Barbara Fischler


IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (2001)
School of Library and Information Science Distinguished Alumni Award (1989)
Indiana University Bloomington
M.A. 1964


Prior to becoming director of the IUPUI Libraries in 1982, Barbara Fischler spent many years as a librarian first at IU Bloomington and later at IUPUI. From 1958 to 1963, she worked as an assistant reference librarian at Bloomington. There, she was "instrumental" in establishing IU's new undergraduate library. After several years abroad, Fischler obtained a position as a circulation librarian at IUPUI in 1970. She later took a position at the 38th street science, engineering, and technology library. Fischler also held the title of associate professor of IUPUI's School of Library and Information Sciences, where she taught information sources, literature of the humanities, and the library as an organization. During these years, Fischler served on the search committee for a new library director, sat on several promotion and tenure committees, and became active in the Faculty Council. In 1981, she was promoted from assistant to full librarian and became acting director of the IUPUI libraries.

One year later, in 1982, Fischler became director of IUPUI's libraries. In this capacity she not only oversaw the activities at University Library but also supervised the university's professional libraries at the Herron School of Art, the Dental School, the Medical School, and the Law School. Fischler also remained active in university development, sitting on task forces on the future of IUPUI libraries and student services. In addition, she served on the faculty council. In 1983, Fischler revived the university's energy conservation program and succeeded in building support for a yearlong effort to reduce energy consumption on campus by five percent.

By this time, University Library (now University College) had outgrown its space. Library facilities within the building were shared with a cafeteria, the offices of the growing School of Social Work, and the department of instructional media services. Throughout the 1980s, Fischler researched technology and building innovations for a new library building. She once noted that she wanted to "create a new library building which would integrate the finest aspects of the traditional print-based sources with the most advanced technologies available." 5 After breaking ground on the new building in 1988, Fischler supervised construction efforts through all three of its phases. 6 With construction of the new University Library successfully completed, Fischler resigned her position as library director in 1995, and served a short time as director of the School of Library and Information Sciences before retiring in 1997. In 2001, the University Library commemorated all of her achievements by establishing the Barbara B. Fischler Society.