John Howe, a history professor and former Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, was appointed as Interim University Librarian in 1987. Specializing in American history, Howe received his Ph.D. from Yale. Before coming to the University of Minnesota in 1965, he taught at Princeton and Dartmouth. Howe took a positive attitude toward the Library, feeling that good things were happening and that he could help lead the Library through the transition until the search for a new University Librarian could be completed. Howe had served in a number of administrative positions in the College of Liberal Arts and brought this experience to the Library.

During this interim period, the Library was awarded a $1.3 million dollar grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to microfilm scholarly resources threatened by disintegration due to age and poor quality paper. Howe returned to the History Department when Thomas Shaughnessy was appointed University Librarian in 1989. After retiring in 1999, Howe served as a Senior Program Officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities (1999/2000). He now lives in the Twin Cities.

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