AUSTIN, Texas—An endowment to benefit the University of Texas Libraries has been established to recognize its retired director, Harold Billings.
A donation by Billings’ daughter, Carol Billings Blood, sparked the initiative, which has been further supported by Billings’ family and friends.
The Harold Billings Fund for Collection Enhancement will support the purchase of books and materials for which funding from routine sources is not available.
“The new Harold Billings Fund for Collection Endowment,” said Fred Heath, vice provost and director of the University of Texas Libraries, “will help the Libraries meet its strategic goal of becoming the preeminent academic library in the country by providing private financial support to our already aggressive acquisitions program.”
The endowment joins The Harold W. Billings Staff Honors Endowment that recognizes staff for outstanding work performance and distinctive contributions.
“It is a wonderful honor to have my name on two university endowments,” Billings said, “one that recognizes staff accomplishments and one that will help further strengthen the Libraries’ renowned collections.“
Billings began his employment in the Libraries as a library assistant in 1954, and after progressing through several administrative positions, he retired in 2003 after 25 years as director of the Libraries.
In 2002, he received the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award from the American Library Association. In the award, named for one of the pioneers in library automation, Billings was cited for his "long commitment to innovation in automation, resource sharing and creative management.”
Since his retirement, Billings has completed “M.P. Shiel: A Biography of His Early Years,” published in 2005, and his illustrated “Texas Beast Fables,” has just been released.
Books have been central to the entire Billings family. Blood worked for major publishing houses in New York City for several years before she retired to raise a young family in the countryside of Connecticut.
“I grew up in a home full of books, and love them,” Blood said. “I am pleased that I can help add books to the UT Libraries through this endowment honoring my dad.”