Norman Horrocks, influential library leader, dies

For Immediate Release
Sun, 10/17/2010


CHICAGO - Norman Horrocks, 82, OC, PhD, FCLIP, professor emeritus School of Information Management, Dalhousie University and longtime ALA member leader, died Oct. 14. He was born in Manchester, England on Oct. 18, 1927 and died in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

According to his family, Mr. Horrocks began his career in libraries in Manchester, England, from 1945 – 53, interrupted by three years in the British Army’s Intelligence Corps. He then worked in Cyprus, Western Australia, and Pittsburgh, before joining Dalhousie in 1971. He became director of the School of Library and Information Studies (now the School of Information Management) and was later dean of the faculty of management. He left Halifax in 1986 to become editorial vice president of Scarecrow Press in Metuchen, N.J., where he also was an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, until he returned to Nova Scotia in 1995.

In 2006 he was named an officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his lifetime devotion to library and information science. In 2004 Norman was awarded the International Kaula Gold Medal and was the only person to have been elected to honorary membership in the three national library associations - Canadian, British and American. Norman also received awards from the American Library Association, the Association for Library and Information Science Education, the Atlantic Provinces Library Association, Beta Phi Mu (the International honor society for library and information studies), Dalhousie University School of Information Management Association Alumni, the New Jersey Library Association, the Nova Scotia Library Association and both Pittsburgh and Rutgers Universities. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of Library Science, the Nova Scotia Library Association established the Norman Horrocks Award for Library Leadership in 2003. 

Roberta Stevens, ALA President, said, “Norman was an enthusiastic pioneer of social networking. His ability to remember names and faces, to make connections across continents, in person, by email and via the sharing of newspaper clippings will long be remembered by his students, colleagues, family and friends. They say no one is irreplaceable. That is not true. Norman is irreplaceable. I have always felt the greatest of affection for him and held him in the highest esteem. What a dear and wonderful person Norman was! We will all miss him tremendously.”

In addition to his professional career, Mr. Horrocks was an active community member, volunteering with the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, Halifax Regional Public Libraries, and Banook Canoe Club. Paramount in his life was his love of soccer – he was an avid Manchester United fan. He rarely missed a game and kept up with the scores even in hospital.

Mr. Horrocks is survived by wife Sandra, daughter Julie (Cameron Shelley and their daughter Corinna), Guelph, Ontario; Scott (sons Carl and Logan), Ottawa; Gina, New Mexico; Annie (Rob Baert, children Nick, Bethany, Lily), Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Sarah (children Sammy, Elijah, Caleb and Chloe), Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Norman is also survived by many relatives in the United Kingdom, including his sisters Muriel Jacquin and Elsie Quinn and brother in law Philip Humphreys. He was predeceased by his parents; Edward and Annie (Barnes), and his sister Doris Humphreys. Special thanks to the nurses and staff on floor 8.1 of the Halifax Infirmary, who took such good care of Norman and his family during his illness.

A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Tuesday, October 19th at Saint James United Church, 181 Portland Street, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Reverend Glenn MacLean officiating. As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made to the Dalhousie Horrocks National Leadership Fund c/o Office of External Relations, Dalhousie University, ( or to a charity of your choice.


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