Bill O’Hanlon retiring from RWC-branch of Special Collections

February 2, 2018
Glynn Edwards

As Bill states in his retirement letter: “With over thirty-two years of service to the University, seventeen with the Library, and fifteen with Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), it is time to move forward to the next phase of my life.” A devotee of history, Bill had one break during his tenure at Stanford when he returned to school for an MA in History. Although he began at SLAC as a surveyor, he went back there to work in their archives. Later, after moving to Special Collections, he followed his history degree with an MLIS.

I met Bill when I started work in June of 2006. He was one of two FTEs holding down the fort in the processing unit for Special Collections where he had been employed since 2000. He knew where many of the bones were buried. He was my go-to guy those first few years to keep things running (both logistically and technologically) and when I determined that our holdings and collections management systems needed to be redesigned and updated. Bill was an essential component of the successful testing and migration of data which has allowed us the ability to manage our collections more accurately and actually run reports.

Those first years were a little chaotic; but Bill has always maintained a centered and calm demeanor as our division expanded and relocated. He was pivotal in helping us plan and move 2,000 linear feet of manuscript collections and staff between multiple locations during our first move from campus to Redwood City in the fall of 2013; then again three years later, fall 2016, to our second interim location in RWC. As much as he thrives during these relocations – he was determined to retire before the THIRD move to the new Stanford Campus at Redwood City (2019).

Many of us have had detailed conversations with Bill about our collections, our profession, history, music, etc. Researchers who came to our reading room while Bill was on the desk were lucky to interact with him – working at our reference desk was one of his favorite activities, one he missed after our relocation to RWC. During his tenure at the library, Bill has been a mentor to many student and hourly employees. One student in particular, started working for us in high school as a processing assistant. Bill hired her each summer until she graduated college. She was instrumental in helping with many of our Spanish language collections.

It will be very difficult to see him leave our small department; but we wish him all the best as he embarks on his post-Stanford phase.