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.
"Jim Neal unquestionably exemplifies the legacy of Hugh Atkinson!" said Carlen Ruschoff, Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award committee chair. "He is one of the most well-known and widely respected library leaders in the world today. He has become a recognized authority both nationally and internationally on copyright in relation to libraries and higher education. He has served as advisor to the U.S. Delegation at the WIPO Diplomatic conference. His leadership in shaping the national debate on intellectual property policy and his active role in government testimony has influenced the direction of public policy in this area.
"As a speaker and an author, Jim has been an effective influence on our profession. He has stimulated the thinking of librarians through his innovative and thought-provoking scholarship. He has, very deliberately, raised our profile on campuses, among publishers, and in government."
Jim has promoted models of publication that support open access to scholarly research and he has been a guiding force behind the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). As library administrator, he has developed creative approaches to scholarly publication, framed innovative partnerships between libraries and scholars, and promoted an expansive vision of the roles of libraries in the scholarly endeavor. Thomas C. Leonard, University Librarian at the University of California-Berkeley, stated in his letter of support, "I am enthusiastic in saying that this statesman of the library world who has so often showed us our future, [is] an excellent choice for the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award."
"What an honor to be associated through this award with one of our field's most accomplished and exciting librarians," said Neal. "I am blessed to have had so many outstanding professional opportunities and to have worked with such remarkable colleagues."
In 1978, Neal received his Certificate in Advanced Librarianship from Columbia University, where he also received his M.S. in Library Science in 1973 and his M.A. in History in 1971. He received his B.A. in Russian Studies from Rutgers University in 1968.
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 Administration 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.
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.