A Librarian’s Librarian: Gift to URI Celebrates the Work of a Lifetime

Sharman Prouty

Sharman E. Prouty earned a Master of Library and Information Studies (formerly Library Science) from the University of Rhode Island in 1976.

Sharman E. Prouty, a librarian, inspired colleagues with her professionalism and commitment to libraries.

Sharman, who earned a Master of Library and Information Studies (formerly Library Science) from the University of Rhode Island in 1976, went on to apply those skills as a librarian in several Massachusetts communities, including the historic Deerfield Library and the Wheeler Memorial Library in Orange, Massachusetts, where she resided.

Walt Owens, former director of the Wheeler Library, remembers Sharman as “a conscientious and dedicated public servant, and a favorite with many patrons.”

David Bosse, current librarian and curator of maps for the Deerfield Library, says Sharman was “very professional in her demeanor,” and “very meticulous” in her work as a cataloger.

“She enjoyed working with our museum guides, as well as the college students who are here each summer,” David says. By all accounts, Sharman was the quintessential librarian, devoting her life to her chosen profession.

For nearly 30 years, Sharman consistently demonstrated her gratitude and support of URI with modest annual gifts. She further demonstrated that commitment upon her death by leaving a substantial portion of her estate to URI’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS). Sharman’s generous gift celebrates the education that served as the foundation of her life’s work.

Valerie Karno, director of URI’s GSLIS program, says that Sharman’s gift will help provide scholarships to students and funds to support innovative research and curriculum development, ensuring GSLIS continues to adapt to the information needs of the digital economy.

By giving back to her school, Sharman has contributed to the future prosperity of librarianship, continuing her lifelong work. Housed within URI’s renowned Harrington School of Communication and Media, GSLIS was recently named one of the top 50 Online MLIS programs in the country.

For Sharman, the University of Rhode Island—and GSLIS—made a difference in her life. Now, through her estate gift, this longtime librarian is making a difference in the lives of future students.

If there is a program at the University of Rhode Island that has meant a lot to you, you can be like Sharman in providing scholarships or other funding. Please contact Lindsey Yates-Grimley at lyates-grimley@uri.edu or 401-874-2042 to discuss your intentions.