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Distinguished Librarian Odie Tolbert Brings Autobiography to U of M University News
For release: January 28, 2010

For press information, contact Tom Mendina, 901-678-4310

Dr. Odie H. Tolbert Jr.
Dr. Odie H. Tolbert Jr.
After a distinguished career with the University of Memphis Libraries that spanned more than three decades, Dr. Odie H. Tolbert Jr. will return to campus during Black History Month. He will sign copies of his autobiography, New Chicago and Beyond, Wednesday, Feb. 10, at noon in the Ned R. McWherter Library, Room 226.  George C. Grant, CEO of GrantHouse Publishers, will discuss Tolbert’s life and New Chicago. The event is free and open to the public.

In the book, the 70-year-old Tolbert, who was born in the New Chicago community in northeast Memphis, chronicles the numerous challenges and experiences he has encountered throughout his life, as well as his devotion to his church and family.

The associate professor emeritus worked for the University Libraries from 1969 to 2002. As a catalog librarian, Tolbert produced bibliographic information about books based on several sets of national standards. He also published several research papers and bibliographies while at the U of M, including a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. bibliography in 1983 and a 20-year black studies bibliography in 2002. The U of M awarded him the Allen J. Hammond Distinguished Service Award in 2002.

Tolbert graduated from Manassas High School in 1957 and was awarded a music scholarship to Owen Junior College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from LeMoyne College, and he earned a master’s degree in library science from Northern Illinois University in 1969. Tolbert was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Trinity Hall College and Seminary in 1994.

He is a former national archivist of the Church of God in Christ and a founding archivist of the Manassas High School Archives and Museum.

For more information, contact Tom Mendina at 901-678-4310 or

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