For immediate release | August 10, 2010

Owens receives 2010 DEMCO/BCALA Award for Excellence in Librarianship

CHICAGO—Dr. Irene Owens, dean of the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, has been awarded the 2010 DEMCO/BCALA Award for Excellence in Librarianship.The award was presented at the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s 7th National Conference of African American Librarians, held Aug. 4-8, 2010 in Birmingham, Ala.

Dr. Owens was recognized for the significant impact she has had on the lives of many young professionals.Through the support of several IMLS-funded initiatives, Owens and the School of Library Science at the North Carolina Central University have recruited more than 100 new librarians into the profession. Over the course of five years, she has balanced a graduation ratio that was 70 percent white and 30 percent people of color to a ratio of 51 percent white and 49 percent people of color. In presenting the award, John Ison, DEMCO director of library relations, said “DEMCO and BCALA honor Dr. Owens for her diligent commitment to leading the library school and her professional example of leading the students as well. Her significant contributions absolutely promote the status of African-Americans in the profession.”

Dr. Owens’ career includes work as an elementary school teacher, a classification record assistant at the Library of Congress and in several positions at Howard University in Washington, D.C., including director of the Consciousness IV Undergraduate Library Project (funded by the Council on Library Resources), Head of the Reference Department and branch librarian. She has served as a consultant in several capacities, including for the Triangle Research Libraries Network (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University), the U.S. Office of Education-funded Library Evaluation Project with Tribal Librarians (conducted in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin) and for the U.S. Embassy in South Africa. Dr. Owens has published widely, including entries in International Information and Library Review, College and Research Libraries, Bulletin of the American Society of Information Science (ASIS), Journal of Management, Journal of Library Administration and Library Management. She is the editor of “Acquisitions and Collection Development in the Humanities” (Routledge, 1997).

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation's African American community, and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians. Founded in 1970, BCALA is an affiliate organization of the American Library Association. To learn more about BCALA, please visit

For over 100 years DEMCO ( has supported the valuable work of librarians—taking pride in providing the best service possible. DEMCO’s mission is to continue to anticipate future needs, to supply products and services that support the activities of library professionals and improve library environments by making them more attractive and user-friendly. The people of DEMCO demonstrate their continuing commitment to library professionals through their support of the Library Champions Program and participation at ALA’s conferences.


Miguel Figueroa