Ray English wins 2009 Hugh C. Atkinson award

Contact: Megan Griffin

ACRL Program Coordinator





February 10, 2009

CHICAGO — Ray English, Azariah Smith Root director of libraries at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, has been named the 2009 winner of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award. English will receive a cash award and a citation during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago, at the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) President’s Program to be held at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 13.

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.

“Ray English has provided transformative leadership within his own institution, his state and region, in ACRL and as a national leader in scholarly communications through SPARC,” said Sarah Michalak, Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award committee chair and university librarian/associate provost for University Libraries at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “The award has been given to a college librarian only once before in its 21 year history.”

English was a primary founder of the ACRL scholarly communication program, serving as chair of the task force that led to the program and also as chair of the Scholarly Communication Committee from its inception until 2006. He is a long-time member and current chair of the SPARC steering committee, of which Oberlin College is a founding member. English has also lectured and written extensively on scholarly communication issues and open access. Since 1988, he has served on more than 15 ALA and ACRL committees and is a former member of the ACRL Board of Directors (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 Mellon Foundation to incorporate information literacy into the liberal arts curriculum of the Ohio Five schools. English additionally served as 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 2000-02 and since 2003 has directed four separate multi-institution grants from the Mellon Foundation totaling more than $2 million that are designed to attract undergraduates from diverse backgrounds into the library profession and encourage leadership development. The Oberlin College Library received the 2002 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the college category.

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.

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

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


The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is a division of the American Library Association (ALA), representing nearly 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.