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Honorary Fellowship
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Honorary Fellowship

Honorary Fellowship has been awarded by CILIP and its predecessor the Library Association since 1896. It is the highest recognition given to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the library and information world.

Recipients of the title join a roll call of important figures including: Three time former Prime Minster Rt. Hon Stanley Baldwin, Scottish philanthropist and library founder Andrew Carnegie, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal system used in library classification, Melvil Dewey; the poet, novelist and librarian Philip Larkin, novelist Dame Catherine Cookson and children’s illustrator and author Shirley Hughes.


2017 Honorary Fellowships

At CILIP's AGM on the 12th October Honorary Fellowships were awarded to:

Joy Court - Carnegie Greenaway Award Chair, Children’s librarian and children's literature expert

Reading for pleasure advocate and children’s librarian Joy Court has been awarded Honorary Fellowship of CILIP, the library and information association. The honour was presented in London on 12 October during the very first UK Libraries Week.

Joy is recognised for inspiring others with her generosity, knowledge and passion and for her tremendous impact on the fields of children’s literature, reading for pleasure and youth librarianship.

A lifelong advocate of the positive impact of reading, Joy’s latest book Reading by Right, published by Facet Publishing, brings together voices from across the profession to reveal the strategies that are effective in overcoming barriers to reading from birth to teens. Joy chairs the Working Party for the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals, the nation’s oldest children’s book award, and is known across the children’s publishing industry for her encyclopaedic knowledge of children’s books.

Martin Hayes - local studies librarian for West Sussex County 

Martin is known for his commitment to supporting other professionals and for bringing the subject of local studies to life. He has helped colleagues at all levels of Local Government to see the value of local studies, developing exhibitions and materials to inspire and engage the public. In his role he has carried out 30 years of pioneering work that has helped develop the field. The honour recognises his enthusiasm and comprehensive expertise.

Martin has led recent projects that enable local volunteers to document and digitise their heritage, leading to donations of new material, helping to enrich the documentary record for West Sussex county.

Chris Riddell - triple Kate Greenaway Medal winning illustrator, political cartoonist and former Children’s Laureate

Triple Kate Greenaway Medal winning illustrator, political cartoonist and past Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell has been awarded Honorary Fellowship of CILIP, the library and information association. The honour was presented in London on 12 October during the very first UK Libraries Week.

Chris is recognised for using his art and his influence to promote the unique value of libraries and librarians in people’s lives. As Laureate and more recently as President of the School Libraries Association, Chris has championed the work of librarians and the role of libraries, particularly school libraries and their impact on children and young people.

He has used his influence with politicians to help them understand both the challenges the library sector is facing and the unique role which libraries play in all of our lives. Through his words and beautiful images, he has brought a fresh understanding of the library sector to the wider public.

A self-declared library fan, Chris also presented the 2017 Libraries Change Lives national award for innovation and impact in library services to HMP Norwich library.  The team at Norwich are unique in delivering a cognitive therapy project to help ‘forgotten’ elderly prisoners suffering from dementia and memory loss within the prison environment.

Stephan Roman - former Regional Director of South Asia for the British Council

A committed internationalist, Stephan has been at the forefront of some of the most important international developments in libraries over the past 25 years including a leading role with the World Bank in establishing the Global Knowledge Partnership in 1997 – an alliance of over 100 organisations committed to empowering developing countries through the use of ICT, technology and the development of libraries.

Sheila Webber - Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield’s Information School and influential information professional

Sheila is recognised for the tremendous impact of her work and her positive influence on the information field over three decades; in particular her transformative work on business information and information literacy.

Sheila has devoted herself to furthering the field of information literacy as an elected member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Information Literacy Section, and through her involvement in UNESCO.

Earlier in the year at CILIP's annual conference, an award was made to:

Dr Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress

Carla is an American librarian and the 14th Librarian of Congress.  She is the first woman and African-American to hold the post as well as the first person of colour to have been nominated for the position.  She also happens to be the first professional librarian elected to the post in over 60 years, being only the third to hold the post in the 215-year history of the role. 

From 1993 until 2016 she was the Director of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland and was president of the American Library Association 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.

Her career started at the Chicago Public Library where she worked as an Associate/Children’s librarian and was later promoted to Young Adult Services Coordinator.  From 1982-1987 she worked as a Library Services Coordinator at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.  She became associate professor teaching at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences in 1991.

During her tenure at the Enoch Pratt Free Library she oversaw 22 locations, hundreds of employees and an annual budget of $40 milliion.  She also oversaw the first new branch to open in 35 years along with the renovation of the co-operative’s central branch.  In 2015 during the protests of the death of Freddie Gray she kept Baltimore’s libraries open, an act for which she received extensive praise.

Her theme during her tenure as president of the ALA was Equity of Access.  In her role she was vocal in her public opposition to the Patriot Act, leading a battle for the protections of library users’ privacy. 

In 2016 she was nominated by Barack Obama to serve as the next Librarian of Congress.  Following her nomination, more than 140 library, publishing, educational and academic organisations signed a letter of support.  The letter said in part that Congress had “an opportunity to equip the Library and the nation with the unique combination of professional skills and sensibilities that Dr. Hayden will bring to the post”.

In July 2016 she was confirmed as the Librarian of Congress in a vote by the US senate.  As Librarian of Congress she hopes to continue “the movement to open the treasure chest that is the Library of Congress”. 


Nominations for this year's Honorary Fellowships are now closed.

Honorary Fellowship is the highest recognition that CILIP can give to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the library and information world.

It can sometimes be awarded to members of the profession as a reflection of the respect and regard of their colleagues for a particularly important contribution over a long period of time.

It is also the means by which CILIP can recognise those people who are not in the information profession but have supported and contributed to its development and profile.

Honorary Fellows do not have to be CILIP members but must have some kind of relationship or link to the profession.

Further information for the criteria of Honorary Fellowships can be found below, with the nomination form and a guidnace note at the end of the page.

Award criteria

Nominations for Honorary Fellows have to demonstrate at least one or more of the following:

  • That their work or activity has raised the profile of the information profession in some way.
  • That their work or activity has had a significant and positive impact on the profession.
  • That they have made a difference to the world of libraries, information and knowledge through their work or activities.

Nominees could include:

  • A person with a long history of outstanding leadership in the profession who has recognition in society and has raised the profile of information professionals.
  • A person who has campaigned or supported campaigns in line with CILIP's charitable objections to improve society by making better practice or services.
  • A person who has made an outstanding contribution to change in society becuase of their role as an information professional.
  • A person who is an 'unsung hero' who has perhaps supported others in a ways that has 'gone the extra mile'.
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