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UT Libraries Associate Dean to Retire

Aubrey Mitchell will retire after 42 years of service on August 31

Aubrey Mitchell first came to work at the University of Tennessee Libraries as a student assistant in 1958. He earned $.75 an hour. On Thursday, August 31, 2006 Mitchell will retire from the libraries from his position as Associate Dean. He has been a faculty member of the UT Libraries for 42 years.

Mitchell was appointed Head of the Agriculture Library in 1964. He served in that role until 1981, when he was appointed Associate Director of Collection Development. He became Associate Dean of Public Services in 1985 and moved into the position of Associate Dean for Access Services in 1992. In 1997, Mitchell was appointed Associate Dean of Libraries. He served as Interim Dean of Libraries from 1999-2000.

“Aubrey Mitchell has made a tremendous contribution to the university through his leadership in the libraries,” Joe Johnson, University of Tennessee President Emeritus, said. “He always placed first the well being of the campus through library services. I admire his dedication-he is a first-class human being,” Johnson said.

When he started his career the UT Libraries had closed stacks; each time a student wanted a book, they had to submit a request and have the book retrieved for them. Throughout his career, Mitchell has been dedicated to increasing information access for not just the University of Tennessee, but for all Tennesseans. Mitchell has been an active participant in TENN-SHARE, a coalition of more than 450 Tennessee libraries dedicated to sharing resources throughout the state. Through this group, Mitchell was integral to the creation of the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL), which provides free online access to electronic databases for all libraries serving the citizens of the state of Tennessee. The databases index more than 1,000 magazines, journals, newspapers and reference works. More recently, Mitchell helped create Volunteer Voices, a TEL project dedicated to providing access to Tennessee’s rich culture and history through digitized primary sources.

In 2004, Mitchell was awarded the Tennessee Resource Sharing Award from the Tennessee Library Association for this outstanding work in promoting resource sharing in Tennessee libraries.

“Speaking for libraries across Tennessee, we are thankful for an advocate such as Aubrey Mitchell,” Jeanne Sugg, Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist, said. “His dedication to the expansion of TEL through his leadership in TENN-SHARE has brought libraries of every type together in a successful, first-ever collaboration. It is because of his respected participation in such professional organizations in Tennessee that such a strong and cohesive alliance has come to be. Aubrey is a gentle giant who has raised the bar for all of us,” Sugg said.

“Aubrey Mitchell is an outstanding individual, librarian, and public servant of the state of Tennessee,” Barbara Dewey, Dean of Libraries at the University of Tennessee, said. “He has tirelessly moved these projects forward without bringing any attention to himself. He has been a key player in lobbying state officials such as the Secretary of State and the Commissioner of Education as well as state legislators to the benefits of state resource sharing and the TEL projects in particular.”

“What I will miss most about Aubrey Mitchell is his optimism,” Dewey continued. “Whenever a problem arises, or there’s some issue with the budget, Aubrey always insists that everything will be all right, and that things will work out in the end. I will certainly miss his calm reassurance and warm smile,” Dewey said.

Mitchell looks forward to spending more time at his home in Seymour with his wife, Marla, two children and five grandchildren. In retirement, he will continue to serve as a member of the University of Tennessee Library Friends.

Aubrey Mitchell’s retirement party will be held Monday, August 28, 2006, from 4:00-6:00 pm at the University Club.

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