Libraries and culture

Libraries and culture: historical essays honouring the legacy of Donald G. Davis, Jr.

Edited by Cheryl Knott Malone, Hermina G.B. Anghelescu, John Mark Tucker, Library of Congress, 2006, Hbk., 294p. ISBN 0844411558

This Festschrift for one of the Librarians’ Christian Fellowship’s Life Vice-Presidents marks his retirement from the University of Texas, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Library History. Donald has been on the faculty of the university’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science (now School of Information) since 1971. In 1977 he became editor of Journal of Library History (now Libraries & Culture). The editors of the Festschrift state, in their introduction that Donald saved the journal from an untimely death and reinvigorated it.

In this introduction, aptly entitled ‘Donald G. Davis, Jr.: A Gentleman and a Scholar’, Donald is described as a respected scholar, beloved teacher and magnanimous colleague. The writers state that all the students who worked with him found a thoughtful advocate who would guide their steps through a master’s or doctoral degree and serve as a role model in their careers as librarians or faculty members.

Clearly Donald applied his Christian ideals to his work and these ideals are particularly brought out in John Mark Tucker’s contribution to the Festschrift (‘Fides et Historia: Christian Sources for the Professional Contributions of Donald G. Davis, Jr.‘) Faith and history, Tucker states, have become the substance of Donald’s life. He integrates his faith into the processes of making decisions and forming relationships, yet without forcing experience into compartments. He has sought to integrate faith and life, including professional life.

Tucker states that Donald cites two individuals as being of special encouragement to him, both as leaders in our profession and spiritual mentors, and I am delighted that one of these is my friend and former student and former President of the Library Association (as it then was), Graham Cornish. The other is Edward G. Holley, a former President of the American Library Association.

The Festschrift concludes with a very impressive chronology and bibliography listing Donald’s professional achievements and activities together with publications which he wrote or edited, alone or with others.

Other contributions to this worthy tribute to an outstanding Christian librarian are arranged under three headings: Library History Education and Research; Libraries, Books and Culture; and International Perspectives.

There is a good index, though (like most indexes!) it is not perfect. For example, the entries under ‘Davis, Donald G., Jr., Involvement in the Librarians’ Christian Fellowship’ and ‘Librarians’ Christian Fellowship, Donald G. Davis’s involvement’ are not identical, as of course they should be.

Contributed by: Ken Bakewell, MA, MCMI, FCLIP, who is Emeritus Professor of Information and Library Management at the Liverpool John Moores University and a Life Vice President of CLIS.