In the spring of 1999, three librarians—Scott Alan Smith (Blackwell’s), Richard Brumley (Oregon State University), and Nancy Slight-Gibney (University of Oregon)—met in Corvallis, Oregon for lunch. As they lamented the demise of the Feather River Institute (an intentionally small, acquisitions-focused conference that had run during the 1990s at the University of the Pacific), they talked about how they missed the sense of being at a retreat within a community of practice. Talk soon turned to whether they could resurrect such an atmosphere at another event, and before lunch was finished, the seeds for the Acquisitions Institute at Timberline Lodge had been sown.
Creating community is as essential now as it was during the very first Acquisitions Institute, held in 2000. Timberline Lodge continues to be an integral part of the event, providing numerous spaces for interaction and conversation, reflection, rejuvenation, and inspiration. The single-track format ensures intentionality in programming as well as a shared experience for all attendees.
Remembering Co-Founder Scott Alan Smith
Scott Alan Smith passed away on March 12, 2018. Scott was a long-time representative for a number of vendors, including Blackwell North America and Blackwell’s. He served for several years as director for the Langlois (Oregon) Public Library and later as a volunteer at public libraries near his Columbia Gorge home in Mosier, Oregon. Scott was a founding member of the planning committees for the Feather River Institute and the Acquisitions Institute at Timberline Lodge, and his work contributed significantly to advances in library acquisitions and the development of our community of practice. He was a masterful storyteller and a convivial and attentive host at the Institutes. Scott’s contributions were recognized in a ceremony at the 2018 Acquisitions Institute, and a number of his colleagues shared their memories of Scott.
Memories of Scott (click to expand)
- Eileen Heslip: I will miss Scott for his wit, dry humour (remember those awful Shaggy Dog stories?), but most of all for his friendship of nearly 40 years. There are so many stories and memories.
- Pat Adams: I was thinking of Scott last week when Kim Anderson, Steve Sutton, and I were speaking on a panel. It seemed Scott was the only one missing. Back in the Blackwell days, Kim, Scott, and I would argue our different approaches to Blackwell profile writing. I hadn’t heard from Scott in a while and regret not calling him. He will be missed.
- Karen Jensen: I’m so sorry to hear about Scott. When I started in my collection development position, there was very little information left for me, so I had to figure things out. Scott was very helpful with an orientation to academic publishing, assistance with tweaking approval plans, and introducing me to many academic librarians, as well as – of course! – recommending the Acquisitions Institute. I also really enjoyed talking with him about all kinds of subjects and about reading. My sympathies to his family.
- Molly Raphael: It saddens me to learn of Scott’s passing at such a young age. We were both Oberlin College graduates and loved our alma mater. We served at the same time on the Friends of the Oberlin College Library Council, including during the time of the Oberlin Alumni Librarians Reunion in 1999. He invited me to two of the Timberline Institutes, during my time as president of the American Library Association, and I got to see him in action, working with other Oregon library leaders. We also had the chance to get to know each other during his time in Oregon at the Langlois Public Library. He will be missed not just by the librarian/publisher community but also by the Oberlin community. He was a kind, thoughtful, generous, and warm person. May he rest in peace.
- Richard Brumley: Scott Smith: A remembrance. Scott by name. Scot by heritage. Book lover. Book seller. Travel junky. Story teller. Dressed to the nines, with waistcoat and braces. Collector and drinker of fine single malt scotches. Reader and admirer of Hunter S. Thompson. Boon travel companion and fellow adventurer in Scotland and Ireland. Sharer of friendship. Keeper of secrets. Casualty of a dying industry. May you and your demons be at rest.
- Mary Nugent: I was so sorry to hear Scott passed away. I first met Scott when he asked me to participate in a panel at the Timberline Acquisitions Institute. I was happy to participate and get to know Scott. He was a great conversationalist, on many topics. I had been away from the Institute, and when I went last year I was disappointed not to see him. I will miss seeing him around. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
- Donald Mason: Since high school, I rarely saw Scott over the last 40+ years. I shouldn’t be surprised that he devoted his life to public libraries and reading. I have been a trustee in his hometown sytem for 14 years and a trustee of Kent State University where he received his Master’s degree. It comforts me to know that our physical paths went in different directions but our love of learning and helping others learn actually placed us on the same path.
- Kittie Henderson: From the early days at Feather River to the current institute at Timberline, Scott’s thoughtfulness, seemingly endless energy, and genuine concern for the profession helped to create a much-needed forum for discussion and interaction across all parts of the library community. What an amazing legacy. Great job my friend! You will be missed.