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