reading, libraries, museums - culture and cultural heritage broadly - in new and more sensitive, nuanced ways. His love for teaching, for mentoring, for his students, and for all the wonderful books, movies, and delicious food that life has to offer, among so much more, was infinite and infectious. His love and pride for his family was tremendous. He has been a constant inspiration and a steady mentoring, supportive, presence in my life, always quick to answer any personal or professional question or concern. I still have every beautifully calligraphied note he wrote (or paper he graded), and will treasure my memories of him always. He was a gentle yet insistent and remarkable force in the world of cultural heritage and will be terribly, terribly missed.
Remembrance from Amy Crow: David is the reason that I decided to go to library school, and I think of him often and with great appreciation. He was one of my very favorite faculty to work with at Carolina Speakers, and when I was floundering around trying to decide how to switch career paths he told me that nothing I had ever learned would be irrelevant if I became a librarian. Truer words have never been spoken! To the Carr family: my deepest condolences. David was an awesome person and I so enjoyed knowing him.
Remembrance from Jordon Steele: One of my favorite SILS professors, but perhaps his lingering legacy in my life is that he recommended to me one of my favorite novels, Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. As I recall, I borrowed his copy. I also remember him sharing my enthusiasm of the TV series Deadwood, which debuted the summer I took his Collection Development class. A true renaissance man. Rest In Peace, Dr. Carr.
Remembrance from Molly Cahall: I remember in one of our classes Dr. Carr mentioned investing ourselves in things that would save a life. I don't think he meant just literally but rather things that would impact the world around us, whether it was giving blood as a donor or teaching an adult how to read. Fourteen years after taking his class, that piece of advice still lives with me and I'm a better person for it. Thank you, Dr. Carr.
Remembrance from Kevin Cherry: Dr. Carr's passion for the power of public, cultural institutions and private, intense reading was infectious. I still remember the first thing that he did in a special topics course on the history and future of reading that I attended. He came in, pulled a chair to the front of the room, and then began to read for about five minutes–in silence. The entire seminar room full of students just sat uncomfortably and waited and watched. When he finally broke his silent reading, the question was an open-ended, "Well?" and from there we launched into a discussion about reading that I–a near-constant reader like every other person in that room–had never experienced before. He led us in a reexamination of the process, asking over and over, "Why?" I later tried the same "sit and read bit" in a class I taught, and the stunt did not work nearly so well. I also remember an impromptu debate that he moderated outside of an enclosure at the North Carolina Zoo during a session of his Cultural Institutions Course. The debate pitted those who questioned the need for zoos. We soon had a small crowd, most of them not our fellow students, joining us. It was a civil, passionate discourse. David Carr was a great teacher, a provocative and entertaining speaker, and a powerful advocate for institutions that help us remember, teach, and support us all in the asking of "Why?"
Remembrance from Elizabeth Matson: There is a hole in the world now with David's loss that I can only hope that all he touched and inspired can try to fill. I am a librarian because of David Carr and his inspiring fieldtrip course to cultural institutions. He knew how to set up an environment for learning where the student was the one who led. He was not only a mentor but a friend, a revered companion on the journey of continued learning and exploration, and a fellow lover of books. I will miss his thoughtful and engaging Goodread reviews and warm correspondences.
Remembrance from Ron Bergquist: I remember the first time I met David Carr, when he was giving a job talk and started it off by giving all the attendees a sheet of paper explaining his choice of fonts. I kind of figured right then that this was going to be an interesting fellow to be around. I never had him for a class, but watching how he did things certainly guided me to try harder to be better in whatever I was doing. Not many folks leave such a void in the world, but those of us who were lucky enough to have been around him know how valuable he was for everyone. Now I need to go back and re-read his book on The Promise of Cultural Institutions. I want to hear his voice again.
Remembrance from Kristin Anderson Morano: Dr. Carr was extraordinary. He was inspirational, warm.....just absolutely brilliant....as a professor and a human being. I absolutely cherish his memory and I am exceedingly grateful for his influence at and beyond graduate school at Rutgers. I adored journeying through museums and cultural institutions, and viewing informational structures with his insight and amazing teachings at my side as my guide. He gave me self-confidence and was a role model for me. I have thought of him often over the years and I am so thankful that I am influenced by his generous spirit. It inspires me to try to be that kind of teacher for students in my care. Thank you, Dr. Carr. It has been a great blessing in my life to know you.
Remembrance from Sarah Gransee Arnaudin: Dr. Carr's Popular Materials course taught me to try new genres and never to apologize for my taste in books. Each time I read outside my comfort zone, I'm reminded of his passion for critical reading and unabashed pleasure in the written word. I'm a better reader and a better librarian because of my semester with him.
Remembrance from Scott Martin: I never had him as a teacher, but Dr. Carr was a major pillar of SILS education. His level of knowledge of children's literature was unmatched. I enjoyed seeing the book jackets of the latest books on his door each day. He spent his free time reviewing books for NoveList, where I am sure he'll be missed. He proctored the final essay of my best friend at SILS, Mary Lewis Haywood. He will be sorely missed.
Remembrance from Jenny Stout: I took a couple classes with Dr. Carr while I was at SILS, and what I remember most is his genuine love of reading and literature, and his desire to spread this love to other readers. In our popular literature class he made sure that no one made fun of any genre of books or specific title. Encouraging love of reading was more important to him than reading the "correct" material. That attitude really stuck with me and it was emblematic of Dr. Carr's generosity, open-mindedness, and kindness. He will be missed!
Remembrance from Sam Hastings: The world feels less enchanting without you dear David. It was wonderful to have you as part of our lives here at USC. You made us sparkle. You are loved and you are missed.
Remembrance from Marisa Ramirez: I'm very sad to hear of Dr. Carr's passing. He was a wonderful teacher, mentor and friend. When I encountered rough waters in grad school, he was there to help me navigate through and sail on. At the pearly gates, with a twinkle in his eye and a calligraphy pen at the ready, I imagine him guiding a fascinating conversation with Aristotle, Georgia O'Keefe, Miles Davis, Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles and Martha Graham on how best to curate the heavenly experience. You will be missed Dr. Carr but you'll be remembered each time I bring my child to the libraries, archives and museums for which you gave me such an appreciation!
Remembrance from Amelia Mitchell Swenby: I loved SILS, but Dr. Carr impacted me the most, so I chose him as my thesis advisor. He was so inspirational. We talked recently, planning for him to visit Alaska. He still inspires me. I admire him so much, not just for what he accomplished, but his energy and love for learning was contagious. Even in "retirement," he was still impacting lives all over the world. I love how he was even running a little mailbox lending library in his neighborhood. I still use his examples when I am training newer librarians and associates in library management. I cannot imagine my life not touched by Dr. Carr. I will probably think of a myriad of things to say about him later, as he regularly comes to my thoughts in my career. He was special, and will be deeply missed.
Remembrance from Edwin Arnaudin: Dr. Carr's Popular Materials class was revelatory in understanding why particular genres resonate with readers. It's probably the most valuable course I took at SILS as far as on-the-job practicality – plus we got to watch Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" one night. Dr. Carr's teaching was much hyped from the time I arrived on campus and it was a pleasure to witness him exceed those expectations.
Remembrance from Steven Miller: David was one of the most generous, kind, intelligent, and wonderful people I had the pleasure to work with or know. He always had a good word, story, or a smile for anyone he was with. We have missed his warmth and heart since he left Rutgers. The world is diminished by his loss.
Remembrance from Shaundria Williams: I only had a brief interactions with him; but, he was very kind in our communications. My most sincere condolences to the family. May the warmth of fond memories bring you healing and comfort during this time.
Remembrance from Susan Peters: I took as many classes as possible with David Carr during my time as a student at the Rutgers Library School, from 1992 to 1994. Our cohort worshipped the ground he walked on! Just recently, I moved to Vermont and was going through my old library school materials. I came across the hand-written, artistically wrought envelope that Professor Carr returned each of our final papers in, at the end of the fall semester. My name was beautifully, cursively written in green and red magic marker. I treasured it then, when he gave it to me, in his second-floor office of the SCILS building on College Avenue, and my heart was warmed to find it again, after all these years. He was one of the best teachers I have ever had. Rest in peace, David Carr.
Remembrance from Libby Gorman: I'm so grateful I had the chance to take a class with Dr. Carr before he retired. I loved the self-direction he had our final projects take and the way he emphasized the breadth of learning and research. He was so much fun to learn from and with.
Remembrance from Joan Petit: A few years ago, I suggested Dr. Carr as a possible speaker for a library-related lecture here in Portland, Oregon at Lewis & Clark College. To my delight, they invited him to give the lecture, and then invited me to introduce him. It's a bit long, but here's the introduction I gave...
"I am delighted to be here today to introduce Dr. David Carr. As you can see in your program, Dr. Carr has an impressive resume as a librarian and professor of library science, with a range of articles, essay collections, and keynotes. As one of his former students, I wanted to share just a few thoughts on Dr. Carr as a teacher.
He probably doesn’t know this, but Dr. Carr was a big part of the first really good decision I made as a librarian. Before I started library school, I attended the Open House for the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As one of the featured keynotes on that frozen February day, Dr. Carr spoke eloquently about libraries as cultural institutions and their essential role in democratic societies—indeed, I believe these are some of the very themes he’ll be addressing today. Well, after his talk, I was hooked. This was when I started to appreciate libraries as more than book and database repositories. When I received my acceptance to UNC later a month or so later, it was an easy decision to attend UNC.
And Dr. Carr constantly challenges his students to think deeply, in new ways. For his Humanities Reference class, we met in various interesting places across campus, including the local art museum and the Reference Area of the large research library—while these seem like obvious places to explore issues in the humanities, most classes met in the classroom. At the Ackland Art Museum, Dr. Carr asked us to choose one piece of artwork that intrigued us, and to use reference sources to research something inspired by the artwork. For our final project for his class, we each chose one theme or idea, and used reference books to explore it. One friend of mine examined the concept of the 'North.' Another friend looked at 'pirates.' These were brilliant exercises in intellectual curiosity, a fine trait for any reference librarian. I recall Dr. Carr also insisted we read the New York Times most days and never travel without out at least six or seven novels.
In Collection Development, I learned a lot about approaches to consider collections appropriate for different libraries. I also learned that if you buy a book and it’s not quite right for the collection, one strategy for pre-emptive weeding is to shelve it behind the radiator in your office.
Dr. Carr was known as the faculty member to seek out if you wanted to explore something a little bit different in your master’s paper. He advised, it seemed, almost all of my friends as they completed their library science degrees. He held office hours in the coffee shop. We also had several impromptu advising sessions on my front lawn as he walked his dogs in my neighborhood.
I asked my former classmates, via Facebook, what to say about Dr. Carr. One insisted I mention his excellent penmanship. Another called him a 'legend.' And one classmate said, 'Just say that we love him.' And so with that, I am very pleased to introduce Professor Dr. David Carr."
Remembrance from Susan Rathbun-Grubb: I am at a loss for words to describe how much Dr. Carr meant to me. He was an "ideal" - look up the word "professor" in the dictionary... and there is his wise, wonderful, smiling face. Truly an inspiration to all who had the good fortune of knowing him and learning from him.
Remembrance from Jason Alston: We enjoyed having you co-teach a cultural heritage course here at the University of South Carolina. I'm very saddened by your passing, and hope I can be one of the ones to pick up the torch and continue your work.
Remembrance from Hana Landova: One of the best teachers I have ever met ... His class "Cultural Institutions" that I attended while at SILS (as a Fulbright Research Scholar, 2004/2005) was eye-opening and also brought me together with several wonderful people. His book of the same title is in my office - so I can see it every time - and reminds me of the wide context that is there for the libraries and all the work we do. He introduced me to the constructivism in education and was in my thoughts very often while I was working on my dissertation. I will miss you, Dr. Carr. Thank you!
Remembrance from Michael Fitzgerald: I was happy to get in under the wire and take two classes with Dr. Carr prior to his retirement. We met up again in Carrboro just before he moved to Georgia, and I was glad to receive yet another beautiful hand-lettered card just last month. He was an anomaly at SILS and he recognized that. Would that there were more like him. I'll remember the lessons I learned, but more the conversations and friendship we shared outside of class.
Remembrance from Tommy Nixon: David was a warm, generous colleague and friend. His love of ideas and reading and his passion for communicating his knowledge to his students, friends and to the wider community of the general public will be his greatest legacy, I feel. He was an Old School Librarian, a vanishing breed, and I greatly admired him for that. In discussing books with him, I was always humbled by the shear breadth and depth of his reading, but he was never condescending, merely conveying his great passion for the life of the mind. I shall miss his gentle nature, his warm voice, the twinkle in his eye, and the lunches we used to share with some of his former students. Requiescat in pace.
Remembrance from Josh Boyer: After I graduated from SILS in 1999 and was working at NC State, I participated in a book club Dr. Carr hosted. We read books I liked and one book, Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, that drove me out of my mind. Like a conductor, Dr. Carr harmonized his and others' love of Faulkner, the confusion of some, and my irritation, into a generous and thought-provoking discussion. Conversations with Dr. Carr would expand, multiply the possibilities, and remind me -- if I may butcher a line from Hamlet (I feel Dr. Carr's spirit giving me permission) -- there are more things in heaven and Earth than I had dreamt of.
Remembrance from Elizabeth White: Dr. Carr was my adviser (MSLS 2005), and he is the reason I am the librarian I am today. Early in my time at SILS he gave me the best career advice ever, and his kindness and generosity made him one of my favorite instructors. I'll always cherish his lessons.
Remembrance from Kimberly Burton: I was privileged to be Dr. Carr's student in 2009, during what were for me (due to personal factors) some of the darkest, most challenging days of my life. Without his wise professional insights and his compassionate decency at large, I would not have finished my degree to join the library profession. Ever grateful for his influence as a mentor, and light in the darkness.
Remembrance from Susan Keesee: What a tremendous loss for all of us! I remember Dr. Carr as an inspiring lecturer in both the reference class taught on Saturdays and collection development. Since it has been more than 10 years since I had classes with him, I will believe that he is reunited with his beloved Beau and Blue, the dogs who made good and bad investments to realign our collection development spending in one of our assignments.
Remembrance from Sarah Hays: I first met Dr. Carr when I took his Cultural Institutions class at SILS - I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be able to take a class where I went to museums and zoos instead of a classroom. I've never been able to visit one without that lens ever since. After I graduated, I had the privilege of showing Dr. Carr around my hometown of St. Louis when he came to give a lecture to my library system. Again, because of the questions he asked and the observations he made, I was able to see things in a completely different way, all while having a wonderful time. That was truly my favorite of his talents, making thought and inquiry joyful. I'll miss him terribly.
Remembrance from Lindsey Dunn: I didn't know how to walk through a museum until I met Dr. Carr. He could also make the drabbest book seem exciting and thought-provoking. I remember trying and failing to read Wake County's One Book selection, which was Wolf Whistle. I couldn't get into the book. Then I attended Dr. Carr's book discussion session at staff day, and I found the appeal at his enthusiasm. What a great teacher! One of the best of my grad school days. All of the UNC teachers were excellent, but Dr. Carr had a special flair.
Remembrance from Maureen Barry: I wish I were as gifted with words as Dr. Carr. I can't possibly express how much I admired him. He was truly an inspiration to me and so many others. I'm so grateful to have kept in touch with him since graduating in 2005. I remember what he said to me on stage as I graduated: "I'll miss your beautiful smile." And I will miss his.
Remembrance from Annie Thompson: Dr. Carr was tremendously inspiring and he provided me with words of wisdom that resonated and opened my mind. I've passed his words on to others who are struggling to find their path. I am saddened to learn that he is no longer with us, but happy to know he touched so many lives.
Remembrance from Katherine Kemp Robbins: Dr. Carr was one of my favorite professors during my time at SILS. I will always treasure the conversations we had about books and reading at the Open Eye Cafe. I always loved that he invited us to join him on those mornings just for fun. And I think I went to every single one of his lectures, even when I wasn't feeling great or there was a game, just to hear him talk about books! I also saved all the bookmarks he gave me. He was a wonderful professor, mentor and friend. I will miss him.
Remembrance from Sarah Falls: Dr. Carr was an inspirational teacher and mentor. He helped us see the beauty in the connections between the everyday and the aesthetic. His methods and ways of approaching teaching and learning helped to form the basis of my professional life and how I view the world. I treasured the wonderful, calligraphed notes he placed on my comps and felt they were a fantastic send-off from him into the profession. I know the Carr is always late, but he did bring us a lot of candy.
Remembrance from Autumn Winters: Let it be known that Dr. Carr was the only professor I ever had who made me a mixtape. His kindness, good humor, and thoughtfulness about reading, books, and curation gave us all a model of service.
Remembrance from Shayera Tangri: I'm so sorry to hear of Dr. Carr's passing. He was one of my very favorite people during my time at SILS. I very much enjoyed the classes I took with him. And his advice while I was writing my master’s paper was invaluable. I still remember his comment on a paper of mine about the archives at Disney: "Great job. But you'll have to fight with my daughter for it." He was a wonderful person and I'm so glad I had the chance to know him. He will be missed.
Remembrance from Sylvia Leigh Lambert aka "Library Lady Leigh": Dr. Carr was a treasure and a pleasure! I loved how he guided us with such thoughtful questions and how he was so flexible with formats for assignments. What a wonderful spirit and soul! For his “collection development” class (Resource Selection and Evaluation, INLS 153 in Spring 2003), I composed the following poem of sorts. The official syllabus prompt for this indicates that we produce a “set of bullets that summarizes your personal observations about communities, collections, collecting, institutional purposes, the value of libraries and how to fulfill them through collecting.” My chicken-scratch notes on the syllabus quote Dr. Carr directly with this: “… a terse, bullet-driven paper to help concentrate your mind, not unlike an execution—teehee.” I feel Dr. Carr’s influence is all over this baby!
Leigh’s Look at Libraries, Communities, Collections, Collaborations, and Customizations (Personal Observations: Alliteration from A to Z—and Some Poetry)
- Acquisitions are achieved through assessments in action.
- Buying books (of ‘beyond’ and ‘between’ and ‘belong’) with brave bindings (at big bargains for borrowers) benefits brains and the building of balance and bonds.
- Collections are customized to their communities through caring collaborations.
- Dare to dance delightfully with dangerous decrees but document the decisions and demonstrate devotion to democratic designs and definitions.
- Educate, entertain, and encourage earnestly, embodying everybody’s endeavors and enchantments.
- Face faults and fears frankly and forge forward, focusing on the future, finding frameworks of freedom, friendliness, fellowship, and finally, don’t forget fiction and fun.
- Greet gaps that guide the getting.
- How has helping happened here?
- ‘If’ is an indispensable idea of the imagination.
- Just jump in joyfully and justify judgments for juveniles’ journeys.
- Keep kindness kindled.
- Love, lament, laugh, listen—and live life learning of literature, liberty, and longing—AND LONG LIVE LIBRARIES!!!
- Make models of mastery memorable and modify the mystery.
- Name necessary nourishing neighbors and neglect not the news.
- Open opportunities of our occupation’s oath to outweigh oppression.
- People’s participation is paramount, periodicals are powerful, and the poetry of picture books is precious in this place.
- Question quiescence.
- Read reviews.
- Seek stories.
- Teach tolerance.
- Understanding and uncertainty undulate with us.
- Value variety.
- Watch, wish, wonder, and work toward wisdom and wit.
- eXamine eXamples of eXpansive eXcellence and eXpertise.
- Yearn for the ‘yet’ y’all.
- Zoom toward zestful zones.
THANK YOU, DR. CARR!!!!!!!