Robert Cheshier received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington in 1960 while working at Boeing Company where he held positions from library clerk to head of the Advanced Engineering Branch library. He continued to work while the Boeing Company paid him to enter the library program at the university and graduated with a Masters of Librarianship in 1963. He then pursued a PhD in library science at the University of Chicago while working at the Chicago Medical School library from 1964 to1966.
In 1966, Bob moved to Cleveland as the first director of the Cleveland Health Sciences Library created by an administrative merger of the libraries of the Case Western Reserve University schools of dentistry, medicine and nursing with the Cleveland Medical Society’s Allen Memorial Medical Library. As director he helped start the Master of Science in Health Sciences Librarianship in 1968 and directed the program from 1974 to 1982 when the program ceased. He also helped to establish the Cleveland Health Sciences Library Circuit Rider Program that provided library services and materials to area hospitals from 1971 to 1992. He retired in 1997.
Bob attended his first Medical Library Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in 1965. From then on, with the exception of the Hawaii meeting which he boycotted “on principle,” he attended every Annual Meeting until his retirement. He served for a number of years on the Honors and Awards Committee but found his long-term passion in international activities. Bob feels strongly that MLA needs to be an international organization. He was an active member of the International Cooperation Committee and the Developing Medical Libraries Group. He chaired the Ad Hoc Committee to Establish the Cunningham Endowment that raised funds to allow international libraries to spend time working in US libraries. He also did major work on the 1979 bilateral agreement between MLA and the Canadian Health Sciences Library Association. After retirement he continued to support international librarianship. For example, he worked to raise money to fund attendance of 100 librarians from developing countries at the 8 th International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML) in London in 2000 and he leads an effort to collect and ship books to Africa.
At the 1981 Annual Meeting in Montreal Bob presented the Janet Doe Lecture, titled The limits of the comprehensible: reflections on medical librarianship. He was elected a Fellow in 1996.