April 7, 2006

VUMC mourns longtime library director Hodges

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T. Mark Hodges

VUMC mourns longtime library director Hodges

T. Mark Hodges, professor of Medical Administration, emeritus, who was director of the Medical Center Library from 1972 until his retirement in 1995, died April 1 at his Green Hills home. He was 72.

“Mark Hodges loved all forms of human expression, and he chose a profession that allowed him to collect and manage many of the very things he loved most,” said Lewis Lefkowitz, M.D., professor of Preventive Medicine, emeritus, a longtime friend. “His vision and watchful management of the construction of the Eskind Biomedical Library has left a tangible symbol of his many unseen gifts to the lives of all of us.”

Mr. Hodges was a native of Sheffield, England, and spent many of his early school years acutely aware of the home front activities of World War II, memories he would sometimes relate in conversation with friends. In 1951, as an 18-year-old, he entered National Service in the Royal Army Educational Corps, mostly serving in the Suez Canal Zone in Egypt, attaining the rank of Sergeant-Instructor.

Upon returning to his hometown, he used some of his service experience to begin work at the Sheffield Public Library, and, at the age of 20, found his calling.

He studied at the School of Librarianship at the Leeds College of Commerce in Leeds, England, and earned the Associateship of the (British) Library Association. Afterward he returned to Sheffield and worked as a branch librarian, but in 1957 he made a decision that profoundly affected the course of his life, accepting a job as a reference librarian at the Hamilton College Library in Clinton, N.Y. He moved to the United States permanently, and several years later became a U.S. citizen.

After settling in his adopted country, Mr. Hodges advanced in his professon, working at the Swarthmore College Library in Swarthmore, Pa.; the Brooklyn Public Library; the Harvard University Medical School, where he was director of the New England Regional Medical Library Service of the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine; and Emory University Medical School, where he was Associate Librarian for the Southeastern Regional Medical Library Program for the A.W. Calhoun Medical Library.

He also continued his education in the U.S., earning a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education in 1969.

Mr. Hodges came to Vanderbilt in 1972 as director of the Medical Center Library, over the years overseeing its growth, its transition of much material from books and journals to digital storage and electronic records, and finally the library’s move to the new Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library building in 1994. As director, he was known for his exacting standards, quiet humor and his long-legged stride as he moved through the stacks. Personally, he was known as an avid reader, moviegoer, and traveler.

The Medical Library Association presented him with the 1999 Marcia C. Noyes award for outstanding achievement in the field of medical librarianship.

Mr. Hodges also held an academic appointment in the School of Medicine in the department of Medical Administration. When he retired in 1995 he noted the changes that had come during his time at VUMC. “When I came here in 1972, the entire medical center, with the exception of the School of Nursing, was in Medical Center North. When I look at the Medical Center today and think about the contrast, it’s quite remarkable.”

“Access to information is the heartbeat of a medical center, and Mark Hodges devoted a lot of his life to making information available for our faculty and students. We all still benefit every day from the foundation he helped build, and I’m grateful for his work and career,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

“Mark Hodges’ work toward automating library procedures, providing great service, and advocating and planning for the Eskind Library was important early preparation for moving the library forward and better integrating it within the Medical Center,” said Nunzia Giuse, M.D., who succeeded Mr. Hodges as library director. “We will miss his vast knowledge of the profession, gentlemanly manner, and gracious spirit.”

In 1963 Mr. Hodges married Judith Rosenbloom Hodges, who survives him, as do their children, Thomas, a public affairs officer with the U.S. State Department, and Sara, associate professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. Mr. Hodges is also survived by two grandchildren, Seth and Fiona Hodges.

Mr. Hodges, who was a congregant of the Vanderbilt Catholic Community, will have a memorial service Saturday, April 8, at 2:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt’s Benton Chapel. The family requests that memorial be made to Dismas Inc., a transitional house for recently released prisoners on whose board Mr. Hodges sat, or to the Nashville Symphony Association.