Letter to the Editor: Remembering Margaret Anderson

By Boyd Koehler, Associate professor 1967-2017

A profound sense of loss pervades my soul as I reflect on the passing of Margaret Anderson, former library director at Augsburg and longtime co-worker. She left an indelible impression on me from the very beginning (we attended graduate library school at the University of Minnesota together in the late 1960s). I was inspired by her respect for scholarship and thorough understanding of academe, her critical thinking, her sense of social justice and her quiet elegance.

We both came to Augsburg shortly after library school. As a professional cataloger, Margaret’s meticulousness provided an indispensable foundation for excellent library service — a source of pride for our library. This same perfectionism enabled our library to enter the computer age with expertise and confidence later under her incomparable leadership for 13 years. I admired her leadership. Leadership characterized by total transparency, ability to maintain staff cohesiveness, persuasive negotiating skills with administrators for library budget growth (she clearly avoided self-aggrandizement so rampant in many top-level budget negotiations), her business acumen and her ability to inspire trust among library staff members, students and campus colleagues.   

In short, Margaret was an unprecedented role model for both aspiring student librarians and library staff. When I think of Margaret Anderson,  a Biblical passage from Philippians comes easily to mind:

“I thank God upon my every remembrance of you [Margaret].”

*Photo Courtesy of Kristin Anderson

This article first appeared in the Friday, November 17, 2017, Edition of The Echo.