Dr. Peter Lor wins 2020 John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award

For Immediate Release

Delin Guerra
Program Officer
International Relations Office

CHICAGO — Dr. Peter Johan Lor, Research Associate, Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa, has been named the 2020 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award, presented to a librarian or person who has made significant contributions to international librarianship.

The award, sponsored by OCLC/Forest Press, consists of $1,000 and a plaque to be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA. OCLC/Forest Press donated the cash award.

Dr. Lor’s active engagement in leading the profession at an international scale is beyond impressive and it’s a testament to his passion and contributions which certainly meet the criteria for the Humphry Award. For over forty years, Dr. Lor has demonstrated his passion for international leadership through his teaching contributions and efforts to guide a new generation of globally-minded librarians. He has worked, often simultaneously, at multiple institutions across the globe teaching library science courses including “foundations of librarianship, research methodology, national LIS planning and policy development; international and comparative library and information studies” (Lor CV).

In 1992, Dr. Lor was appointed as the Director of the State Library, a national library with responsibilities for the Southern African bibliographical and resource-sharing infrastructure. During the 1990s he participated in a number of initiatives to develop national policies for post-apartheid library and information services. He played a leading role in forming a non-racial library association, the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), to replace the former racially-based library associations. He has been actively involved in international librarianship since the 1980s, attending IFLA conferences from 1983 onwards. He served as chairman of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries (1996-2000) and undertook various international consulting activities, including the drafting of Guidelines for legislation for national library services for publication by the General Information Programme of UNESCO. In 2000 he became South Africa’s first National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer of the National Library of South Africa (2000-2003), with the task of merging South Africa’s two existing national libraries (the State Library in Pretoria and the South African Library in Cape Town).

Following his term at the National Library, he served as Secretary General of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in The Hague, the Netherlands (2005-2008), after which he was appointed as a visiting professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2009-2011), where he developed a course in International and Comparative Librarianship. From 1998 to 2016 he was an Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria. From 2017 he serves as a Research Associate in that department.

The Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award committee members remarked: "Dr. Lor’s contribution to the field of international librarianship through his leadership, teaching, and research makes him an outstanding candidate for the Humphry/OCLC Forest Press Award. His guiding influence with non-profit organizations such as UNESCO and IFLA (acting as Secretary General), his significant contribution to the wide range of teaching and research fields, and his voluminous work that contributes to the literature of international librarianship all demonstrate his role as a visionary leader, teacher, and researcher all around."

Lor is the author of over 200 professional reports and conference papers and around 180 scholarly articles and book chapters, which have appeared in 12 languages in 18 countries. He serves on the editorial boards of a number of South African and overseas journals, including Library management and Library trends.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2021 John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award is January 10, 2021. Guidelines and additional information are available on the award’s website.