A familiar face is gone from the library although her legacy will remain. Flo Wilson, associate dean of libraries, retired in June after more than a quarter-century with Vanderbilt.
Wilson is widely regarded as a model librarian, best known for her thoughtfulness and thoroughness and looking at all sides of an issue when making decisions.
“Flo is one of the most outstanding librarians that I have ever had an opportunity to know. Words are not adequate to describe her contributions to both our university and our profession,” Dean of Libraries Connie Vinita Dowell said. “She will be missed terribly by everyone in the Vanderbilt libraries and the many people who have come to know her across the campus.”
Wilson came to Vanderbilt in 1984 as assistant director of the library for automated systems. During her early years at the library she led the implementation of the first automation system and has been involved in every subsequent major automation effort. In her associate dean responsibilities, she has worked variously with the library’s technical services and with each of the libraries to ensure high quality services. During her tenure she has also served as acting director of several of the libraries including the Music Library, Peabody Library (where she oversaw major remodeling) and the Science Library, and served as acting director and director of the Management Library.
“She has an in-depth command of the overall library budget and brought her wisdom to bear on every major decision during my administration,” retired University Librarian Paul Gherman said. “Her thoughtfulness and counsel were invaluable to me.”
Following Gherman’s retirement in 2007, Wilson was named interim university librarian and co-chaired the search committee that brought Dowell to Vanderbilt.
Wilson says that her first position at Vanderbilt, bringing technology into the system, afforded her the opportunity to know every person in the library. “The ever-changing nature of my position and the excellent staff have kept me engaged and provided me with fresh perspectives on an ongoing basis,” she says. “It’s been a privilege to work here with all of these talented people.”
Wilson and her husband, also recently retired from Vanderbilt, are building a retirement home in Monteagle, Tenn.