Paula T. Kaufman wins 2010 Hugh C. Atkinson award

Contact: Megan Griffin

ACRL Program Coordinator



For Immediate Release

February 2, 2010

CHICAGO — Paula T. Kaufman, Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson, dean of libraries and university librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), has been named the 2010 winner of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award. 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.

Kaufman will receive a cash award and citation during the joint ACRL / Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) Awards Program, at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, June 26, at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington D.C.

“Paula Kaufman has had a distinguished career characterized by transformative leadership,” said Barbara J. Ford, award committee chair and director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and Mortenson distinguished professor at UIUC. “She has created in all her endeavors an atmosphere conducive to experimentation and innovation and has been a strong voice in formulating progressive information policy nationally and internationally.”

Kaufman has held a variety of positions over the course of her career. In addition to serving as head of the Business and Economics Library and director of the Library Services group at Columbia University, she was acting head of the East Asian Library in 1982 and acting vice-president for information technology and university librarian from 1987-88. During her tenure at Columbia, Kaufman was involved in the development of the university’s Scholarly Information Center, a merger of the library and academic information technology. In 1987, Kaufman resisted the FBI's request to report on the reading habits of Columbia library patrons with last names or accents from "hostile countries." Her actions were instrumental in making the FBI's Library Awareness Program public. Kaufman additionally served as dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 1988-99.

In her current position at UIUC, Kaufman has worked with the library faculty and staff to re-envision the future, form new alliances and cultivate an environment of creative problem solving. Under her direction, the library launched a highly successful capital campaign, established a formal preservation and conservation program, led the state of Illinois in digitizing collections, celebrated the library’s 11 millionth volume and addressed the issues of how to support scholarship and teaching in the digital age through developing new models to deliver 21st-century services. In 2006, the provost of the University of Illinois tapped Kaufman to serve as the university’s interim chief information officer. In this assignment, she increased communication among technology staff and reconnected the information technology department with the rest of the campus through focusing on its service mission.

She has additionally played key roles in governance and policymaking at a number of organizations, including serving on or leading the boards of directors of the Center for Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, the Council of Library and Information Resources, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the Digital Library Federation and the Society for Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

Kaufman received her AB in Economics from Smith College, MBA from the University of New Haven and MS in Library Service from the School of Library Service at Columbia University.

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), 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 Megan Griffin, ACRL, 50 East Huron St., Chicago, Ill. 60611.


ACRL is a division of the American Library Association, representing more than 12,500 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.