Dr. David Kaser, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of IU’s former School of Library and Information Science and one of a handful of librarians to be named a Guggenheim Fellow, passed away March 24. He was 93.
Kaser spent nearly 20 years teaching at Indiana University, was a two-time Councilor for the American Library Association, and is the author of 14 books, including his autobiography, “Just Lucky, I Guess: My Adventurous Life as a Hoosier Librarian.”
Born in Mishawaka, Indiana, March 12, 1924, Kaser served in the Army during World War II and saw combat in the European, African, and Middle Eastern campaigns. He also served in the Alaskan theater and spent the final year of his military services as a recruiter. Following the war, he enrolled in Houghton College in New York where he earned a B.A. in English in 1949. One year later, he earned a Master’s in English from Notre Dame, and he added a Master of Arts in Library Science from the University of Michigan in 1952.
Kaser completed his Ph.D. in Library Science from Michigan in 1956, and he became the Chief of Acquisitions at Washington University from 1956-59. He became a professor at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1960-68, and he concurrently served as the Director of Libraries for Vanderbilt University. Kaser became the Director of Libraries for Cornell University from 1968-73, and during this time he also served as a lecturer at Syracuse University. Kaser arrived in Bloomington in 1973 to serve as a professor of Library and Information Science. He held that position until 1986 when he was named a Distinguished Professor of Library and Information Science until his retirement in 1991.
Kaser directed more than 40 Ph.D. dissertations on subjects ranging from the history of mosque libraries in Islamic life and culture to the role of the personnel office in Academic Libraries. He was recognized with a Distinguished Teaching Award from IU in 1981, and he performed more than 350 library consultancies on four continents on general library management and academic library building planning. Kaser also published more than 300 articles.
Since 2004, he has been the namesake of the David Kaser Lecture Series, which is sponsored by the Department of Information and Library Science at the School of Informatics and Computing, and the Lilly Library.
He was married to the former Jane Jewell, in 1950, and he is survived by his son, John, and his daughter, Kathleen.