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Mitch Freedman Wins 2014 Joseph W Lippincott Award

The American Library Association (A.L.A.) announced on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 that Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman had won the 2014 Joseph W Lippincott Award, which honors distinguished service to the profession of librarianship. This annual award is sponsored by Joseph W. Lippincott III and presented by the A.L.A.

Among the many achievements cited by those who wrote in support of the nomination is his visionary leadership. Freedman’s tireless advocacy for socially responsible cataloging and library technologies and processes has had a profound impact on our profession, nationally and internationally. He has been chosen as consultant and speaker for the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Information Service and other auspices in close to 30 countries on five continents. For example, he led a team to design a resource sharing and online information network for the eight largest research libraries in Latvia. In addition the report he wrote for the Pusan (Korea) National University Library is considered 'legendary' at the university’s library school and is required reading for the school’s library management course.

Freedman’s ardent advocacy for those who work in libraries has had world-wide impact. Before his sharp focus on salary issues, many in our association viewed discussions about improving compensation for librarians and library workers as self-serving. His intense concentration on this issue resulted in tools, training and advocacy programs that have helped to make the conversation about fair pay and improved status for library workers acceptable — and welcome. In fact, the establishment of the APA (Allied Professional Association) followed his presidency.

“The jury for the 2014 Joseph W. Lippincott Award is delighted to honor Dr. Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman,” said Lippincott Chair Patricia Glass Schuman. "Mitch is an outspoken and visionary leader and a tireless advocate for better salaries and pay equity for all library workers, and for the humanistic application of technology in libraries. His contributions have had profound and lasting impact on who we are, what we do, our values, and what our work is worth. He has literally changed the way librarians talk about our libraries and our profession.”

Freedman is a prolific author and has been an in-demand speaker for decades on topics including cataloging, information technology, salaries, and jazz CDs. His career included important management positions at the Library of Congress, Information Dynamics Corp., the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota, The New York Public Library, and the Westchester Library System.

He currently works for the New City Library in New York. Freedman has taught in the library and information science programs of Columbia University, Pratt Institute and Rutgers University and lectured at numerous library schools in the U.S. and internationally.

Ms. Schuman co-founded and served as president of Neal-Schuman Publishers (which is now part of ALA Publishing) and served as president of the A.L.A. in 1991-92. In addition to her, the members of the 2014 Joseph W. Lippincott Award jury are Karen Downing, University of Michigan; Nancy Bolt, Nancy Bolt & Associates; Joseph Eagan, Montgomery County Library; and Amy Roberson, Trinity University.

The Joseph W Lippincott Award consists of $1,000 and a 24k gold-framed citation presented annually to a librarian for distinguished service to the profession of librarianship, which includes outstanding participation in the activities of the professional library association, notable published professional writing, or other significant activity on behalf of the profession and its aims.

Joseph Wharton “Jay” Lippincott III is the scion of a famous publishing family. His grandfather, Joseph Wharton Lippincott I (1887-1976), the publisher and author, started the Joseph W. Lippincott Award in 1937.

Joseph Wharton Lippincott I’s grandfathers were Joshua Ballinger Lippincott, who founded J.B. Lippincott & Company in Philadelphia in 1836, and Joseph Wharton (1826-1909), co-founder with Charles M. Schwab (1862-1939) of Bethlehem Steel, co-founder with other Quakers of Swarthmore College, and founder of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

The J.B. Lippincott Company is one of several publishers to have evolved from a bookshop. Benjamin Warner and Jacob Johnson setup a bookstall in Philadelphia in 1792.

Joshua B. Lippincott transformed the company into a publisher of Bibles and other religious works, but soon expanded into general interest titles. Trade books became the largest portion of the business.

In 1849, Lippincott acquired Grigg, Elliot & Company, a major book distributor, which paved the way for the J. B. Lippincott Company, as it was re-named in 1884, to become one of the largest American publishing houses. In 1885, one of Joshua and Josephine Craige Lippincott’s sons, Craige Lippincott (1846-1911), became president of the company.

In 1937, Joseph Wharton Lippincott II (1914-2003) – or Joseph Wharton Lippincott, Jr., as he was then called –joined the company. After he was discharged from the U.S. Army in the wake of the Second Great World War, he served as production manager until 1958, the year his father retired and he moved up.

In the 1950s the company began producing a successful line of medical and nursing books and journals, which would become the focus of the company. In 1958, Joseph W. Lippincott, Sr. retired as Chairman of the Board of the J. B. Lippincott Company.

Under the leadership of Joseph W. Lippincott, Jr., the company continued to publish novels and non-fiction books – including the bestseller Alive – but also added product lines to included high school textbooks and other educational materials, expanded operations overseas, and became a publicly traded company in 1972. Harper & Row acquired the J. B. Lippincott Company in 1978, but Joseph W. Lippincott, Jr. remained on the Board of Directors until 1987. In that year, Harper & Row became HarperCollins, part of the Murdoch family's News Corporation.

At the time of his death in 2003, Joseph W. Lippincott, Jr. was “survived by his wife of 52 years, Marie Louise Beck Lippincott; two daughters, Elizabeth L. Mather of Philadelphia and Jean L. Coady of Norristown, Pa.; a son, Joseph W. III, of Rosemont, Pa.; 10 grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters,” as recounted by Wolfgang Saxon in Lippincott’s New York Times obituary. In his Philadelphia Inquirer obituary, Sally A. Downey wrote, “An advocate of public libraries, he served on the boards of the Free Library of Philadelphia and of Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr. He was a former chairman of National Library Week and was on the boards of the Urban Libraries Council and the Council of the American Library. He regularly attended the annual meeting of the American Library Association to present an award for outstanding achievement in librarianship that was named for his father.”

In 1990, HarperCollins sold the J. B. Lippincott Company to the Dutch publishing house Wolters Kluwer N.V., which is best known for textbooks on taxes and the law. The new parent company merged it with Raven Publishers to form Lippincott-Raven Publishers.

Then, in 1998, the parent company merged Lippincott-Raven with Williams & Wilkins to form Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), a publisher of textbooks and reference works for physicians, clinicians, nurses, scientists, and technicians, as well scientific journals. LWW is a unit of Wolters Kluwer Health.

In 2002, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins gave a substantial part of the J. B. Lippincott Company archive to The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The collection consists of ninety-eight boxes of business records and books covering the years from 1851 to 1958.

LWW is headquartered in Philadelphia. Other office locations include Baltimore; New York City; Hagerstown, Maryland; Ambler, Pennsylvania; Chicago; London; Sydney; and Hong Kong.

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