Barbara J. Ford is Director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and Mortenson Distinguished Professor at the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was the 1997-1998 president of the American Library Association (ALA) and her theme was “Libraries: Global Reach, Local Touch.”
Barbara previously worked as assistant commissioner for central library services at the Chicago Public Library, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University libraries, and associate library director at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She served in several capacities at the University of Illinois at Chicago, including documents librarian and audiovisual librarian. In addition, Barbara was director of the Soybean Insect Research Information Center at the Illinois Natural History Survey and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama and Nicaragua.
She was president of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the ALA from 1990 until 1991. She currently is a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Section on University and General Research Libraries. She previously served as the secretary for the IFLA Section on Government Information and Official Publications.
The author of many publications and presentations, Barbara has traveled around the world to address topics such as information literacy, government information, the future of libraries, the role of library associations, international cooperation among libraries, and virtual libraries.
Barbara earned a bachelor’s degree in history and education from Illinois Wesleyan University, a master’s degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.