Dr. Alexandra "Alex" Schultz named winner of the 2023 Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 03/20/2023


Alea Henle

Chair, Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award

Library History Round Table


CHICAGO — The Library History Round Table (LHRT) is pleased to announce that this year’s Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award winner is Dr. Alexandra "Alex" Schultz for her dissertation, “Imagined Histories: Hellenistic Libraries and the Idea of Greece.” Schultz is currently a Research Fellow in Classics at Jesus College, Cambridge, and will start as Assistant Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College in July. She received her Ph.D. in Classical Philology from Harvard University. Her dissertation examines the histories of Hellenistic libraries, actual and imaginary, and how these shaped ideas about Greece, Rome, and the supposed origins of Western Civilization.

Schultz's ambitious and thorough work impressed members of the award committee, and deserves the Library History Round Table’s praise for her argument that “Only by studying the history of libraries as institutions and as ideas can we understand this important confluence of literature and power in the ancient world” (35). Her massive research scope included exploration of the shift from private, personal collections to immense public-facing libraries in the wake of Alexander the Great’s conquests. Instead of emphasizing great men narratives of library establishment, she highlights the roles of ordinary people, from free male citizens to enslaved knowledge workers, in building and sustaining private and public libraries.

The biennial Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award, named in honor of a library historian widely known as a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar and thinker, recognizes outstanding dissertations in English in the general area of library history. The author of the selected dissertation receives a certificate and $500.


The Library History Round Table of the American Library Association exists to facilitate communication among scholars and students of library history, to support research in library history, and to be active in issues, such as preservation, that concern library historians. The Round Table sponsors conferences, publishes a newsletter, and presents the Justin Winsor Prize and the Phyllis Dain Dissertation Award to promote excellence in library history research. In 1999, LHRT marked its 50th year of library history scholarship and activism.

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.