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Biographies of Famous Librarians : Who's Who in Library and Information Science

Who's Who in Library and Information Science and services is a list of biographies of top famous librarians, catalogers, library science teachers, and library and information studies professionals. This is a list of notable librarians and people who have advanced libraries and librarianship. Also included are people primarily notable for other endeavors, such as politicians and writers, who have also worked as librarians. A highlight of this collection is the inclusion of videos on the life and contributions of the librarians.

Biographies of Famous Librarians : Who's Who in Library and Information Science

Libraries have always been essential in a process of provision of access to knowledge to the users. In the digital era Libraries are needed more than ever before, as they always strive to meet both the ends by making globally present information accessible to the globally present users. The Internet enables everyone to visit a library without leaving his/her home in order to get his/her book/information. Neil Gaiman perfectly describes what’s happening in digital times: “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” In the backdrop of the aforesaid portrayal of the subject, the importance of Librarians in the present and future eras can hardly be overemphasized. Hence this blog, which is expected to be an important knowledge resource, for the librarians, information scientists, LIS faculty, research scholars and students. One of the highlights of the blog is to commemorate and honor the real heroes of the library profession, to whom the librarians and libraries of the present age owe a lot. Many stalwarts in Library and Information Services profession appeared on the world horizon and rendered yeomen service for progress and prosperity of our profession. Hence this blog post has been created to provide information about the librarians. The entries are arranged alphabetically.


  • Biographies of Librarians from the United States, Europe, and Other Countries
  • Biographies of Librarians from India
  • Librarians' Stories and A Day in the Life of a Librarian

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France 


Arlene G. Taylor

Arlene G. Taylor (Ph.D. ’81) is Professor Emerita from the School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, where she taught for 12 years prior to retiring, and holds an honorary appointment as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science. Her career as a library school educator lasted more than 30 years, and included teaching at Columbia University and the University of Chicago. She is lead author or co-author of widely-used texts, including Introduction to Cataloging and Classification (6th to 11th editions) and The Organization of Information (four editions). She has an extensive publication record of refereed articles, books and book chapters, and research reports, and she has given more than 90 guest presentations for national, state, and regional library associations, as well as library schools. Taylor's international activities include serving as a workshop leader, teacher, and/or consultant in Brazil, England, Thailand, and Israel. For her work in the latter two countries, she received Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Grants. She has held leadership positions on many professional association committees, including the ALA/ALCTS Catalog Form and Function Committee (Chair, 1995–1998) and the ALA/ALCTS/CCS Subject Analysis Committee (Chair, 1992–1994). Her professional contributions have been recognized with the ALA/ALCTS Margaret Mann Citation, the ALA/Highsmith Library Literature Award for The Organization of Information, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science Alumni Association. Prior to earning her Ph.D. at UNC, she had worked in libraries as a cataloger at the Library of Congress, Christopher Newport College (now University), and Iowa State University. Taylor longed to return to North Carolina from the time she left in 1981. After she retired from teaching, she and her husband moved to Chapel Hill in 2007. She continues to write, working with former students on research articles and on new editions of her textbooks.  She also enjoys “cataloging” her many pictures of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, and even one set of great-great-great grandparents, and their families.

Carla Hayden

Carla Hayden (full name, Carla Diane Hayden; born August 10, 1952) is an American librarian and the 14th Librarian of Congress. Hayden is the first woman and the first African American to hold the post. She is the first professional librarian appointed to the post in over 60 years. From 1993 until 2016, she was the CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, and president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2003 to 2004. During her presidency, she was the leading voice of the ALA in speaking out against the newly passed United States Patriot Act.¹

Video Title: Meet President Obama's Nominee for Librarian of Congress

Creator: The Obama White House

Original Published Date: Feb 24, 2016

Charles Ammi Cutter

Charles Ammi Cutter (March 14, 1837 – September 6, 1903) was an American librarian. Cutter was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His aunt was an employee of the regional library in Boston. In 1856 Cutter was enrolled into Harvard Divinity School. He was appointed assistant librarian of the divinity school while still a student there and served in that capacity from 1857 to 1859. During that time, Cutter began designing a distinct cataloging schema for the library's outdated system. The catalog, dating from 1840, had a lack of order after the acquisition of 4,000 volumes from the collection of Professor Gottfried Christian Friedrich Lücke of University of Göttingen, which added much depth to the Divinity School Library's collection. During the 1857-58 school year, Cutter rearranged the library collection on the shelves into broad subject categories along with classmate Charles Noyes Forbes. During the winter break of 1858-59, they arranged the collection into a single listing alphabetically by author. This project was finished by the time Cutter graduated in 1859. By 1860 Cutter was already a seasoned staff member of the library and a full-time librarian. He became a journeyman to the chief cataloger and assistant librarian to Dr. Ezra Abbot. At Harvard College Cutter developed a new form of index catalog, using cards instead of published volumes, containing both an author index and a "classed catalog" or a rudimentary form of subject index. In 1868 the Boston Athenæum library elected Cutter as its head librarian. His first assignment was to organize and aggregate the inventory of the library and develop a catalog from that and to publish a complete dictionary catalog for their collection. The previous librarian and assistants had been working on this, but much of the work was sub par and, according to Cutter, needed to be redone. This did not sit well with the trustees who wanted to get a catalog published as soon as possible. However, the catalog was revised and published in five volumes known as the Athenæum Catalogue. Cutter was the librarian at the Boston Athenaeum for twenty-five years.²

Video Title: Charles Ammi Cutter: A Significant Cataloguer

Creator: Anne Welsh (University College, London)

Original Published Date: Nov 26, 2013

Chris Sherratt

Chris Sherratt is a librarian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Video Title: Treasure hunter

Video Summary: Librarian or sleuth detective? Gone are the days of riffling through dusty old card catalogues. Chris Sherratt has been an MIT librarian for more than 25 years. She will stop at nothing to track down a resource.

Creator: MIT School of Engineering

Original Published Date: Sep 8, 2017

Jian Qin

Jian Qin is Professor at the iSchool, Syracuse University. The areas of her research interest include metadata, knowledge and data modeling, scientific communication, research networks, and research data management. She received funding from IMLS to develop an eScience librarianship curriculum and from NSF for the Science Data Literacy project. Her recent research projects include metadata modeling for gravitational wave research data management and big metadata analytics using GenBank metadata records for molecular sequences, both with funding from NSF. She also collaborated with a colleague to develop a Capability Maturity Model for Research Data Management funded by a grant from the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). She was a visiting scholar at the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), where she developed the learning object vocabulary project. Jian Qin has published widely in national and international research journals. She was the co-author of the book Metadata and co-editor for several special journal issues on knowledge discovery in databases and knowledge representation.

Lois Mai Chan

Lois Mai Chan (July 30, 1934 – August 20, 2014) was an American librarian, author, and professor at the University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science until 2011. Her publications on cataloging, library classification, and subject indexing were recognized with various awards. Chan was born in 1934 in Taiwan, and studied foreign languages at National Taiwan University. After moving to the United States, she obtained a Master's of Arts from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. She began her library career as a serials cataloger at the University of Kentucky in 1966. By 1980, she was a professor in the library sciences department at the university. Chan began publishing books in the late 1970s, beginning with Library of Congress Subject Headings: Principles and Application, a text on the Library of Congress (LC) system of subject headings. She followed with texts on library cataloging, the LC classification scheme, and the Dewey Decimal Classification. She received the American Library Association Margaret Mann Citation for her contributions to the library science profession. Chan died on August 20, 2014, aged 80³.

Video Title: Telling Chinese American Librarians' Stories: Lois Mai Chan

Video Summary: Lois Mai Chan, beloved professor, researcher, and author in the field of cataloging and classification, retired in 2011 after 45 years of service to the University of Kentucky. In her career, she published over 20 books, gave lectures around the world, won numerous grants and awards, and served as a consultant to the Library of Congress. Her textbooks are used in library schools around the world, including the popular "Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction." This video commemorates her illustrious career and contributions to the field of library and information science. It was produced by Team G of the 2014 ALA Emerging Leaders in association with the Chinese American Librarians Association.

Creator: CALAChannel

Original Published Date: Jun 3, 2014

Melvil Dewey

Melvil Dewey (full name, Melville Louis Kossuth "Melvil" Dewey; born December 10, 1851; died December 26, 1931) was an American librarian and educator, inventor of the Dewey Decimal system of library classification, and a founder of the Lake Placid Club⁴.

Video Title: True Library Story: Melvil Dewey, The Man Behind the Decimal

Video Summary: Biographical presentation on the life of Melvil Dewey.  Starring famous Pittsburgh underground actor Damien maruscak

Original Published Date: Apr 26, 2010

Video Title: Melvil Dewey

Video Summary: This is a short biography of Melvil Dewey and what influenced him to develop the Dewey Decimal System.

Creator: Library Learners

Original Published Date: Oct 17, 2013

Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is an internationally recognized thought leader in library technology. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States 


R. K. Sharma

R. K. Sharma (full name, Ravinder Kumar Sharma; born January 1, 1956) is a librarian from India. He is currently working as Librarian in the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan (UNIC), New Delhi. He is a knowledge management expert in exploring information on the UN system using various online UN information resources. He is a focal point for providing necessary information support to the public at large on the United Nations and global contemporary issues.  Dr. R. K. Sharma is also a nodal expert on the digital library for the UN System in India. Keeping the spotlight on the library profession has been Dr. Sharma's key motto. His passion has driven him to intensely network among libraries and library professionals and made me thirsty to understand how in these highly challenging and charged times, new and emerging technologies can assist libraries to claim their rightful space in the sun. Besides having an extraordinary record of serving top academic and research libraries, he has been associated with key national and international professional organizations working for the growth and development of the libraries in the country.  Currently, he is serving as the President of the Delhi Library Association. His strong organizational skills and ability to integrate receptive changes have enabled him to achieve his persistent goal of ensuring financial stability for libraries and promoting their overall growth and development. As an active senior professional, Dr. R. K. Sharma has served on many selection committees as a library expert.  He has delivered lectures at various platforms, organized several seminars, conferences and workshops and chaired several technical sessions at the national and international seminars, conferences and workshops.   Dr. Sharma has contributed many research papers in refereed journals and edited many books.  His interests are library & information management, computerization of library information services, web-based library services. He is always keen to explore further means of co-operation by which he could contribute to the information society at large.

Ramesh C. Gaur

Ramesh C. Gaur - Professor (Dr.) Ramesh C. Gaur (born July 1, 1966) is a librarian from India. He is presently working as Dean, Director (Library & Information) and Head of the Kalanidhi Division at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi, a body under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Prof. Gaur is one of the senior-most faculty/officials in IGNCA and also officiates for Member Secretary whenever he is on tour or /and on leave. As a Dean, IGNCA he is responsible for the management and smooth running of various academic programs including  7 postgraduate diploma courses and 5 short term certificate courses in various disciplines such as cultural management, South Asian studies, Buddhism, digital library & data management, cultural informatics, conservation, folklore, tribal studies, research methodology, ethnographic documentary making, and screen writing, etc.

S. R. Ranganathan

S. R. Ranganathan (full name, Siyali Ramamrita Ranganathan (S.R.R.); born 09 August 1892; died 27 September 1972) was a mathematician and librarian from India. His birth date is also written 12 August 1892 but he himself wrote his birth date 09 August 1892 in his book "five laws of library science". His most notable contributions to the field were his five laws of library science and the development of the first major faceted classification system, the colon classification. He is considered to be the father of library science, documentation, and information science in India and is widely known throughout the rest of the world for his fundamental thinking in the field. His birthday is observed every year as the National Librarian's Day in India. He was a university librarian and professor of library science at Banaras Hindu University (1945–47) and professor of library science at the University of Delhi (1947–55). The last appointment made him director of the first Indian school of librarianship to offer higher degrees. He was president of the Indian Library Association from 1944 to 1953. In 1957 he was elected an honorary member of the International Federation for Information and Documentation (FID) and was made a vice-president for life of the Library Association of Great Britain⁵.

Video Title: S. R. Ranganathan

Written Produced & Directed by: Randor Guy

Shabahat Husain

Shabahat Husain (born May 3, 1952) is an Indian professor who worked at the Department of Library and Information Science, Aligarh Muslim University, from 1976 to 2017, during the period he not only established himself as one of the finest teacher but also as a prolific author, an able administrator and a devoted library professional. Presently, he is serving the coveted position of President of Indian Library Association (ILA), the oldest national body (estd.1933) of librarians and information professionals in India. He is known at the national and international level through his publications and lectures available on YouTube⁶.

Library of Trinity College Dublin
Library of Trinity College Dublin


We invite passionate library professionals to contribute to this section and tell your story to the world. You can write for Librarianship Studies in three ways as described below.

1. Librarians' Stories - In this section, we will include autobiographical articles by librarians, catalogers, library and information science teachers, and other library professionals who tell their stories in their own words.

2. Current LIS Professional Experience: If you are a librarian or working on any designation in some library, then we are interested in knowing about your work experience. No matter you are working in a small library, school library, or in a big university library, we are interested in knowing about them all. No matter if you are holding a very high designation or just responsible for other jobs such as barcode pasting, magnetic tape inserting, or else, every library job is important, and our readers are interested in knowing about all of them. Tell us how your library is organized, its workflow what database it offers, reference desk, circulation desk, serials section, acquisitions section, etc. Write about your experiences and we would be happy to publish that. Again it would more interesting to LIS professionals if you include pictures and other multimedia items with your article. Sometimes it may be against the policy of your library to write about it, in that case, you may do it without mentioning the name of your library, just explaining your workday and responsibilities, etc.

3. A Day in the Life of a Librarian: You may describe your typical day as a librarian. For example, check this article: A day in the life of a librarian.

Marjolein van der Vegt 

Marjolein van der Vegt - Since 1998 I live in Brazil (being born and raised in the Netherlands) and one of my wishes was to work as a librarian. My grandmother had worked in a library and brought home some magnificent books every now and then when I was a child. Till today I remember one of my favorites was a hand paint-printed book of Alexandre Dumas, the famous Robin Hood. But also, I read many fairy tales, entering the realm of Snow White and The Little Mermaid. And I need to say, I read the original versions, where the mermaid transforms into foam (and yes, I cried a lot as a child, happily). All these experiences, shortly said, created in me identifications. Where I did not understand Show White as a child, and saw it as a beautiful story, nowadays it becomes clear to me that if the cruel stepmother had found love in her heart, she would have been able to live happily ever after. But, since she did not, she suffered and missed the lesson in it all. If the little mermaid had accepted her love for the prince as beautiful and something from her heart to share and not to possess, maybe she would have had other insights into life. But of course, when you read these things as a child, you do not catch the clue easily still. Lacks the life experience needed to understand the meaning beyond words ... ... ...


  1. Wikipedia, "Carla Hayden," (accessed January 19, 2019).
  2. Wikipedia, "Charles Ammi Cutter," (accessed January 19, 2019).
  3. Wikipedia, "Lois Mai Chan," (accessed January 19, 2019).
  4. Wikipedia, "Melvil Dewey," (accessed January 19, 2019).
  5. Wikipedia, "S. R. Ranganathan," (accessed January 19, 2019).
  6., "Top 25 most famous librarians in history," (accessed July 29, 2020).
  7. Wikipedia, "List of Librarians," (accessed July 29, 2020).


Article Title
  • Biographies of Famous Librarians : Who's Who in Library and Information Science

Website Name
  • Librarianship Studies & Information Technology


Last Updated
  • July 29, 2020

Original Published Date
  • March 2, 2018

  • Help us improve this collection! Contact us with your feedback. Suggest the videos and biographies we can add to this list. You can use the comments section below, or reach us on social media.

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