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WSU Library System News

News & Updates in the Libraries

Longtime Wayne State librarian Lothar Spang passes away

July 7th, 2009

Lothar Spang, who served as a librarian at Wayne State since 1970, died in Southfield July 3. He was 66.

Beginning his career at Wayne State in the early 1960s as a student assistant, Spang was tenured in 1974. He taught classes in the School of Library and Information Science and served as a grievance coordinator and executive board member of the Wayne State University American Association (AAUP) of University Professors union.

Spang earned his master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan and held bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees in history from Wayne State University. In recent years Spang focused his efforts on outreach, by improving literacy in Detroit area schools through the chapbook program, where Wayne State librarians worked with K-12 students in the classroom to create artwork and poetry that was compiled and published.

“Lothar opened the gates of opportunity and higher education to hundreds and hundreds of young people through his outreach efforts,” said Sandra Yee, dean of the Wayne State Library System. “He was a great librarian, mentor and friend. This loss will be felt by all of us here in the Library System and across the university.”

“As an officer in his union, Lothar was tireless in the representation of his colleagues and loved his work for the university and the union,” said Charles Parrish, political science professor and president of the Wayne State AAUP-AFT Local 6075. “He was a happy warrior for the things in which he believed.”

In addition to serving as a librarian and educator, Spang served as a member of numerous professional associations including the American Library Association, Association for College and Research Libraries, the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters and the Michigan Library Association as well as serving as a member of the Wayne State Academic Senate and AAUP.

A co-author of several works on outreach and partnerships, in 2006, he received the Outstanding Faculty Award from Educational Accessibility Services.

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Jean; sisters, Ruth Schoenek and Erika (Gary) Fix; brother, Rainer Spang; and several nieces and nephews.

There will be no funeral but a memorial service is being planned.