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Patrica A. Anderson: A life and legacy of literary activism

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University Distinguished Professor Emeritus David D. Anderson has made a tribute to his beloved wife of 53 years that is a gift to us all. David established the Patricia A. Anderson Library Endowment for Children’s Books at the MSU Library to honor Pat’s full and vibrant life, and especially her lifelong love of books. 

Prior to her passing in 2006, Pat enriched the lives of many with her warmth and friendship. She is also remembered for her steadfast dedication to children, reading and learning. Throughout her life and career, she gave generously of her time and energy and had a special concern for supporting literature and libraries. Beginning her career as a secondary English teacher, she earned her Masters of Library Science degree while on the staff of Lansing Public Schools. During her 40 years of service in the Lansing area, she inspired thousands of children with her passion for the written word through her positions as a children’s librarian and school librarian. 
Pat went above and beyond her call of duty as an educator, and also contributed to her craft and her colleagues through numerous professional activities.  She was an active member of the American Library Association, the Michigan Education Association, the Modern Language Association and the Popular Culture Association. She was a founding member of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature and continued to serve as its archivist through her retirement. She was a long-time, valued member and former president of the MSU Friends of the Library. Pat also published articles, essays and poems in library journals, society publications and the University College Quarterly of Michigan State University. She traveled throughout Europe, Australia and Asia, teaching conversational English in Pakistan for two years.
Over the course of her life, Pat collected many children’s books which are now part of a collection in her name within the Libraries’ Special Collection Division. The endowment David created supports this collection and allows for new books to be continually added. Notably, the collection now includes the childhood books of Sarah Shaw Hannah, daughter of former MSU President Robert S. Shaw and wife of former MSU President John Hannah. 
“In a very real and tangible sense,” said David, “Pat’s passion for bringing books and children together can now continue in a very unique way—beyond her personal involvement.”
Peter Berg, head of the Libraries’ Special Collections, noted that the endowment will allow the division to acquire important children’s books that have influenced generations of young American readers and complements the Libraries’ strong Nineteenth Century American Schoolbook Collection. “Together the collections will provide a rich resource for studies in such fields as the history of childhood, child discipline, the education of children, the history of reading, pedagogy, and the history of publishing, graphic arts and illustration,” Berg said. “This is a fitting tribute to a woman who dedicated much of her working life to children and reading.”
For more information about making a gift to the MSU Libraries, contact Assistant Director of Development Roger Merrifield at (517) 884-1013.