The Wisconsin library community lost a terrific leader and advocate with the passing of Richard Grobschmidt this past week after a long illness. State Superintendent Tony Evers issued a statement expressing sympathy following the death of Richard Grobschmidt:
“Wisconsin lost an ally for kids and families with the passing of Rick Grobschmidt. He served the state in many roles: as a teacher in South Milwaukee, as a Wisconsin State Representative and Senator, and as an Assistant State Superintendent at the Department of Public Instruction. He was principled in his beliefs, but always looked for ways to build common ground to better serve his constituents and our state. Rick touched many lives and was one of the kindest people I have ever met. I am glad to have called him a friend. My condolences to Barb, Rick’s family, and his many friends.”
As Assistant State Superintendent, Rick oversaw the Wisconsin state library functions. The library teams within his DPI division included Public Library Development and the Reference and Loan Library (now Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning). Rick was the staff liaison to the Council on Libraries and Network Development (COLAND), rarely missing any of their bi-monthly meetings. He worked very closely with then-COLAND chair Kathy Pletcher on the 2008 Visioning Summit. Rick also oversaw the school library media and instructional technology functions at DPI. During his tenure, Rick’s team led the revision of licensing standards for School Library Media Specialists. In addition to library responsibilities, Rick also had responsibility for Early Childhood and Service Learning program areas, as well as all information systems functions within DPI.
|Rick and the Wisconsin delegation to the 2007 American Library Association Legislative Days, pictured with Representative Steve Kagen. Photo from May/June 2007 issue of Channel newsletter.|
Rick was a skillful and engaged advocate for public and school libraries, working with the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Advisory Committee, COLAND, the Governor’s Office, and the Legislature. Rick regularly attended ALA Legislative Days in Washington, DC, leading the Wisconsin contingent on their congressional office visits. Rick was also a regular participant in many WLA and WEMTA (WEMA) annual conferences and meetings, as well as meetings of the national Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA).
Rick was welcoming to all, the long-standing professionals and leaders from multi-type libraries and schools, newcomers and staff representing small and rural schools and libraries. He made everyone feel that their insights were valued.
Rick will be missed.
Kurt Kiefer, Division for Libraries and Technology