For immediate release | June 12, 2017

Amed Demirhan receives 2017 John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award

CHICAGO — Amed Demirhan has been named the 2017 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award, given to a librarian or person who has made significant contributions to international librarianship. The award consists of a prize of $1,000 and a certificate to be presented at the International Relations Round Table International Librarians Reception on Monday, June 26, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. OCLC/Forest Press donated the cash award.

Demirhan’s library career began in 2001 while working at the Broward County Northwest Regional and South Regional/BC Library’s “joint facilities, which served the public, schools, and academic communities. In 2006, he led the establishment of the first library based on international standard with open stack and unrestricted internet access in University of Kurdistan Hawler in Kurdistan, Iraq. He championed open access and e-resources for the university. In November 2011, he moved to Nigeria and began working as a director of the American University of Nigeria Library (AUNL), transforming the AUNL from a traditional library to a digital library. With a strong support from the University President, Dr. Margee Ensign, the library developed a campaign titled “99.9% of Your Resources are Electronic”. The library continues its campaign to go green by providing library resources by mobile devices.

In November 2012 under Demirhan’s leadership, the AUNL received “The Best University Digital Library Services in Nigeria” from the “Committee of University Librarians of Nigerian Universities” and in 2013 the library at AUN was awarded the ALA Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects.

Demirhan was also selected as one of ALA’s Movers & Shakers for 2014. He has been an advocate of the digital library and smart libraries and made them especially relevant and useful to libraries in third world countries. He believes “Open access and libraries centered around online learning and research are key in developing countries” (The Guardian, Claire Shaw, August 2013). In doing so, Dermirhan has improved the quality of the universities he has worked in and enriched the students’ education.

Amed Demirhan, currently the General Manager/Director of Barzani National Memorial, was invited by a leading business man and grandson of Kurdistan National Hero Mustafa Barzani His Excellency Sirwan Barzani to lead establishment of Barzani National Memorial Library, Museum, and associated services in accordance with the best international standard in Barzan, Kurdistan, Iraq.

Since 2009, Demirhan has been an active member in various International Relations Round Table (IRRT) Committees.

The ALA IRC Humphry Award Subcommittee recognized Demirhan’s “contributions to international librarianship are legion and he is a stellar example of how librarians can make a difference in the world.”


Delin Guerra

Program Officer

International Relations Office