Last week, on August 27th 2020, Hans Fischer, with his wife by his side, passed away at his home in Lawrence.

In October ’98, former NEKLS system director, Jim Minges noted, in the Loose Change NEKLS newsletter, that libraries needed professional resources for the design of library buildings, and introduced the start of a new service. Jim wrote that Hans Fischer, the president of FoKL, would be available to assist libraries, at no cost to them, with site selection, space utilization/renovation, and creating building program statements. Many libraries across our region benefited from Hans’ expertise, and several hired Hans for extensive architectural design services–in these communities his legacy will continue on as the place we call the library.

“Hans married Iris L. Smith in 1988. He “retired” in 1990 and moved with Iris to Lawrence, where she had joined the University of Kansas faculty. Hans continued his architectural work in Kansas as a consultant. Most significantly, he focused on planning, design, and renovation of community libraries. In 1998, he began to provide services to communities in the Northeast Kansas Library System and over the next 15 years worked on more than 50 library projects in towns across Kansas. In 2006 the American Library Association named him as one of the state’s five top library advocates of the 20th century.”

Read the full obituary

We are reaching out to our library community to record memories of our local library advocate, and look forward to sharing them below.

  • Laura DeBaun, NEKLS System Director, shared that Hans was instrumental in creating the NEKL Foundation’s initial strategic plan while serving on the Foundation’s executive board.
  • Dan Sabatini, Sabatini Architects, whom NEKLS now contracts architectural services with wrote, “He certainly left his mark on the public libraries. A good man and architect!”
  • “I am saddened to hear about the passing of Hans Fischer. He assisted us with the design of our South Library that was completed in 2013.” -Carol Levers, Director of Libraries, Kansas City, Kansas Public Libraries
  • “What a sad day. Hans was instrumental in moving Basehor forward in their building of a new library. He was calm, he was knowledgeable, and he guided the Board and staff in what questions to ask and what to insist upon. I’ll always remember how he insisted for all NEKLS libraries that no matter how many electrical outlets you had planned, you were going to need more. For computers. What?? He was way ahead of his time. He will be missed.” -Diana Weaver, Library Director, Basehor Community Library
  • Hans Fischer worked with Morrill Public Library to renovate the children’s area and the circulation desk when I was the library director.  He began the process with the Silver Lake Public Library for their Expansion and Renovation Project. Hans was an advocate for Libraries everywhere and especially in Kansas. -Cathy Newland, Library Director, Silver Lake Public Library

Hans Fischer and Libraries