The Tomorrow Librarian: Harold Billings' Legacy as Director of the University of Texas Libraries 1978-2003


Few can claim a career as long or legacy as lasting as Harold Billings. He began working for the University of Texas Libraries as a cataloger in 1954 while still pursuing his Master’s in Library Science and by 1978 was the director of the general libraries. He remained in that position until his retirement in 2003. Throughout his career Billings was able to navigate the immense changes in technology and constant challenge of keeping faith in value of libraries. Billings achieved this by inviting innovations that others of his time resisted. As a result of his leadership, UT Libraries thrived, growing its collections, introducing new digital services, and building its reputation as one if the highest ranking research libraries in the nation.


This site is meant to serve as a companion to an exhibit highlighting Billings’ career and life on display in the Perry-Castañeda Library's Scholars Commons during November of 2018. Borrowing the title of Billings’ 1995 essay on the future of libraries, we’ve given the exhibit and site a name that we think embodies Billings’ role as an innovative leader in the field: The Tomorrow Librarian.


As you explore this site, you can view a timeline of Billing's career, and pages exhibiting some of his main roles as a leader and advocate for the libraries as well as his personal scholarship and collecting. Each page also features a gallery of images beyond what is linked in the page's text.


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