Magazine article American Libraries

Hugh Craig Atkinson, 1933-1986; "He Has Out-Soared the Shadow of Our Night." (Obituary)

Magazine article American Libraries

Hugh Craig Atkinson, 1933-1986; "He Has Out-Soared the Shadow of Our Night." (Obituary)

Article excerpt

Hugh Craig Atkinson, 1933-1986 HUGH ATKINSON WAS, QUITE SIMPLY, one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. He was, at once, a man of enormous complexity and of disarming simplicity. He was a genius in librarianship who never flaunted his great intelligence, and an intellectual who, for the most part, hid his intellectualism. Hugh was a wise and witty man and a natural democrat who never condescended to anyone and who treated all kinds and conditions of people with equal kindness and consideration. He had a passionate commitment to librarianship and believed in the overriding mission of libraries as agents of culture and civilization and in the importance of library service in carrying out that mission.

Hugh Craig Atkinson was born on November 27, 1933, and died, untimely, October 24, 1986. He was a graduate of St. Benedict's College and of the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago. He worked in the libraries of the University of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Military College, the State University of New York at Buffalo, Ohio State University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Especially in the latter two institutions he established a reputation as one of the major innovators in modern librarianship.

His ideas on library automation, on cooperation, and on the organization of libraries were a decade or more ahead of their time. In the UIUC Library, one of the largest libraries in the world, he oversaw innovations in each of these areas. …

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