2003 CALA Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Mr. Peter Robert Young
National Agricultural Library
Beltsville, Maryland

Peter Robert Young is the Director of the National Agricultural Library (NAL). He earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from the College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio, and a master's degree in library science from the School of Library Service at Columbia University. Mr. Young has held numerous professional positions in national, academic, research and public libraries, and has extensive government and industry experience. Before he became the NAL Director, he served as the Acting Chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress (LC), where he managed staff, services and programs for the 2-million-item Asian vernacular language collections. He was the Chief of the Cataloging Distribution Service at LC from 1997 to 2001. Prior to his LC appointments, he served seven years as the Executive Director of the U.S. National Comm! ission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), an independent federal agency advising the President and the Congress regarding library and information services and policies. As Dr. Hwa-wei Lee commented, "He [Peter Young] is the only Chinese American librarian who ever held the highest position at two U.S. national libraries". With his outstanding leadership, Mr. Young has brought many remarkable changes and developments at the agencies and institutions he has served.

Mr. Young is one of the most influential Chinese librarians in the nation and worldwide. His most important contribution to the profession is his wide range of involvement in professional organizations and activities. He has made major contributions to the American Library Association (ALA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), the Library Information Technology Association (LITA), NCLIS, the National Info! rmation Standards Organization (NISO) and the Public Library Association (PLA). A longtime devoted CALA member, Mr. Young served as the 1989-90 CALA President. As a Chinese American, Peter served in the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division in 1969 and was awarded three bronze star medals for meritorious achievement directing a Special Services Library in Cu Chi, Vietnam.

Mr. Young is a scholar as well as a prolific writer. His presentations, speeches and publications cover various topics. He frequently has been invited to speak at programs sponsored by CALA and APALA and by organizers of conferences held in Asia, especially in China. Peter is proud of his Chinese heritage. This is evidenced in the topics of his presentations, which range from digital preservation of ancient Chinese collections to strategic policy directions for China/US library cooperation.

With his leadership role and remarkable accomplishments, Mr. Young has been an exemplary role model for Chinese librarians. The Award Committee echoes what the nominating and supporting letters stated: "[We] cannot think of anyone more deserving of this Award than Peter Young," and selected Peter as the 2003 CALA Distinguished Service Award recipient based on the following reasons:

  • his dedication to CALA, his inspiration to Chinese American librarians, and his continuous effort in advancing Chinese American librarianship;
  • his strong leadership role, management style and mentorship as the Director of two national libraries, and his distinguished contributions at other top positions during his career;
  • his expert level of knowledge and his tireless promotion of diversity, library technology, electronic and digital resources, and other programs and projects;
  • his vision and insightful advice to local, private, state, national and international library and information communities;
  • his distinguished achievements and services to users in the United States and worldwide; and
  • his scholarship and significant contributions to the profession and literature that have benefited for librarians, information scientists and library users in the United States and around the world.

CALA 2003 Awards Committee:
Xiwen Zhang, Chair