Accessibility menu option: Skip to main content Accessibility menu option: Skip to main navigation
Ask a Librarian
Browsing Foward


McCombs Book Plate

In gratitude for the tremendous impact the retiring dean and director has had on Central University Libraries during her tenure, generous donors are honoring her by contributing to an acquisition fund to establish the Gillian M. McCombs Children’s Literature Collection.

Both historical children’s literature and selections that are more contemporary will comprise the collection. A specially-designed bookplate is being commissioned that will pay tribute to the dean and identify all acquisitions in the collection.

The McCombs Children’s Literature Collection is a unique and important addition to the resources currently offered at SMU.

An avid reader since childhood – “curling up in a chair or on the floor with a book has been as natural to me as walking” – McCombs traces her advocacy for children’s literature collections to what she has described as her “very own personal Nancy Drew story – The Case of the Almost Disappearing Library.

Early in her career, as a new tenure-track faculty member with the School of Information Science and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany, she made it her mission to save a neglected, but noteworthy, collection of children’s books. McCombs rallied support from university faculty and administration – including Dean Richard Halsey, who later became her husband – receiving a faculty research grant to support her cataloging project. A local library association also promoted her cause and was instrumental in helping obtain a grant from the prestigious New York State Council on the Arts, which funded an exhibit and a series of programs using the sociologically and culturally significant materials.

Those victories and her subsequent experiences have reinforced her belief that its unique collections make a library great.

The new children’s literature collection is one more example of Dean McCombs’ vision and leadership to leave a lasting legacy for library users on the Hilltop.

  • A gift of any amount to the acquisition fund will help in building the collection.
  • A gift of $100,000 will endow the Gillian M. McCombs Children’s Literature Collection.

To learn more about the endowment opportunity, or to make a gift in Dean McCombs’ honor, please contact Paulette Mulry at 214.768.1741 or