Lawrence Michael (Larry) Romans, long-time Vanderbilt University librarian, Aug. 16, 1947- Jan. 28, 2016. Born in Bangor, ME. and a resident of Nashville, TN. since 1967. He was devoted to Mike Morgan, who was the most important person in his life since Aug. 12, 1970. They were officially married in Boston on March 26, 2011.
Larry served as Head of Government Information and Media Services and specialist in Political Science and Communication Studies at Vanderbilt’s main library from 1983 to 2014. His government information and political science web pages were among the most used in the country. He was active in the American Library Association, serving on its governing Council since 1992 and as a member of the ALA Executive Board, 2007-2010. He was chair of the Government Documents Round Table in 1999-2000. Winner of the 1995 ALA/GODORT/ ProQuest Documents to the People Award, for “outstanding leadership as an advocate of effective public access to government information” and the 2008 ALA/GODORT James Bennett Childs Award for lifetime contributions to government information librarianship. He served on the U.S. Public Printer’s Depository Library Council, 2012-2015. Larry served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Library Association for many years. He received the 2011 TLA President’s Award for outstanding service and the 2013 TLA Honor Award for “significant contributions to library service in Tennessee.” Larry also served on the Board of Directors of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT). He and his spouse helped endow the Mike Morgan-Larry Romans Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, given annually to an age-appropriate book of exceptional merit relating to the GLBT experience.
Larry was active in the Unitarian Church, serving as the President of the Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1996-1998 and 2010-2012. He was chair of a number of GNUUC committees as well as newsletter editor for many years. He served as a member of the South East Chalice Lighters, which distributes as much as $75,000 annually to help Congregations grow. In 2015 GNUUC established a Larry Romans Leadership Development Fund to provide funds to attend leadership programs.
A 1964 graduate of Forest Hill HS (West Palm Beach FL), Larry skipped his senior year to go at age 16 to Stetson Univ. (DeLand FL), from which he graduated in 1967 at age 19. He received a fellowship from Vanderbilt Univ. in Political Science, received an M.A. in Political Science in 1978 from Tulane Univ. (New Orleans), and an M.L.S. (Library Science) from Peabody College/Vanderbilt Univ. in 1983. He was on the Stetson Student Senate and was president of the Tulane Graduate School student body and of the Peabody/Vanderbilt Library Science student body.
Friendly, funny, sarcastic, hardworking, extroverted, opinionated, and pushy, Larry liked almost everybody and never held a grudge. He had huge collections of compact discs and books. He loved to read, and going to the movies was his favorite past-time. He loved dogs. Please adopt a dog from a shelter.
He had a liver transplant on June 28, 2006. In January 2011 he found out that cancer from the old liver had spread. Please sign an organ donor card.
Survived by Mike Morgan, the love of his life and his spouse of more than 45 years; mother, Marilyne Webber Romans; sisters, Virginia (Gary) Sitar and Susan (Phil) Donovan; nieces Kathy (Pat) Higgins, Melissa Kirk, and Sally Donovan, and step-sons, York and Derek Morgan. He is also survived by many work, church, and other friends, and by a succession of wonderful student assistants. He is preceded in death by his father, Francis Charles (“Red”) Romans, and by his step-son, Wyeth Morgan.
A memorial service will be held beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 14th, at Vanderbilt University’s Benton Chapel, conducted by the Rev. Carmen Emerson and Rev. Dr. Dan Rosemergy. Larry’s cremains will be interred at a later date. Reserved parking is available in the Wesley parking garage directly across 21st Ave. from the Heard Library.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Romans Leadership Fund, GNUUC, 374 Hicks Rd., 37221; the ALA Morgan-Romans Stonewall Book Endowment, 50 E Huron St., Chicago IL 60611; or Gilda’s Club,1707 Division St., Nashville, TN 37203.