Marvin Roger Anderson was born on March 5, 1940 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He attended primary and secondary schools in Saint Paul before leaving to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, from which he graduated in 1962. Anderson received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco in 1966, and then volunteered for the Peace Corp where he served in Senegal for two years. He then returned to Minnesota where he was an ordinance drafter for the city of Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. Anderson went on to practice law for several years before returning to school in 1974 to earn his Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota's School of Library Science. He worked as a Reference Librarian at the University of Minnesota Law Library for four years before being appointed State Law Librarian in 1980. Anderson's tenure as State Law Librarian spanned 22 years and included many accomplishments including the “Everybody Wins” reading program, which paired volunteer legal practitioners with elementary school students to encourage a life-long love of reading. As the list of honors below indicates, his high standard of service and commitment to the community was recognized at the local, state and national levels.
- Law Librarian of the Year Award, Minnesota Association of Law Libraries, 1987
- Spirit of Law Librarianship Award, 1999
- State, Court & County Law Libraries Special Interest Section Bethany J. Ochal Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession, 2000
- Selected as one of ten “Attorneys of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer, 2001
- Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award, 2003
- John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award, Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, 2004
- AALL Hall of Fame, Inaugural Class, 2010
When Marvin Anderson retired in 2002, he had served in the position longer than all but one of his twenty-three predecessors. In recognition of his service to the library, the room housing the library's rare books was renamed “The Marvin R. Anderson Special Collections Room.