Honorary Membership

About the Honorary Membership
Honorary membership may be conferred on a living citizen of any country whose contribution to librarianship or a closely related field is so outstanding that it is of lasting importance to the advancement of the whole field of library service. It is intended to reflect honor upon the ALA as well as upon the individual.

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2021 Winner(s)

Robert Wedgeworth

Former ALA Executive Director Robert Wedgeworth elected to Honorary membership

Former ALA Executive Director Robert Wedgeworth was elected to Honorary membership, ALA’s highest honor, is conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions of lasting importance to libraries and librarianship.

Wedgeworth was nominated in recognition of significant contributions to the profession at large and the extraordinarily important work he did while leading ALA as its chief executive officer. Dr. Wedgeworth’s many achievements over the course of a distinguished career as a scholar, educator, academic administrator, and international library leader make him eminently worthy of this award, but his accomplishments as ALA’s executive director stand out.

Wedgeworth is an active member of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and became only the second American to be elected president of IFLA.  His leadership led to the expansion of IFLA membership to some 140 countries and was Instrumental in the establishment of IFLANET, a global communications system.  IFLA named him Honorary President in 1997. 

Wedgeworth has been recognized with a wide range of professional honors, including the Lippincott, Melvil Dewey, and Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Awards of the American Library Association, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Trailblazer’s Award, five honorary doctorates, Most Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Medal of Honor winner from the International Council of Archives and many others.