David Jones

Dr David J Jones MA(Oxon) Dip Lib PhD(UNSW) FALIA

Fellowship conferred 2003

David John Jones, MA [Oxon], Dip Lib, PhD [UNSW], AALIA is a most-worthy candidate for the award of Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association. He became an Associate member of the Library Association of Australia in 1974, and in 1985 received its inaugural Letter of Recognition. In 1994 he was awarded a doctorate by the University of New South Wales for his thesis WH Ifould and the development of library services in New South Wales 1912-1942.

He was born in Cornwall in 1946. By the end of 1970 he was an attendant in the General Reference Library at the State Library of New South Wales and shortly thereafter, he was enrolled at the School of Librarianship at the University of NSW where he completed his Graduate Diploma in Librarianship. By 1974 he had joined his true alma mater, the Library Association of Australia, a body which for over thirty years he has served with zeal and affection.

He rose steadily in the service of the State Library of New South Wales and by 1978 he was heading the Mitchell Library Reference and Research sections, followed by five years as deputy reference librarian in the General Reference Library. In March 1983 David's career reached a major and unexpected fork in the road, when he became the co-ordinator of an extremely complex task, the State Library of New South Wales New Building and Refurbishing Project. This was an immense undertaking, which called on his deep reserves of diplomacy and sharpened his emergent management skills. Upon completion, he had found his special niche in the profession and entered on his career as library building consultant and manager of the Building and Planning Advisory Service for the State Library. In this capacity, David has been called upon to advise on the planning and construction of library buildings in Australia and South-East Asia, and over the last two decades there is hardly a new or refurbished public library building in Australia which does not bear his mark.

David Jones' service to the Association and his profession has been extraordinary: he has served on the Editorial Board of the Australian Library Journal, has been an external university examiner, served on the Association's Publications Board as both member and chairman, and has been a member of its Board of Education. He was a member of IFLA's Standing Committee Section on Library Buildings and Equipment and was Visiting Specialist, School of Architecture, University of New South Wales, in June 1991. He has been editor of LASIE: Library Automated Systems Information Exchange and convener, Australian Library and Information Association Library Buildings and Equipment Special Interest Group. He has presented papers at IFLA and ALIA conferences, and has been active in the Library History Forums; he also presented papers to the Ninth Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, Bangkok, 1993, the Asia-Pacific Library Conference, Brisbane, May/June 1995 and the 11th International Seminar on Library Buildings, Shanghai in 1999: Australian librarianship is better-known and understood by neighbours to our north as a result of his labours.

He has also been a prolific author of both monographs and journal articles, beginning with the first edition of The Australian dictionary of acronyms and abbreviations in 1977, and now in its fifth edition, with the sixth germinating. He produced volume 1 of The Australian librarian's manual in 1982, volume 2 a year later, and volume 3 was published in 1985. His A source of inspiration and delight: the buildings of the State Library of New South Wales since 1826emerged in 1988 and The Source Book: reviews of reference material for Australian libraries and information services in the same year. In 1990 his Planning and design of public library buildings was published. His reviews, articles and papers to conferences are simply too numerous to be listed here, but it is safe to say that in his own right David is the author of a small and considerable library of professional documents.

His doctoral thesis is more than informative. It is, actually and rarely for so monumental a work, readable. He has recently completed, but not yet published, a history of the precursor to the Library Association of Australia, called Uniting a profession: the Australian Institute of Librarians, 1937-1949 a work initiated by his admirer, the late Professor Jean Whyte.

Every profession needs its chroniclers: David Jones is a chronicler extraordinaire. Future historians and commentators will find a rich source in his publications and it is safe to predict that they and he, in time, will be the subject of close study by future generations of researchers. They will marvel, as we do today, at the energy, output and diversity of this genuine prodigy. What they may not be able to perceive, at that remove, is the nature of the man himself. He is erudite, in the true sense of that word, his vocabulary and reading is rich beyond measure. Puckish, as in the sense of wry, humorous, but never to be underestimated, nor taken lightly. Engaging: it is not possible to ignore him, and in debate, unusual to get the better of him. Scholarly, but not pedantic, he has a rich, ripe and Rabelaisian sense of humour, which may be genetic, for his children also have it in good measure, as does his wife, partner and mainstay, Mary. He is - to the core - a true librarian, believing passionately in the power of print, and possibly one of the most committed members the professional association has ever had.

David John Jones has made an absolutely extraordinary contribution to the objectives and goals of his professional association and to the development of librarianship as a fully academic discipline. He is an outstanding candidate for the award of Fellowship of the Australian Library and Information Association.

HCL Anderson Award citation 2017

Dr David Jones has made a great contribution to the State Library of New South Wales, to the library and information profession and to libraries in general during his career. 

He was born in Cornwall in 1946. He became an Associate member of the Library Association of Australia in 1974, and in 1985 received its inaugural Letter of Recognition. In 1994 he was awarded a doctorate by the University of New South Wales for his thesis WH Ifould and the development of library services in New South Wales 1912–1942.

David commenced at the State Library of NSW in 1970, and progressed relatively quickly to lead the Mitchell Library Reference and Research sections, followed by five years as deputy Reference Librarian in the General Reference Library.

In 1983, David became the coordinator of an extremely complex task — the State Library of New South Wales New Building and Refurbishing Project — an immense undertaking. 

​Once this project was completed in 1988, David had found his special niche​.  In1989 he settled into his ‘new’ career as library building consultant and manager when he established the State Library Building and Planning Advisory Service. Over the next 19 years, David worked on over 250 library building projects in NSW, across Australia and in South-East Asia and there is hardly a new or refurbished public library building in Australia which does not bear his mark.

David’s influence on the development of public library infrastructure, especially in NSW, has been enormous.  His expertise, dedication and professionalism meant that David was widely admired and respected throughout local government public library circles, and beyond.

He was responsible for the development of the first NSW public library building guidelines in 1990 (and second edition 1995) which made a major contribution to the functional design of NSW public libraries during that decade.  David also had oversight of the replacement building guidelines — People Places which was issued in 2000 and revised in 2005. Many of David's innovations (including model library design briefs) live on in the most recent 2012 edition.

People Places has had a major impact on public library building development in NSW, Australia and internationally and in 2001 was awarded a Commendation for Excellence in Planning by the Royal Australian Planning Institute.

David is also known for his knowledge of library history. David's book about the State Library of NSW (A Source of Inspiration and Delight) is the definitive text on the institution. His books, The Australian Librarian’s Manual Vol 1–3, 1985, and The Australian dictionary of acronyms and abbreviations, 1977, are used extensively.

David is remembered at the State Library as a willing mentor, generous in sharing his knowledge and passing on his expertise to the following generations of library staff.

His contributions to ALIA include being on the Editorial Board of the Australian Library Journal, as a member of the Board of Education; as Chair of the Publications Board; and especially as author, with Jean Whyte, of the history of the Australian Institute of Librarians 1937-1949, Uniting a Profession.

David Jones has made a substantial contribution to the goals of the Association and to the development of librarianship as a fully academic discipline. Dr David J Jones is a very worthy recipient of the distinction of the HCL Anderson Award.