US library chief visits University

The President of the American Library Association(ALA) visited the University of Sheffield today (14th October 2009).

Dr. Camila Alire addressed postgraduate students and staff at the Department of Information Studies and visited the University's award-winning Information Commons, a landmark library and learning space which opened in 2007.

Dr. Alire, who is the first Hispanic President of the ALA, succeeded to the position in July and is currently Professor of Practice at Simmons College, the leading US library school in Boston.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest professional library association in the world.

Dr. Alire said: "The work of Sheffield's Department of Information Studies has a global reputation, and is well-known to many in the US, so I'm delighted to have this opportunity to visit the University and the city of Sheffield during my term as President.

"The Information Commons building is an excellent example of the new kinds of student-centred facilities that are transforming our perceptions of university libraries, and ensuring that they remain at the heart of the academic community."

Professor Sheila Corrall, who is Head of the Department of Information Studies and is hosting Dr. Alire's visit, said: "Dr. Alire is an inspirational figure for all those who believe that libraries have an exciting part to play in our knowledge society."

"Dr. Alire addressed students and staff on issues and trends in American libraries and then engaged in debate with Masters and Doctoral students on the global challenges and leadership opportunities facing librarians today."

Martin Lewis, Director of Library Services and University Librarian, added: "The Information Commons has attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world, so it's a particular pleasure to welcome Dr. Alire during her term of office."

"We work in a global business, and the opportunity to share thoughts with our international visitors on how our profession is changing and developing, and how the library as a physical place is evolving, is enormously valuable."

Notes for Editors: The Department of Information Studies at the University of Sheffield was ranked first in the UK in its field in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, confirming the number one position it has held for 23 years.

The Information Commons opened in 2007 and won a RIBA award for its architecture and, and was named Best Building at the inaugural 2009 Sheffield Design Awards.

For further information please contact: Kyle Christie, Media Relations Assistant, on 0114 2229852 or email

American Library Association

Department of Information Studies