Donald O. Rod

Donald O. Rod


UNI's library is named for former library director Donald Olaf Rod. Rod came to UNI in 1953 as director of the library and head of the Department of Library Science. Before coming to UNI, Rod was assistant and associate librarian at Luther College in Iowa from 1940 until 1943 and head librarian at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, for ten years, beginning in 1943. He was director of the UNI library from 1953 to 1986 and head of the Department of Library Science from 1953 to 1968.

Donald Rod was born in Roland, Iowa, in 1915. In 1938 he received his A. B. degree in Latin from Luther College in Iowa; in 1940 he received an A. B. L. S degree in library science from the University of Michigan. He completed additional library science work at the University of Chicago Graduate Library School. He was a council member of the American Library Association, president of the Iowa Library Association, chairman of the Buildings Committee of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and a consultant examiner for the North Central Association.


Memorial Services for Donald Olaf Rod were held Saturday August 30, 2003, at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Ames, with the Reverend Glenn Kappelmann officiating. He died Wednesday, August 27, 2003, at Mary Greeley Medical Center.

Donald and his twin sister Dorothy were born in Roland, July 14, 1915, to Mikkel Olai and Ada (Birkeland) Rod. He graduated from Roland High School as salutatorian of his class in 1933, received his A. B. degree from Luther College in 1938 and his A. B. L. S. degree from the University of Michigan in 1940. He also did further graduate work at the University of Chicago and Rutgers University. In 1947 he received a fellowship from the American Library Association for six months of study of European libraries, primarily in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. A general account of that study was published in the tenth anniversary issue of College and Research Libraries.

After serving as Assistant Librarian at Luther College (1940-1943) and Head Librarian at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois (1943-1953), he was Director of Library Services at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, for thirty-three years. He also served as a library building consultant throughout his career, working with more than forty colleges and universities throughout the United States. Among other professional activities were terms as president of the Iowa Library Association and as a member of the Council of the American Library Association. He also served for many years as a consultant/examiner for the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Upon his retirement in 1986 from the University of Northern Iowa, the library building was named the Donald 0. Rod Library. He and his wife moved to Ames in 1988, where they lived at Northcrest Retirement Community. He was a member of Bethesda Lutheran Church.

In 1944 he married Elsie Siemers of Ames. They had three children: Michael (who died October 9, 1987, in Cedar Falls, where he was Assistant Professor of Accounting at the University of Northern Iowa), Catherine (a member of the library faculty at Grinnell College), and John (senior planner for the city of Overland Park, Kansas).

He is survived by his children, John (Nanette) and Catherine, and two grandchildren, Erik and Amy Rod of Cedar Falls. He was preceded in death by his wife, Elsie; son, Michael; four brothers, Ernest, Ingvald, Paul, and Herbert; twin sister, Dorothy; and granddaughter Kristin McGivern.

Memorial contributions may be made to Luther College, the Donald 0. Rod Library at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, or Heartwood House.

Adams Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Copyright Waterloo Courier, August 31, 2003, page B4.

Compiled by Susan Witthoft; edited by Gerald L. Peterson
Special Collections and University Archives
January 1996


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913
Email: Gerald.Peterson@uni.edu