James Fish


School of Library and Information Science Distinguished Alumni Award (2006)
Indiana University Bloomington
M.L.S. 1971


James Fish, MLS '71, is the recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award. Fish, He is the director of the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) in Baltimore, MD.

Fish was the driving force behind several innovative programs at the BCPL, including the use of radio frequency identification technology (RFID) for enhanced circulation services, the creation of the 24/7 virtual reference Ask Us Now! for Maryland libraries, the establishment of the reading readiness program Baby Boosters, and the development of the BCPL's Summer Reading Club into a statewide program. BCPL consistently ranks high in the Hennen's American Public Library Rankings. Fish also was the president of the Maryland Library Association for the year of 2009-2010, and was appointed to the chair of the Maryland Advisory Council on Libraries by Governor Martin O'Malley.

Recently, Fish received the 2006 SirsiDynix – ALA-APA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Promoting Salaries and Status for Library Workers. The ALA-APA announcement noted his "relentless education of the Board of Library Trustees and County Executives," which resulted in a new pay program at BCPL. All BCPL staff received a 7.34% pay adjustment and a 5% increase in merit steps. In addition, the base pay for all librarians was increased by 13.4%.

Prior to Baltimore County Public Library, Fish served as the City Librarian of the San Jose, California Public Library system from 1990 to 1996. He also worked as library director at several public libraries in Massachusetts, including Levi Heywood Memorial Library in Gardner, Leominster Public Library, the Robbins Library in Arlington, and Springfield City Library. From 1980 to 1982, he served as State Librarian for the Massachusetts State Library.
Fish received a BA degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1968 and MBA from Anna Maria College in 1980.