2002 Bollinger Academic Staff Award: Leonard Black

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black_leonardLeonard Franklin Black
Director, Wisconsin Tech-Search
MS Library Science ’75, BS English Literature ’70

This is the information age. And though mountains of information are more accessible to each of us than ever before, hunting for exactly what you want can be daunting if not impossible without a guide. Bollinger award winner and Wisconsin TechSearch Director Lenny Black leads information expeditions through uncharted reams and untold gigabits, tracking and capturing for hundreds of companies across Wisconsin and the United States.

Wisconsin TechSearch (WTS) is the information outreach program of the college’s Kurt F. Wendt Library. Each year, Black and his staff field about 35,000 inquiries for manufacturers, chemical companies, law firms and many others. Often these requests come as rush or super-rush orders, but as many clients will affirm, Black and his staff do an unparalleled job of delivering complete answers on deadline.

Under Black’s leadership, WTS’s annual revenue has more than quadrupled from $190,000 to more than $1,000,000 in 2002. Key to this growth was Black’s ability to keep his service current through a period of rapid and remarkable change in information technologies and engineering fields. He and his staff promote WTS off campus through personal contacts, trade fairs and other promotional events. All the while, he takes personal interest in delivering just the right information package that his clients demand. In the last two years, WTS has moved rapidly from paper to delivering electronic documents directly to clients’ desktops.

A dedicated professional, Black shares his years of experience with students through class lectures. He was an initial member of the librarian teaching team for EPD 151, Technical Information Resources, and continues as a guest lecturer in the School of Library and Information Studies each semester.

Black earned his BS in English Literature from UW-Madison in 1970 and attended graduate school at the University of Washington, Seattle. He returned to UW-Madison and earned and MS in library Science in 1975. He worked as a reference librarian at Memorial Library before joining WTS as assistant director in 1975. During the 1978-79 academic year, he took a leave of absence to become the interim director of the UW Geology and Geophysics Library. Black was appointed director of Wisconsin TechSearch in 1992.