For immediate release | February 23, 2016

James L. Mullins wins 2016 Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award

CHICAGO — James L. Mullins, dean of libraries and Esther Ellis Norton professor at Purdue University, has been named the 2016 winner of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award. Mullins will receive a cash award and citation during the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Named in honor of one of the pioneers of library automation, the Atkinson Award recognizes an academic librarian who has made significant contributions in the area of library automation or management and has made notable improvements in library services or research.

“Through his pioneering vision and drive for innovation, Dr. James (Jim) Mullins has led the transformation of Purdue University Libraries into a premier, profession leading 21st century academic and research library,” said Colby Riggs, Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award committee chair and project coordinator at the University of California, Irvine. “He is internationally recognized as a risk-taking, creative, and visionary leader in the academic and research library profession with a demonstrated commitment to information literacy, data research services, digital scholarship, scholarly communication, diversity, and innovation and collaboration with the university and library community.

“Dr. Mullins is a passionate believer in information literacy and staunch advocate for its integration into curriculum and research,” continued Riggs. “At Purdue, he was able to establish the W. Wayne Booker Endowed Chair in Information Literacy, a first in the nation.

“It was Dr. Mullins’ initiative that a new building was conceived and designed which embraced the active learning concept,” Riggs added. “The Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC), a 164,000 square foot facility is under construction in the center of campus. The space blends teaching spaces, library/information services, formal study spaces, collaborative work areas and informal learning spaces and will be the site of 27 collaborative active learning classrooms and six consolidated engineering and science libraries when it opens in 2017.”

“Dr. Mullins was at the forefront of identifying the need for data management and preservation services, having played a pivotal role in positioning the Libraries to partner with researchers to create a data repository known as the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR). This resulted in the Libraries developing a suite of data services including Data Curation Profiles and consultations for Data Management Plans,” said Riggs. “Additionally, advancing scholarly communication is one of Dr. Mullins’ top priorities. To this end he has created a Libraries Scholarly Publishing Services division, which includes the institutional repository, and strategically combined it with the Purdue University Press, another first in the nation. He has helped foster innovation in publishing as a founding member of the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC), an independent, community-led membership association led by college and university libraries to support the creation, dissemination, and curation of scholarly works.”

Mullins received his B.A. and M.A.L.S from the University of Iowa, and his Ph.D. from Indiana University. Under his leadership, Purdue University Libraries was named the recipient of the 2015 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category.

The Hugh C. Atkinson Award is jointly sponsored by four divisions of the American Library Association: the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) and the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA). The award is funded from an endowment established to honor Hugh C. Atkinson.

Donations to the endowment may be sent to Chase Ollis, ACRL, 50 East Huron St., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

For more information regarding the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award, or a complete list of past recipients, please visit the awards section of the ACRL website.


About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.


ALCTS is the national association for information providers who work in collections and technical services, such as acquisitions, cataloging, metadata, collection management, preservation, electronic and continuing resources. ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association.

About LITA

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) is the leading organization reaching out across types of libraries to provide education and services for a broad membership of systems librarians, library administrators, library schools, vendors, and all others interested in leading edge technology and applications for librarians and information providers. Learn more about LITA and interact with us on our website, Twitter, Facebook, and the LITA Blog.


The Library Leadership and Management Association advances outstanding leadership and management practices in library and information services by encouraging and nurturing individual excellence in current and aspiring library leaders.


Chase Ollis

Program Coordinator