Henry L. Lemkau, Jr., the
second director of the Louis Calder Memorial Library and the first chairman of the
department of medical library and biomedical communications, has announced his retirement effective December 31, 2006. Mr. Lemkau was appointed director in 1979 and chairman of the department in 1980 when Biomedical Communications was merged with the Library.
During his 28 years with the University of Miami, Mr. Lemkau oversaw the early decades of the Information Age and its dramatic effects on information production, storage and retrieval, particularly in the scientific-technical-medical arena. Among his numerous contributions and accomplishments are:
- The successful and now complete merger of the Library and Biomedical Communications departments, one of the first such mergers at academic health centers
- The development of excellent rare book and historical collections and the creation of the beautiful Emanuel M. Papper, MD Reading Room in which they are now housed
- The widely accepted transformation by medical center faculty, staff and students of the Library's collections, from print to electronic, and of the department's services, from analog to digital based
- The exponential growth of current journal subscriptions, from 2,000 unique print titles in 1980 to 6,000 unique electronic and print titles in 2006
- The Library's contributions to the medical school curricula and other teaching activities, including the introduction of: evidence-based medicine and Medline instruction into the undergraduate and graduate medical education programs, genomics into the graduate program, informatics training for faculty and staff, and evidence-based nursing for practicing nurses throughout the Jackson Health System
- The Library's outreach services to community-based institutions and corporations
- Grant-funded initiatives that reflect and contribute to strengths of the School of Medicine, such as the AIDS Provider database and the spinal cord and traumatic brain injury website
- The digitization of important archival materials, such as Dr. Papper's presentations and diaries of landmark events, and Nobel prize winner Earl W. Sutherland's research notebooks currently underway
- A major expansion of the Library's permanent art collections through gifts from faculty and community-based individuals
- Building a competent, dedicated, and creative faculty and staff that functions as a team to provide the highest possible level of resources and services in a highly collegial environment
- Development of a sound fiscal foundation, including competitive budget support, generated revenue, and eight new endowments, including the Ralph H. and Ruth F. Gross, the Nancy Greene, the Emanuel M. Papper, and the D. Ralph Millard endowments.
A brief summary of Mr. Lemkau's career follows.
Henry L. Lemkau, Jr. was born in Queens Village, New York on October 19, 1941. He attended Rice High School in Manhattan, St. John's University in Queens where he majored in history, and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he earned a Master in Library Science degree in 1967. Mr. Lemkau completed his formal education at the University of Miami School of Law with a J.D. degree in 1994.
His interest in the service profession that is librarianship began as an undergraduate when he was hired as a page at Columbia University's Butler Library. His boss was Irwin Pizer, who became a giant in medical librarianship and automated information retrieval. While attending Pratt Institute, he served as a reference assistant at the New York Academy of Medicine from 1963-1966. The director was Gertrude Annan, another leader in the field and an authority in the history of medicine. In 1966 he was appointed head of the circulation and reference department and then head of the serials department of the Mount Sinai Hospital Library. In 1968 he was appointed branch librarian and assistant professor of the Basic Sciences Branch Library of the newly formed Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he worked with Al Brandon, yet another luminary in medical librarianship and an authority in collection development.
In 1968, at the age of 29, Mr. Lemkau was appointed library director and assistant professor of medical bibliography at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He served in this capacity until 1979 when we was appointed director and associate professor, department of medical library at the University of Miami School of Medicine. One year later, he was appointed chairman of the new department of medical library and biomedical
communications, and in 1985 he was promoted to professor.
Mr. Lemkau's contributions to the profession are numerous and were nationally recognized beginning in 1989 when he was elected to the board of directors of the Medical Library Association. In 2004 he was awarded fellowship in the Association, and in 2006 he was awarded the Association's distinguished 2007 Janet Doe Lectureship award. He authored many peer-reviewed papers, delivered named lectures and many presentations at international, national and regional conferences, was principal investigator of two National Library of Medicine Information Systems grants, a founder of the Biomedical Communications Network (BCN) and the Consortium of Southern Biomedical Library Directors (CONBLS), and chair of numerous committees of multiple organizations.
Yet, Mr. Lemkau is so much more than an outstanding medical librarian. He is ever diplomatic, wise, nurturing, and loving to all who are open to leadership, nurturing and love, and there have been many, in both his professional and personal lives, whose own lives have been deeply affected and significantly improved from his presence in them. He was raised with the idea that to those to whom much is given, much is expected. His primary motivation for going to Law School at the age of 50 was to improve his ability to help people from all walks of life. This goal, as well as the development of two fine academic medical center libraries, has been achieved with distinction. There is no doubt by anyone who knows him that this goal will continue well into his well deserved retirement. He will also indulge his love of travel and the culinary arts.
Dr. Goldschmidt, senior vice-president for medical affairs and dean, has appointed a search committee, chaired by Carl Eisdorfer, PhD, MD, to recruit the third director to lead the now 55 year old Library and the second chairman of the 26 year old department of medical library and biomedical communications.