Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fred G. Kilgour, librarian, educator

Frederick G. Kilgour was a distinguished librarian who nearly forty years ago transformed a consortium of Ohio libraries into what is now the largest library cooperative in the world, making the catalogs of thousands of libraries around the globe instantly accessible to far-flung patrons. Mr. Kilgour’s cooperative is known to librarians everywhere simply as O.C.L.C. Based in Dublin, Ohio, the cooperative oversees a vast computerized database that comprises the catalogs of some 10,000 libraries around the world — more than a billion items — available to anyone who walks into a participating library and logs on to a computer terminal. Fred was born on Jan. 6, 1914, in Springfield, Mass. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard in 1935 and afterward held several positions at the Harvard library. In 1967, he was hired by the Ohio College Association to develop O.C.L.C., which pooled the catalogs of fifty-four academic libraries in the state. Introduced in 1971, O.C.L.C. was expanded to libraries outside Ohio in 1977. Mr. Kilgour was O.C.L.C.’s president and executive director from 1967 to 1980. Mr. Kilgour wrote “The Evolution of the Book,” published by Oxford University Press in 1998. Margalit Fox, New York Times

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