iSchool education prepares King for national leadership in digital library services for field professionals

David King

David King (MS '78, PhD '94) believes libraries must be reinvented to meet the needs of professional practitioners. This "out of the box" mindset has led him to design and build digital libraries for professionals providing services to victims of crime and abuse.

"Hundreds of thousands of professionals provide health-related services around the country. They are urged to employ evidence-based practices, but have no access to current research literature and other important resources," King said. "Psychologists and doctors, nurses and social workers, first responders and legal advocates, and so on. University libraries cannot or are unable to develop collections and services for them. Public libraries don't have the research literature or the expertise. Open-access collections and victim-services websites are mostly a hodge-podge. And more importantly, the basic philosophy and priorities of traditional libraries are just completely off target for practitioners in the field."

In 2003, King launched the Child Abuse Library Online (CALiOTM), a digital library that has become the primary resource for professionals working in the field of child abuse nationally and internationally, including more than 900 Children's Advocacy Centers throughout the U.S. The CALiO model was subsequently adopted for the Center for Victim Research Library, which he guided to launch in 2017. Both are funded by U.S. Department of Justice grants.

King's professional career includes serving as director of libraries at New York Academy of Medicine and Georgia Health Sciences University and holding faculty positions at the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center and University of California San Francisco. In 2007, he founded his own digital libraries consulting service, Amphissa Digital.

Although he retired from his day-to-day work in medical libraries in 2013, he has no plans to stop consulting. And he continues to contribute frequently to conferences on special libraries and open access repositories, as well as abuse and trauma.

"This is not a job. I do this because I can be creative, pursue new innovations in library services, and because I believe there is a serious unmet need. Of course, I enjoy doing something that is firmly rooted in our profession, yet very different from traditional libraries," he said.

King was recently honored by the National Children's Advocacy Center for his leadership, vision, and continued commitment to child abuse services, child safety, and welfare.

He credits the iSchool with expanding the breadth and depth of his awareness of the history and traditions of the LIS profession while also exposing him to novel ideas. King applied to the five best library schools in the country and was accepted to all of them with financial support. He chose Illinois because of its reputation.

"When I was a student assistant working in the Auburn University Main Library, the director of the library was Clyde Hull Cantrell. He was one of the old school 'characters' of our profession, who wore a suit with a vest every day, carried a cane just for show, wore a hat, etc. But I admired him. Dr. Cantrell was, I believe, the very first PhD graduate of the University of Illinois library school. I asked him which [graduate school] he thought I should choose. He said, very pompously, 'David, if you want to be a librarian, go to any one of them. If you want to be more than just a librarian, go to Illinois.'"

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Get to know Mojgan Momeni, executive director

Now the executive director of the World Innovations Network, Mojgan Momeni (MSLIS '09) credits her iSchool experience with leading her to discover her true passion—creating an innovative and entrepreneurial network model for global collaboration.

Mojgan Momeni

PhD at 75: Jeanie Austin

The PhD degree program at the iSchool celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023. This profile is part of a special series featuring PhD alumni. Jeanie Austin (PhD '17) is a jail and reentry services librarian at San Francisco Public Library.

Jeanie Austin

Quiballo selected for I Love My Librarian Award

Ted Quiballo (MSLIS '17) has been selected for a 2024 I Love My Librarian Award. Honorees were selected for their outstanding public service accomplishments. The award is administered by the American Library Association.

Ted Quiballo

iSchool course leads to career with United Airlines

For Elysia Woodward (BSIS '23), it was an introductory class, Exploring the iSchool with a Human-Centered Lens (IS 100), that kickstarted her career. Now an associate in the ECDLP (Early Career Digital Leadership Program) at United Airlines, Woodward found out about United's internship programs and the ECDLP program through IS 100. She applied for an internship position in the summer of 2022 and received a return offer as an ECDLP associate.

Elysia Woodward

PhD at 75: LaTesha Velez

The PhD degree program at the iSchool celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023. This profile is part of a special series featuring PhD alumni. LaTesha Velez (PhD '17) is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

LaTesha Velez