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Wedgeworth, Robert (1937-) | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Wedgeworth, Robert (1937-)

Historical Note:

Robert Wedgeworth was born on July 31, 1937 in Ennis, Texas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Wabash College in 1959 and a Master of Science in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1961. He also studied Spanish at Washington University in 1965 as well as Library Science at Rutgers University from 1969 to 1972 [1]. He has since been awarded with five honorary doctorates [2].

Over the course of his career, Wedgeworth worked as a cataloger at the Kansas City Public Library (1961-62), assistant head librarian at Park College in Parkville, Missouri (1962-63), then acting head librarian (1963-64), and head librarian at Meramec Community College (1964-65). He was the assistant chief order librarian at Brown University (1966-69) and an assistant professor of library service at Rutgers University (1971-72) [1] before serving as the executive director of ALA from 1972 to 1985. He was Dean of the School of Library Service at Columbia University from 1985 to 1992. He then worked at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1993 to 1999 as University Librarian, Professor of Library Administration and Professor of Library and Information Science [2].

Wedgeworth served on the Executive Board of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for six years before being elected president in 1991. He was re-elected in 1995 and served until 1997. He became president of Laubach Literacy International in 2001. Additionally, he is a life member of ALA and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Wabash College, the Board of Trustees of the Newberry Library, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Laubach Literacy International. He has also served on advisory committees to Princeton, Miami, Stanford, and Harvard University Libraries [2]. He was editor-in-chief of the ALA Yearbook from 1976 to 1985 [2] and editor-in-chief of the ALA World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences in 1980 and 1993 [1]. He spent six years as an editorial advisor to the World Book Encyclopedia [2].

In 1991, he was honored as the Most Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and in 1996, he was given the Medal of Honor from the International Council of Archives. From ALA, he has received the Lippencott, Melvil Dewey, and Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Awards [2].


1. "Wedgeworth, Robert," in Who's Who in Library and Information Services, ed. Joel M. Lee (Chicago: American Library Association, 1982), 526.

2. "Robert Wedgeworth's Biography," American Library Association,

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