Gary Rolstad, retired Associate State Librarian for the State Library of Louisiana, passed away April 7, 2005.
Gary was also director of the St. Bernard Parish Library in Louisiana; consultant for adult services at Queens Borough Library in New York; and media librarian in Hennepin County Minnesota.
Gary was an editor for RQ, the journal of the Reference and Adult Services Division of the American Library Association. He was author of many articles on literacy and readers' advisory and co-editor of the book, Developing Readers' Advisory Services: Concepts and Commitments (Neal-Schuman, 1993).
Even after a long illness Gary worked as reference librarian part-time at the St. Tammany Parish Library because he loved the work of librarianship .
In his introduction to the winter 2000 issue of Louisiana Libraries, "The Future of Libraries," Gary was a visionary in the way he described the future of the role of the state library.
State libraries across America will need to
increase commitment to digitized formats and
alternative delivery of information. Although the
traditional mission of library services survives, the
variety and complexity of delivery has sent many
public libraries, especially smaller libraries, into a spin.
They are facing rapid development and anxieties are
high. State libraries will be called upon to relieve
anxieties with technical support and strategic direction.
So a state library must clear a path for public libraries, and lead the way through the complexities.
Gary did many amazing things during his library career. He worked so hard to get a tax increase in St. Bernard Parish and he worked tirelessly at the State Library of Louisiana to develop receptivity to new services.
Like all of us he loved to read. The last book we talked about was Any Human Heart. Gary loved his family, baseball and his dog, Bubba.
My heart goes out to Gary's wife, Gwen Rolstad, and all his family. The world has lost a librarian who believed in the power of reading and the importance of libraries. I went to a library groundbreaking this morning. I heard politicians and educators talk about the hope and promise the new library will bring to the people of the area. Gary knew that and lived it all his life.