Margaret “Margo” L. Crist, former director of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Libraries, died on December 15, 2021.
Crist became director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst in 1997, “making it her job to merge the future with the past.” She already had a national reputation as an innovator who knew how to bring libraries into the information age and reimagine their role in both the public and academic arenas. She set out to make the W. E. B. Du Bois Library more user-friendly, installing the first computer stations on the main level for the public to use a new research tool—the internet. She championed both technological advancement and unique resources available only in print. She believed librarians were teachers of information literacy: educating patrons how to search for, capture, evaluate, and use information. She retired from UMass in 2003.
Prior to moving to UMass Amherst, Crist held positions as assistant director of libraries at the University of Michigan, assistant director of the Boston Public Library, and regional administrator for Central Massachusetts Regional Library System. She began her career in 1969 as a research librarian at the Boston Public Library, and later as branch librarian in Charlestown. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s in library science from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Crist was active in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). She chaired ARL’s Internet2 Working Group 1998–1999 and served on the ARL Information Policies Committee 1998–2000 and on the SPARC Steering Committee and SPARC Working Group 1998–1999. She was a mentor in the Leadership and Career Development Program in 2001–2002.
Crist’s family plans to hold a celebration and remembrance. To learn more about Crist’s life and career, see the UMass Amherst Libraries news release, “Margo Crist, Former Library Director, Is Remembered.”