Jan. 31, 2018 — Alfred Joseph "Al" Coco, who was instrumental in development of the law library at the University of Houston Law Center in the late 1960s, has died at the age of 84.
A native of Moreauville, LA, he passed away Dec. 14. A memorial service was held Sunday at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Coco was the only professional librarian when he was hired in 1966 to direct the UH law school's cramped facility then located in the basement of the M.D. Anderson library. He set about applying for every conceivable state and federal grant to expand staff and services, and led the way in moving the library to its new state-of-the-art, underground facility on the law school campus in 1969.
"Quite simply Al was the architect of our library," said Amanda Watson, director of the Law Center's O'Quinn Law Library and assistant professor of law. "Before him, we were just a collection of books in hallways. In our profession, he was a giant; smart, creative, and always willing to share his knowledge."
He left UH's then-Bates College of Law in 1972 for the University of Denver where he led the law library and served as director of the Graduate School of Librarianship and Master of Law Librarianship programs. He had previously taught at St. Mary's School of Law in San Antonio.
Coco earned degrees from the University of Texas in 1957, St. Mary's School of Law in 1960, and the University of Washington in 1962.
He is survived by his widow, Joyce, and son, Brandon.