Beacher Wiggins of the Library of Congress last week was named recipient of the 2013 Melvil Dewey Medal, an award bestowed by the American Library Association each year in recognition of creative leadership of a high order.


The Dewey Medal jury cited Wiggins, the director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access at the Library, for his “outstanding leadership, deep knowledge and broad experience in librarianship – especially in acquisitions, cataloging and classification.”


“Time and time again, Beacher Wiggins has been positioned to influence and/or lead major fundamental change in the area of bibliographic control – some being very controversial,” jury chairman John A. Moorman said. “His intellect and experience notwithstanding, his effectiveness rests on the immediate and lasting trust that he engenders with those individuals and organizations (including the Library of Congress) that he works with and in.”


Wiggins joined the Library of Congress as a cataloger in 1972 and has served as director for Cataloging since 1995. In 2004, he took on the additional responsibility of managing the Acquisitions Directorate. The Cataloging and Acquisitions directorates merged to become the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate (ABA) in 2008.


In that position, Wiggins led the merger of the acquisitions and cataloging functions at the Library, serves as co-leader of the “BibFrame” – the New Bibliographic Framework Initiative that will replace MARC format – and manages the Library’s overseas offices in Cairo, Islamabad, Jakarta, Nairobi, New Delhi and Rio de Janeiro.


Wiggins also served for 15 years as the Library’s representative in the development of a new cataloging standard, Resource Description & Access (RDA). He co-chaired the committee that conducted tests of the new standard, which was implemented at the Library and other institutions around the globe starting this week.


He also serves as the Library’s permanent representative on the steering committee of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, guiding an international consortium of 806 institutions to mutually agreeable cataloging standards.


I am thrilled, excited, delighted and humbled – all at the same time – to be recognized with the Melvil Dewey Medal,” Wiggins said. “It certainly is gratifying. I have to say that the recognition is very much due to the terrifically supportive staff and colleagues with whom I have worked over the years, both here at the Library and within the library community. I proudly say that I have the best management team in ABA that exists anywhere. And the ABA staff is top notch.”


The Dewey medal, named for librarian and educator Melvil Dewey and established in 1952, is given each year to an individual or group for a creative professional achievement of high order.


The medal is presented by the American Library Association and sponsored by the Online Computer Library Center.


(written by Mark Hartsell, Library of Congress)