Alistair Black

Professor Emeritus

PhD, The Public Library as an Agency for Social Stability, 1850-1919, London Metropolitan University

Research focus

History of public libraries, corporate libraries, the library profession, the information society, and pre-computer information management.


Alistair Black is author of the following books: A New History of the English Public Library (1996); The Public Library in Britain 1914-2000 (2000); and Libraries of Light: British Public Library Design in the Long 1960s (2017). He is co-author of Understanding Community Librarianship (1997); The Early Information Society in Britain, 1900-1960 (2007); and Books, Buildings and Social Engineering (2009), a socio-architectural history of early public libraries in Britain. With Peter Hoare, he edited Volume 3 (covering 1850-2000) of the Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland (2006). He was chair of the Library History Group of the American Library Association (1992-1999) and of the IFLA Section on Library History (2003-2007). He also served as editor of the international journal Library History (2004-2008); North American editor of Library and Information History (2009-2013); and Library Trends coeditor (2009-2013) and editor (2013-2016). Presently, his research focuses on the history of corporate libraries and staff magazines and the design of public libraries in the 1960s.