Derek Fielding

Derek Fielding MA ALA FLAA

  • ALIA Fellowship 1970
  • HCL Anderson Award 1991

Link to Derek Fielding special issue of Australian Academic and Research Libraries - vol 31, issue 3, 2000.

Fellowship conferred 1970

Fred Derek Osmond Fielding was educated in Ireland, securing his Master of Arts degree from Trinity College, Dublin. He was elected to the register of the Library Association in 1951 and held a series of positions in the Sheffield City Libraries prior to taking up appointment as deputy librarian, University of Auckland in 1958.

In 1960 Mr Fielding re-emigrated to Western Australia, again to the position of deputy university librarian and, in 1965, moved to his present position of librarian, University of Queensland.

Australian librarianship owes much to Britain and a surprising amount to Britain by way of New Zealand. Mr Fielding exemplifies the good sense and the capacity for hard work that Australia has learned to expect of those who come to it after this two-stage peregrination.

Since going to Queensland Mr Fielding's energy and persuasiveness have lifted his library to second place by size among the Australian University libraries, a remarkable feat in view of the somewhat discouraging record of the University concerned, in earlier days, in relation to its library.

The Board would not regard a good, or even perhaps an outstanding, performance by a librarian of his duties as by itself grounds for recommending the Association's highest distinction. It has been impressed, however, in Mr Fielding's case, by the additional evidence that can be adduced of his quality as a librarian.

Firstly, in relation to developments in his particular specialty, Mr Fielding has displayed a flexibility of mind and a determination not to be hampered either by tradition or by the apparent size of problems. As an example, he has developed a most interesting program for computer involvement in the re-classification of his library's half a million volumes from Dewey to Library of Congress.

Mr Fielding has shown a keen interest in library administration and his Administrative Organisations of Australian University Libraries, while largely a compilation of material supplied by others, nevertheless occupies a unique place in the continuing record of Australian libraries in action.

In articles in the Australian Library Journal, in a range of reviews, and in papers published in the records of the Association's conferences, Mr Fielding's breadth of interests as well as his knowledge and vigour of expression are well demonstrated.

Second, in the affairs of the Association itself, Mr Fielding has come increasingly to the fore. He has been president of the Queensland Branch on two occasions and has represented the Branch on General Council since 1968. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Freedom to Read. He was a member of the Association's Committee on the Teaching of Librarianship and was chairman of the committee which organised the highly-successful Brisbane Conference in 1967.

Mr Fielding is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Australian Advisory Council on Bibliographical Services and has been chairman of the Automation Committee set up by that body.

Third, with reference to the development of libraries and librarianship in Queensland, the Board has been made aware that Mr Fielding's contribution has been highly significant. In this State where, for a variety of reasons, there has been a continuing, urgent need for promotion work in the broadest sense, Mr Fielding has demonstrated determined leadership in an area only marginally related to his specialty. In public testimony, in direct negotiation with Government, and in the unremitting exercise of pressure on the responsible authorities, Mr Fielding has carried out a difficult and at time invidious task with determination and skill.

The Board of Examiners commends Fred Derek Osmond Fielding, Master of Arts, Association of the Library Association, Associate of the Library Association of Australia, to Council as an outstanding university librarian whose work in a variety of fields for the Association, for its objects, and for the improvement of his specialism constitutes a distinguished contribution to the practice of librarianship in Australia.

The Board recommends that Council invite Mr Fielding to accept the distinction of Fellow of the Library Association of Australia.


HCL Anderson Award 1991

Citation: Fred Derek Osmond Fielding, MA, ALA, FLAA.  inCite vol. 12, no. 12, 12 August 1991, p.5

Fred Derek Osmond Fielding has made a major contribution to Australian librarianship since he came to the country in 1960. He took up the appointment of Deputy University Librarian in the University of Western Australia in 1960, and was appointed James Forsyth Librarian in the University of Queensland in 1965. He has filled that position with distinction for 26 years, during which the University Library has made major advances in terms of collections, buildings and services. He has been an outstanding leader to his staff in the University Library, and also quite remarkable in the consistency of all of his communications to his senior staff and his academic and administrative colleagues

The Association and the profession gain when senior practitioners play wider and distinguished roles in their working environments, and Derek Fielding has undoubtedly done this in the University of Queensland throughout his employment. His high standing is demonstrated by his Presidency of the University of Queensland Staff Association in 1970-72 and elected membership of the Senate of the University of Queensland from 1972-1983. He also chaired the Committee appointed by the new Vice-Chancellor to review the academic structure of the University in 1980. Derek Fielding has also played a significant role as a citizen in wider Queensland affairs, and in particular as President of the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties from 1975-79.

He has also given distinguished service throughout his career in Australia to the Australian Library and Information Association, of which he was elected a Fellow in I 970. He was President of the Queensland Branch of the Association in I 968-70 and 1983-84, and sat on the General Council on several occasions. He was Chairperson of the Brisbane Biennial Conference Committee in 1967, and of the 1984 joint LAA/NZLA Conference Committee in Brisbane. His overall contribution to the development of libraries and librarianship in Queensland has also been highly significant for the last 26 years. He has displayed a deep and continued interest in the development of the profession in areas outside his speciality, and has been a key figure in the unremitting exercise of pressure on Queensland Governments throughout those years.

Mr Fielding has also made an outstanding contribution to the work of the Australian Advisory Council on Bibliographical Services (AACOBS), and the establishment of its successor the Australian Council of Library and information Services (ACLIS). This included a distinguished and hard-working period as a member of the AACOBS Standing Committee in 1968-72 and from 1976 until the abolition of AACOBS in 1988. He was the last Chairman of the Standing Committee from 1984-88, and played a key role as a member of the steering committee which negotiated the abolition of AACOBS and the Australian Libraries and Information Council (ALIC) and the transfer of their responsibilities to ACLIS. He then served as its first Interim President in 1988 and as a member of its National Council from 1988-90.

Derek Fielding has also given distinguished service to Australian librarianship in broader professional spheres. Examples include his membership of the Scientific and Technological Information Services Enquiry Committee (the STISEC Report) which was established by the Council of the National Library of Australia from 1971-73 to investigate the national need for more effective scientific and technological information services in Australia. He subsequently was one of the major players in the professional debate over the need for a Australian National Information Policy, and was heavily involved in the writing of nearly all the profession's policy statements on this issue over the next decade. He was also one of the key figures in the national debate over freedom of information issues through the 1970s, and has represented the profession expertly throughout the 1980s on copyright matters. Since 1981 he has served on various committees on copyright established by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department and the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee, and has been an appointed member of the Commonwealth Government's Copyright Law Review Committee since 1983. A feature of his involvement in copyright has been his regular and lucid reports to the profession on new developments through inCite and other professional avenues. His other extensive writings reflect his professional concerns, and are in the main about library administration, library buildings, and censorship issues.

Derek Fielding has made a long and distinguished contribution to libraries and librarianship in Australia and to the Australian Library and Information Association. He has given many years of sustained professional leadership to his colleagues in Queensland and of commitment to his profession in Australia. The General Council of the Association considers Derek Fielding to be a most worthy recipient of its highest award, the HCL Anderson Award.