Tribute to Leslie Troutman

The Music Library Association, Midwest Chapter mourns the loss of a great friend and colleague. Rest well, Leslie.

Richard Griscom, Head of the Music Library at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign posted the following message to let us know of Leslie's death. He has generously allowed it to be shared here:

It is my sad duty to let you know that Leslie Troutman died at home early this morning after a year-long struggle with cancer. A service will be held on Friday, 23 May, and I will pass along details as soon as they are made available.

Leslie spent her entire career as a music librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was appointed to the library faculty in 1986. In her position as user services coordinator, she built a national reputation for the Music Library's reference service, and she served as a mentor to dozens of music librarians who received their initial training from her at our information desk when they were students in Illinois's Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

She received a B.M in music history from Bowling Green State University, an M.A. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Illinois. She held many positions in the Music Library Association and most recently completed a term as member-at-large on the board of directors. From 1993-95, she was chair of the MLA Midwest Chapter. At Illinois, she was serving a second term on the University Library Faculty Executive Committee, and two years ago she chaired the faculty's Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee. Among her publications are articles in Notes (1994, 2000), Fontes artis musicae (1995), and Music Reference Services Quarterly (2001), as well as contributions to the American Library Association Guide to Information Access (1994) and Advances in Online Public Access Catalogs (1992).

In her work at the University of Illinois Music Library, Leslie was refreshingly unpretentious and unflappable. Her sense of humor was generous and uninhibited, and the absence of her laugh echoing down the hallway outside her office is just one of the countless things we in the library have had to adjust to since she left us in late March. Those of you who knew her are well aware of these aspects of her character, but something you might not know is the seriousness with which she approached her work at the reference desk and the care she took in working with patrons. She pursued difficult reference questions to extraordinary extremes and provided a community patron looking for the sheet music to "Anything Goes" with the same service she extended to a senior member of the musicology faculty or an undergraduate theater major. Her tenacity and her egalitarianism at the information desk served as a model for all of us and set the tone for our library's public service.

We will remember her for her healthy positivism in the face of illness, her gratifying lack of pretension as she went about her work, her good humor, and her exemplary librarianship. These qualities are her legacy to us, and we will do our best to keep them in mind and heart as we go about our work here. We will all miss her profoundly, both personally and professionally--indeed, we already do.


On May 30, 1996, Kim Armstrong interviewed Leslie as part of the Midwest Chapter's Oral History Project. Leslie's husband Mike has kindly agreed to let us put a few sound clips from this interview on the web. There are 4 of them in mp3 format.

Clip 1 = 1 minute (1.1MB)
Clip 2 = 48 seconds (957K)
Clip 3 = 22 seconds (452K)
Clip 4 = 1:10 minutes (1.3MB)

Here are a few photos of Leslie taken over the years at Midwest and national MLA meetings. Click on the small photos to see them full-size.

Leslie with Steve Wright at the 1996 MWMLA meeting in Notre Dame

Leslie with Morris Levy, & Paula Matthews at the 2000 meeting in Louisville, KY

Leslie wanders through the poster sessions

Leslie listens to a conversation during the banquet in Austin, TX

Leslie Troutman & Bob Delvin in Austin, TX, 15 February 2003