ALA Announces 2022 L. Ray Patterson Award Winner James G. Neal

For Immediate Release
Mon, 04/18/2022


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Library Association (ALA) Public Policy and Advocacy Office today named James G. “Jim” Neal, university librarian emeritus of Columbia University, winner of the 2022 L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award.  

The L. Ray Patterson Award recognizes contributions of an individual or group that pursues and supports the Constitutional purpose of the U.S. Copyright Law, fair use and the public domain. The award is named after L. Ray Patterson, a key legal figure who explained and justified the importance of the public domain and fair use. Fair use is a key exception of the copyright law that allows for the use of a copyright without prior authorization and helps to promote learning, new creativity, scholarship and criticism.

ALA President Patty Wong said, “Every librarian’s job and every library’s mission hinges upon balanced copyright policy. As a champion of fair use and the public domain, Jim Neal embodies the highest pursuit of a library professional: providing the greatest access of knowledge to the greatest number of people.

“Jim’s knowledge and determination is matched by his courage to advocate for policy in the public interest. ALA is pleased to acknowledge Jim Neal’s extraordinary accomplishments, both as an advocate on behalf of the library community and as an educator who continues to cultivate expertise in the field.”

As a recognized national expert on copyright and licensing issues in higher education, Neal has represented the American library community in testimony on copyright matters before Congressional committees, was an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference on copyright and has worked on copyright policy and advisory groups for numerous universities and for professional and higher education associations. He was a member of the U.S. Copyright Office Section 108 Study Group (2005-2008), which spent several years reviewing the appropriateness of updating the exception for libraries and archives in the Copyright Act. Neal served for many years as a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters. Additionally, Jim supported the successful engagement of the international library community in passing the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty for People with Print Disabilities.

In his nomination letter, prominent intellectual property attorney and 2017 Patterson Award winner Jonathan Band, PLLC, said, “It is hard to imagine anyone who is more deserving of this award than Jim. Throughout his long career as a research librarian, Jim has worked tirelessly both nationally and internationally to make sure that copyright law helped, and did not hinder, the mission of libraries.”

Neal was president of the American Library Association (2017-18) and is an honorary member of ALA, the Association’s highest award. Neal is currently a member of the Copyright Public Modernization Committee of the Library of Congress and for twelve years (2010-21) served on the Board of OCLC from 2010-2021. He has served on the Board and as President of the Association of Research Libraries, on the Board and as Chair of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), on the Board and as Chair of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and on the Board of the Digital Preservation Network. He is on the Board and is the Treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and is on the Board and has served as Treasurer of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). He has also participated on numerous international, national and state professional committees and is a member of the Library Advisory Board of the University of the People. Neal established the Copyright Advisory Offices at Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University. 

Neal is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, consultant and published author on copyright issues. Prior to his tenure at Columbia University, he served as the dean of university libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University and held administrative positions in libraries at the Pennsylvania State University, University of Notre Dame, and the City University of New York.  

An award reception in honor of Neal will take place at ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., in June 2022.