Thursday, September 16, 2010
Three years ago I was a brand new library science student. I spent the first semester muddling my way through, trying to figure out if the school library track was what I really wanted to do and if I could handle being a student again. My second semester is when I think my real experience began. I finally remembered what it was to write a five page paper, read a text book, and sit through three hour lectures; more importantly I was making friends and fine tuning the classes I was taking. One class sticks out in my mind, not only because it is where I met my fellow wandering librarians but this is when I met Prof. Dan Fleming. I wish I could fully encompass my first impression of Dan. I wish I could in detail tell you how knowledgeable, supportive, kind, and nurturing he was. With his little sayings like: "feed the rabbits," "You want fresh? I can be very fresh," and "do NOT gossip with the teachers, they talk and you just listen;" he became not just a professor to us but a mentor, counselor, cheerleader, and generally someone we would always turn to to share our achievements and failures. Dan was the first person who really showed me what it would be like to work in a school library. It was his influence that shapes my vision of what my library is and can be. I do not think I can fully express how much he still is a part of my outlook on life even though we hadn't spoke to one another in over a year.
Today, looking down at his casket, all I could think was, "It's so small." Dan's personality emanated from his body, his enthusiasm and kindness preceded him wherever he went. He's truly gone, and an entire community has lost someone very special. Dan passed away from cancer on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. He is survived by his wife, three children, and all the librarians and students that he made excited about going out into the world and changing it for the better.