For immediate release | April 27, 2023

Jim Neal receives 2023 John Ames/Humphry/OCLC/ Forest Press Award

CHICAGO — James (Jim) Neal is this year’s recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s John Ames/Humphry/OCLC/ Forest Press Award.

OCLC/Forest Press donated the cash award of $1,000, which is given to an individual for significant contribution to international librarianship.

Jim Neal is University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University, where he served as Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, 2001-2014. Prior to his work at Columbia University, Neal was Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University. Previous academic leadership positions included Penn State, Notre Dame, and City University of New York. At all institutions, he made significant contributions, developed and carried out many international partnership agreements.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Neal has been passionately advocating and advancing critical agendas for international librarianship through the many outstanding volunteer positions in library associations and organizations, including ALA, AAU, ACRL, ARL, CLIR, Digital Library Federation, Freedom to Read Foundation, Hathi Trust Research Center, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), OCLC, including serving on the board for three terms, and as chair of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO).

In ALA, he served as president and treasurer, as well as six terms on Council and four terms on the Executive Board. Neal served as member of ALA’s International Relations Committee and Chair of the International Relations Round Table (IRRT), among many other leadership roles and committee assignments for ALA and its divisions.

The international scope of his work has been one of commitment and dedication throughout his entire career as an advocate for library workers. As a prolific contributing scholar, Neal has advocated the libraries’ role on important topics, such as copyright, intellectual freedom, library advocacy, diversity, equity, access and inclusion, information policies, challenges and opportunities for information professionals, library innovation, transformation, and leadership.

Neal’s impact and vast library relationships made it possible to raise funds for librarians around the world to participate in IFLA’s WLIC conferences in 2001 (Boston) and 2016 (Columbus). In 2021, as the IRRT Chair, and with his successful fundraising expertise, he was able to raise funds to establish a one-time scholarship for librarians around the world to attend IFLA’s virtual conference.

Jim Neal has been a tireless advocate of libraries, intellectual freedom, and copyright. He was an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization diplomatic conference on copyright. He has been an active leader in IFLA for decades, serving in numerous capacities, including the Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters, For many years, Neal served on IFLA’s Interlending and Document Delivery section and the Academic and Research Libraries section.

Neal has received numerous awards and honors recognizing his leadership, service, and achievements, including several from ALA (the Melvil Dewey Medal Award, the Joseph W. Lippincott Award, the Hugh C Atkinson Memorial Award) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. Most recently, in 2022, Neal was elected by ALA’s Council to honorary membership in the association, ALA’s highest honor in recognition of outstanding contributions to libraries and librarianship. In August 2022, President Biden appointed Jim Neal to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. He also received the Roll of Honor Award from the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the Scroll of Appreciation from IFLA.

Having published over ninety papers in a wide range of publications, from refereed scholarship to thought and advocacy pieces to professional columns, Neal has made a substantial contribution to the literature of librarianship. As a voice for libraries, Neal has traveled to 100 countries throughout the world, delivered over 550 presentations at conferences and meetings, and has spoken at over 80 international conferences, including keynote addresses in 22 countries.

Neal will be recognized during the International Librarians Reception on Monday, June 26, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

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Delin Guerra

Program Officer

International Relations Office