ALA names four honorary members

Contact: Elizabeth Dreazen

ALA Governance


For Immediate Release

March 1, 2007

ALA names four honorary members

(CHICAGO) David Cohen, Alice L. Hagemeyer, Anita R. Schiller and Alphonse F. Trezza were elected to honorary membership in the American Library Association (ALA) in action taken by the ALA Council at the ALA 2007 Midwinter Meeting, held January 19 to 24 in Seattle. Honorary membership, ALA's highest honor, is conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions of lasting importance to libraries and librarianship.

David Cohen, professor emeritus, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, City University of New York, was nominated for his contributions to multicultural librarianship and intellectual freedom in a career stretching over seven decades. As a school library media specialist and professor, Cohen inspired generations of library school students to initiate library programs and build library collections reaching out to the broadest possible range of ethnic and multicultural populations.

Cohen worked within both the ALA and the New York Library Association to create and support intellectual freedom committees and round tables. He has served as chair of ALA's Committee on the Treatment of Minorities in Library Materials and on the ALA Minority Concerns Committee. He was co-founder and coordinator of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table [SRRT]'s Task Force on Ethnic Materials, which later became the Ethnic Material and Information Exchange Round Table [EMIE]. Within EMIE, he was the founding member of the Jewish Librarians' Caucus and the founding editor of the EMIE Bulletin.

Cohen was a charter member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, a trustee of the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund and a co-founder of the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship.

Cohen is the recipient of the New York Library Association's SIRS Intellectual Freedom Award and The Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award. In 1999, ALA created the prestigious David Cohen/EMIERT Multicultural Award to recognize individuals for notable work on multiculturalism and libraries. In 2004, in celebration of his 95th birthday, the ALA Council presented Cohen with a proclamation honoring his lifetime achievement in multiculturalism and intellectual freedom.

Alice Hagemeyer, the first Librarian for the Deaf Community, District of Columbia Public Library, was nominated for her passionate, lifelong interest in promoting information about the language, culture and achievements of deaf individuals. Through her leadership she has brought the library community and the deaf community together to expand the concept of diversity to include both deaf individuals and people with disabilities.

Early in her career, responding to a scarcity of books written about deaf experiences, Hagemeyer created "The Red Notebook," a comprehensive resource on deaf issues used by libraries nationwide to encourage deaf people to be resourceful in using their library. "The Red Notebook" is now available electronically as "Deaf Awareness Begins @ your library."

In 1980 Hagemeyer founded a unit within the ALA, now known as the Library Service to People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Forum, of the Libraries Serving Special Populations Section, of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies [ASCLA]. She also is the founder of Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action [FOLDA].

Hagemeyer has worked with several committees that focus on deaf issues within the ALA and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). She chaired NAD's Task Force for National Deaf History Month, and served as co-coordinator of the Center for the Book's first celebration of National Deaf History Month at the Library of Congress.

Hagemeyer has received many honors and awards, including NAD President's Award; ALA/ASCLA's Exceptional Service Award; the 1987 University of Maryland College of Library and Information Services alumnus of the year award; and was elected to ALA's National Advocacy Honor Roll in 2000.

Hagemeyer is currently outreach coordinator for the National Literary Society of the Deaf.

Anita R. Schiller, librarian emerita, University of California, San Diego, was nominated for her groundbreaking efforts to enhance the status of women in librarianship. Through her accomplishments as a researcher, writer, speaker and mentor, Schiller has had a profound impact on the profession.

Schiller first documented a pervasive pattern of gender inequality within the library profession in her 1968 study "Characteristics of Professional Personnel in College and University Libraries." The publication of this study galvanized a generation of women in librarianship to address the inequalities in the profession. Throughout the remainder of the 1960's and the 1970's, Schiller continued to research and document salary disparities between male and female librarians. She disseminated her findings in numerous studies, reports and articles, as well as in seminars, speeches and conference programs.

An active ALA member throughout her career, Schiller has served as a member of the ALA Council, the SRRT Feminist Task Force, the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship, and the President's Task Force on Better Salaries and Pay Equity for Library Workers. In 1985, Schiller was awarded the ALA Equality Award for an outstanding contribution towards promoting equality between men and women in the library profession.

Alphonse F. Trezza, professor emeritus, Florida State University School of Library and Information Studies, was nominated for his accomplishments in fostering resource sharing between libraries and the development of cooperative library systems, and in library education, library association management, and library management and leadership at the state and national levels.

Trezza has served as executive director of the Catholic Library Association; associate executive director of ALA; executive secretary of the ALA's Library Administrative Division [now the Library Association and Management Association (LAMA)]; director of the Illinois State Library; and executive director of the United States National Commission on Libraries and Information Science [NCLIS], where he masterminded the early planning for the White House Conference on Library and Information Services.

At ALA Trezza served as staff liaison for the design, funding and staffing of the Seattle and New York, Library USA World's Fairs. He was instrumental in establishing the ALA- American Institute of Architects Library Buildings Awards Program.

At the Illinois State Library, Trezza's efforts led to the establishment of a statewide system of all types of libraries, still recognized as one of the best models in the country. He provided leadership and attracted funding to support recruitment of minorities to librarianship, library education and development of a sound research program.

Trezza served on the ALA Council and the ALA Executive Board. He was president of the Florida Library Association and of the Continuing Library Education Network and Exchange [CLENE]. His honors and awards include the Drexel University Graduate School of Library and Information Science Outstanding Alumnus Award; the ASCLA Exceptional Achievement Award; the ALA Joseph W. Lippincott Award; the NCLIS Silver Award; and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Rosary College.

The honorees will receive honorary membership plaques in June 2007 during the Opening General Session of the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.