SILS Alumna Miriam Intrator Receives Dain Award for Dissertation Focused on Libraries in Post-WWII Europe

May 14, 2015

Miriam Intrator (MSLS '03), alumna of the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received the 2015 Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award from the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA). The award will be formally presented at the Library History Round Table Research Forum on June 28 during the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Named in honor of Phyllis Dain, a library historian widely known as a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar and a thinker, the award is presented every two years for an outstanding dissertation in English that embodies original research on a significant topic relating to the history of libraries.

Intrator, who earned her doctorate in modern European history at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, received the Dain Award for her dissertation: “Books Across Borders and Between Libraries: UNESCO and the Politics of Postwar Cultural Reconstruction, 1945-1951.”

The dissertation focuses on the response of UNESCO’s Library Section, in cooperation with other international, national and Jewish organizations, to the cultural and intellectual destruction suffered in Europe during WWII and their plans for postwar reconstruction regarding books, libraries, and archives. The dissertation offers original insights into the recovery of cultural life in postwar and post-Holocaust Europe and highlights the individuals who formulated the argument for access to books and libraries, to knowledge and culture, as a fundamental human right within the context of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Dain Award committee praised the depth of Intrator’s research using numerous primary resources from a wide variety of archives and libraries. The committee members were impressed by her analysis of the complexities of Cold War politics and their impact on restoring, preserving and making accessible the cultural records of the public and personal libraries and archives in Europe. According to the committee, the dissertation illuminates the under researched history of international cooperation and conflict in the years after WWII and will receive broad, multidisciplinary interest.

Intrator is currently Special Collections Librarian at the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections in Alden Library at Ohio University, where she is responsible for curating the rare book collection and the documentary photo archive.

Photo by Lauren Pond, Ohio University. Miriam Intrator discusses historic mathematics texts with an Ohio University student at Alden Library on April 18, 2014.