Distinguished Professor Emerita
Title: Supporting Global Research: Libraries, Access, and Social Responsibility
Scheduled in conjunction with Library Research Seminar VI
Barbara J. Ford, Mortenson Distinguished Professor Emerita, retired from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library at the end of May 2014. She joined the Mortenson Center as its director in 2003 and led the Center as it expanded its activities in developing library professionals worldwide and providing opportunities to learn from and share with librarians globally.
The American Library Association (ALA), Chinese American Librarians Association, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have recognized Ford with awards for her significant contributions and dedication to international librarianship. Both Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science have given her distinguished alumna awards.
Ford was the 1997-1998 president of the ALA; her theme was "Libraries: Global Reach, Local Touch." She was president of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of ALA, from 1990-1991. From 2005-2009, she served as an elected member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Governing Board. She previously served as the secretary for the IFLA Section on Government Information and Official Publications and on the IFLA Academic and Research Libraries Section. From 2011-2013 she served on the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Ford previously worked as assistant commissioner at the Chicago Public Library, director of the Virginia Commonwealth University libraries, and associate library director at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She served in several capacities at the University of Illinois at Chicago, including documents librarian and audiovisual librarian. In addition, Ford was director of the Soybean Insect Research Information Center at the Illinois Natural History Survey and a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama and Nicaragua. She earned a bachelor's degree in history and education from Illinois Wesleyan University, a master's degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a master's degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
International networks of librarians can integrate the global context into research to support knowledge production for a globalizing ere. Much research is inter-disciplinary and cross cultural and is best done with a diverse, knowledgeable, and socially responsible worldview. Librarians can help by building networks that provide access to collections, services, and people for researchers globally despite cultural and linguistic differences.