Doctoral student Steve Witt (MS '95) is the recipient of the 2016 Donald G. Davis Article Award given by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA). The award will be presented on June 26 at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, at the Library History Round Table Research Forum.
The award is given every second year and recognizes the best article written in English in the field of United States and Canadian library history, including the history of libraries, librarianship, and book culture. Witt’s winning article, “Agents of Change: The Rise of International Librarianship and the Age of Globalization,” was published in the iSchool’s scholarly journal, Library Trends.
Abstract: Focusing on the development of international librarianship in the interwar period, this paper uses the Paris Library School as a case study to explore the impact of new forms of internationalism on the development of the profession globally. Administered by the American Library Association from 1923 to 1928, the Paris Library School offers a unique view of the evolving international network of library and information professionals that formed such organizations as the International Federation of Library Associations. Through this historical case study, international librarianship is viewed in the context of globalization theories that focus the advent of international nongovernmental organizations, growth of global networks, and impact of transnational cultural flows. This analysis places international librarianship in the context of the wider social and technological developments that contributed to the economic and cultural phenomena characterized as globalization and provides a new theoretical basis for examining the growth, impact, and flow of international library development.
Witt is head of the International and Area Studies Library, associate professor at the University Library, and director of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the trajectory and impacts of international developments in library and information science, placing global trends in librarianship and knowledge production in the context of wider social and technological developments. He is the editor of IFLA Journal.