You know, I assumed it would be easiest to find photos for recent librarians. This has turned out not to be the case. Strange. (If you have suitably licensed photos — some of these librarians are quite recently deceased and doubtless some of you knew them — I would love a copy.)
Another note: Wikipedia articles on librarians, especially non-Anglophone librarians, are often incomplete or poorly sourced. (In some cases, there are better articles in other-language wikipediae, and the English one calls for qualified translators.) Surely this is something we librarians can do something about. If you know stuff about library history, or just like editing Wikipedia, have a look! The list of librarians and librarians by nationality pages are good starting points.
And now, the bracket:
Henriette Avram (1919-2006, USA)
The “Mother of MARC”; developed the MARC format, advocated for its international adoption, and led Library of Congress automation efforts, overseeing a technical services department of 1,700 employees.
Superpower: Software: she worked as a computer programmer at the NSA before moving into libraries.
E.J. Josey (1924-2009, USA)
Held numerous library professorships and directorships. Authored a 1964 ALA resolution which prompted state library associations to integrate; became the first black member of the Georgia Library Association. Held numerous ALA offices, including President (1984-5). Prolific author on library issues. Recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees.
Superpower: Civil rights.
Charlemae Hill Rollins (1897-1979, USA)
Longtime head of the Chicago Public Library children’s department, known for her storytelling and outreach. Campaigned for children’s and YA books which fairly depicted black characters. Recipient of numerous awards.
Superpower: Literacy: learned to read by borrowing books from the library of her grandmother, a former slave, and by going to the school her parents established when none of the local (segregated) schools would let her attend.
Arnulfo Trejo (1924-2009, Mexico/USA)
One of the first Hispanic librarians in the US. Founding president of REFORMA; active in recruiting Hispanics to librarianship. Founded organizations to provide library education to Hispanics and to sell Spanish-language books.
Superpower: Applied epic poetry. (The idea for REFORMA came from a documentary based on an epic poem.)
Judith Krug (1940-2009, USA)
Held numerous leadership roles in and out of libraryland, including as director of ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom; founder of Banned Books Week and the Freedom to Read Foundation. Fought for privacy and against censorship, the Communications Decency Act, and the Patriot Act.
Superpower: Reading under the covers.
Effie Louise Power (1873-1969, USA)
Influenced children’s librarianship as a librarian, author, speaker, and professor. Created standards for children’s librarianship. Opened the Cleveland Public Library’s first stand-alone children’s room. Proved, contrary to belief at the time, that children do like nonfiction.
Superpower: Literary patronage (of Langston Hughes).
Mildred Batchelder (1901-1998, USA)
Protege of Effie Louise Power and intense advocate of school libraries, where she sought quality facilities, partnerships with public libraries, and racial equality. Supported multicultural literature and non-print collections. The Batchelder Award is named for her.
Superpower: Strong opinions.
Charles Martel (1860-1945, Switzerland/USA)
Led the development of the Library of Congress classification system, based on Cutter’s Expansive Classification (Dewey refused to allow his system to be modified). He later adapted it and the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules to the Vatican’s archives, which he was invited to classify.
Superpower: Conquered Aquitaine and Burgundy; won the Battle of Tours. (…whoops. Wrong Charles Martel.)