Julia Claire Blixrud

Julia Claire Blixrud was born on December 7, 1954, in Mahnomen, Minnesota to Alden and Eileen Blixrud. She died October 29, 2014, in Lawrence, Kansas. She is survived by her husband, Keith Russell, her mother, Eileen Blixrud, brother, Craig (Susan) Blixrud, sister Wendy (Ellworth) Beckmann, sister-in-law, Julie (Terry) Spangler, nephews and nieces, cousins and many friends and colleagues throughout the world. Her father, Alden Blixrud, preceded her in death. Services will be held on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence, Kansas at 2:00 p.m. with visitation starting at 1:30 p.m. Burial will take place Monday, November 3 at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence.

She was very active at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence. She was often assistant minister, reader, cantor, and choir member at most every church that she joined throughout her life.

Julia received an M.A. degree in Library Science in 1979 from the University of Minnesota. She held a B.A. in Scandinavian Studies and Library Science from Augsburg College, Minneapolis. She graduated from high school in Stewart, Minnesota.

She was the Assistant Executive Director, Scholarly Communication, for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in Washington, D.C., a position she assumed in 2009. During earlier years at ARL (since 1996), she also worked with other programs, such as Statistics and Measurement; Research, Teaching, and Learning; Leadership Development; the Office of Leadership and Management Services (OLMS); and the Visiting Program Officers program. For several of her years at ARL she was also heavily involved in SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).

Julia started her library career at Minitex, an information and resource sharing program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries. In 1983, she moved to Washington D.C., were she became Project Manager of the CONSER A&I Coverage Project for theAssociation of Research Libraries. Then she headed up the National Serials Data Program at the Library of Congress, followed by a Program Officer position for the Council on Library and Information Resources. She then became the Director of Training and Education for the CAPCON Library Network (also in D.C.), before moving to ARL.

Julia’s achievements over her thirty-five year career leave a strong legacy in academic and research librarianship, a field in which she was well known, much loved, and greatly admired. She was especially known by all (colleagues, family and friends) for her optimism, openness, and welcoming smile.

Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Trinity Lutheran Church or Lawrence Memorial Hospital – Oncology Center and may be sent in care of the mortuary.

13 Condolences

  1. Kathryn Deiss on October 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    My deepest condolences to Keith, Julia’s mother, Julia’s sister, and other family members. Please know that many, many hearts are broken by the loss of sweet and beautiful Julia. We will miss her in ways she could never have guessed or known. For me she exemplified the Golden Rule – she walked and talked her values and graced the rest of us with her generosity of spirit and her fun-loving personality. I will miss her happy eyes and smile and her intense interest in…well, just about everything!
    Much love to all of you, Keith and family. We stand by you and hold your hands as we all remember Julia.

  2. Terri Fishel on October 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I have known Julia since our days at library school together at the University of Minnesota. Her one constant through all the years was a smile that radiated pure happiness and joy. I always looked forward to seeing her at least once at our annual conferences and meetings. I am sad beyond words that I won’t have an opportunity to see her again. My deepest sympathies to Keith and members of her family. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

  3. Maggie Saponaro on October 31, 2014 at 8:30 am

    My deepest sympathies to Julia’s family. I had the opportunity to work with her through activities with ARL, and she will be missed.

  4. Carolyn Lipscomb on October 31, 2014 at 9:03 am

    For many years Julia graciously arranged her schedule to meet with future leaders in DC. Her wisdom and knowledge, ability to set strategy and work with multiple groups, equanimity, and humor were all in evidence. It was a joy and privilege to work with Julia. My deepest sympathies to Keith and the rest of the family for your sad loss.

  5. Phyllis Marion on October 31, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    My thoughts are with Keith and with Julia’s family. I met Julia when she joined Minitex in the 1980’s and she and I have stayed in touch through annual Christmas letters (hers were a delight) and occasional get-togethers at library meetings and conferences. As others have said, her smile and good nature lit up the room and we always had such a good time talking. I will miss her.

  6. Pat Kent on October 31, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    My heart is deeply sadden from hearing the news of Julia. Julia kind soul and giving spirit touched so many and will never be forgotten. I will truly miss those after hour chats in the office and that beautiful smile.
    To Keith, your family and Julia family: “Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.” My deepest condolences.

  7. Vicki Julian on November 1, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I was so sad to learn of Julia’s passing. She was such a gift to all who knew her, and her ever-present smile will be truly missed. We have lost one of Earth’s treasures, but Heaven has now acquired it.

  8. Rita Wilson on November 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Keith, and Julia’s family, I am so sorry to learn of Julia’s death. I did not know of her cancer issues and was saddened to read that. She was easy to visit with and never once complained of her own issues. I hope you will find much comfort in memories. I know you are heart broken.

  9. Rose Bland on November 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    My deepest sympathies to Julia’s husband, family, and ARL colleagues. I first met Julia several years ago when I attended one of her ARL workshops. Julia was a gracious lady with a beautiful smile. Her contributions to the library community will continue to make an impact for generations to come especially through those she helped to develop.

  10. Suzie Allard on November 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    My thoughts are with Julia’s family. I knew Julia through her work with NDLTD. She made fabulous professional contributions to the ETD effort and the environment of enthusiasm and caring that she created was perhaps the most important. She was a wonderful role model in the information community.

  11. Patrice Lyons on November 10, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    It was with great sadness that I learned of Julia’s passing. Her warm smile and thoughtful guidance will be missed.

    My condolences to her family.


  12. Becky Clark, Johns Hopkins University Press on November 13, 2014 at 9:12 am

    My deepest condolences to Julia’s family and friends. I didn’t know her well, but I was touched by her welcoming kindness when I attended my first ARL meeting in 2009. I remember her intelligence, knowledge, and compassion. And what a wonderful smile!

  13. Lois N. Upham on March 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I just learned of Julia’s passing when I tried to send her a message. As the person at MINITEX who gave Julia her first professional position, I followed her career as it blossomed. What at bright, positive person she was. I so much appreciated the time I spent with her. A light has gone out of the world with her passing. My deepest sympathy to Keith and the rest of her family.

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