It is with great personal sadness that I am conveying the news that Alexander L. (Sandy) Slade, a good friend, pioneer, and fierce champion of the provision of library services to distance education students, passed away on October 3.
Sandy’s contributions to the Off-Camp and DLS communities were many. He was the driver behind many efforts to serve distance students in the early days before any of the electronic tools and digital content emerged that make the task easier and more efficient today. Many students of that era benefited greatly from his passion and the innovations that resulted from his leadership, not just in Western Canada, but across North America and regions beyond.
Sandy was well known for his practice, research and scholarship in the area of distance education and libraries. He published several articles in the area. Among his first works was “The Canadian off-campus library services survey – 1985” (ERIC Document, ED 291 382). He pioneered the “Library Services for Off-Campus and Distance Education: An Annotated Bibliography” (1991, CLA), and he served on editorial boards with the Journal of Library and Information Services for Distance Learning and the Off-Campus Library Services Conferences. It was a joy and privilege to serve with Sandy on the program committee of the DLS Program at the joint CLA/ALA Annual Conference in Toronto (2003).
Sandy was appointed as COPPUL’s (the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries) second Executive Director in 2001, and he led COPPUL through substantive changes. His passion to support distance students continued with his leadership in developing and expanding the CURBA (Canada-wide University Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement). Over the many years he supported projects and tasks with a detailed and personal touch – conscientiously connecting his work to the bigger picture. He retired in 2011.
As a colleague, we will miss Sandy’s passion for libraries and ongoing interest in the profession. As a friend, we will miss his wry sense of humour, his readiness to listen and his desire to explore the world around him.
His wife Margaret has asked that in lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in Sandy’s name to his favorite charity – “Our Place” in Victoria (www.ourplacesociety.com/).
– Steve Schafer
(originally posted to OFFCAMP)