English named ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

Contact: Megan Bielefeld

ACRL Program Coordinator


For Immediate Release

February 14, 2006

English named ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

CHICAGO—Ray English, Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, is the 2006 Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL) Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The award, sponsored by YBP Library Services, recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development.

English will receive a $3,000 award on Monday, June 26, 2006, at 4:30 p.m., at a ceremony and reception during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans. YBP Library Services sponsors the reception.

“Ray English is an influential librarian,” said award committee chair Les Canterbury. “He is a leader in various organizations on state and national levels including the Oberlin Group of Liberal Arts Colleges, OhioLINK, ACRL, and other units of the American Library Association. Under his direction, Oberlin College has led a Mellon Foundation initiative involving six academic libraries that's designed to attract a more diverse population to the library profession through undergraduate internships.

“English's greatest impact as a librarian, perhaps, and the area of his work that stands out to the selection committee, is his advocacy for open access to the results of scholarly research. The breadth and depth of his knowledge of issues related to dissemination of scholarly output, and his commitment to access to information, led to his leadership role in information policy-setting arenas. He has been a primary leader of the ACRL scholarly communications program, has been active in the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and has fostered close cooperation on scholarly communications issues among ACRL, SPARC, and the Association of Research Libraries. In addition, and on a larger stage, he has influenced, as an expert contributor, national policy on public access to federally-funded research, including the recent National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy.”

English is a founding member and chair of the ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee and recently was elected chair of the steering committee of SPARC, of which Oberlin College is a founding member. He also has lectured and written extensively on scholarly communication issues and open access. Since 1988, English has served on more than 15 ALA and ACRL committees and is a former ACRL Board member (1996–98).

Under English's leadership, Oberlin became the first private, liberal arts college library to join OhioLINK. In addition, he participated in a cooperative effort with four other Ohio private colleges in establishing a new consortium, the Five Colleges of Ohio, which received a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for library resource sharing. He also coordinated a $475,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to incorporate information literacy into the liberal arts curriculum of each of the Ohio Five schools. In addition, English was co-project director of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership grant to create a library diversity intern program at Oberlin College from 2000–2002. The Oberlin College Library received the 2002 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the college category.

“I was delighted when ACRL President Camila Alire called to tell about this award,” said English. “It's a wonderful honor to be recognized by peers in this way. I want to express a special word of thanks to those colleagues who put forward my nomination. I'm very grateful that I've been in a position to make contributions that are perceived to be important for the profession.”

English received his A.B. with honors in German from Davidson College in 1969. He earned his Masters in German literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971, where he also received his M.S.L.S. in 1977 and earned his PhD in German literature in 1978.

Previous award winners include Ravindra Nath (R. N.) Sharma (2005); Tom Kirk (2004); Ross Atkinson, (2003); Shelley Phipps, (2002); Larry Hardesty (2001); and Sharon Hogan (2000).

For more information regarding the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award, or a complete list of past recipients please visit

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association, representing 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.