Library "champion" Barbara Will

“The library community has lost a true advocate and a wonderful friend,” State Librarian of California Susan Hildreth says of Library Programs Consultant Barbara Will who passed away July 8. 

Barbara Will was nationally known as an expert on the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).  She served on American Library Association committees and task forces advocating LSTA reauthorization, and every year she tenaciously fought for the highest funding appropriation possible from Congress. In a response to the announcement of Will’s passing, Sandy Schuckett, long-time library supporter and California School Library Association leader, says “Our library world has indeed lost one of its brightest and strongest champions and advocates.”

A Library Programs Consultant in Library Development Services at the California State Library from 1987 until her retirement in 2006, Will spent many of those years coordinating networking activities throughout the state and facilitating development of what would eventually become the Library of California.  She also monitored LSTA-supported projects such as the California Preservation Program and developed very successful targeted grant programs, including Services for People with Disabilities and Services for Small Businesses.

Will had gone to upstate New York in late May to be with her father who was near death.  After his funeral, as she was preparing to return home to California, she collapsed from what was subsequently diagnosed as an infected intestinal obstruction.  She underwent emergency surgery and remained alive for several weeks but was never able to fully recover.

Condolences may be sent to Barbara Will’s husband, Gerry Bowers, 2971 Elmwood Avenue, Stockton, California 95204-3906.  Mr. Bowers has indicated that donations to the Salvation Army in Will's name would be appreciated.  Also, donations may be made in Will’s name to the California State Library Foundation.  

   

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