School of Information
  Previously School of Library & Information Studies

  Book by Robert Gitler, class of '31.

  Robert Gitler and the Japan Library School:
  An Autobiographical Narrative
  Edited by Michael Buckland. Scarecrow Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8108-3632-7.

  Polish translation of this page by Valeria Aleksandrova: Robert Gitler i Japonia Biblioteka Szkoły: Narracja autobiograficzna.

  The founding of the Japan Library School at Keio University in Tokyo in 1951 was of great significance for the development of librarianship in Japan. It was also a remarkable example of international collaboration, initially funded by the U.S. Army Office for Occupied Areas through a contract with the American Library Association, and subsequently supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.
    Keio University, in Tokyo, was selected as the very best location for the School both because of its strong interest in having such a program and because of the strong interest in Western knowledge inspired by its remarkable founder, Yukichi Fukuzawa. The Japan Library Association provided strong support. The School, now named the School of Library and Information Science, was an immediate success and has had a lasting impact.
    The American library educator selected to be the Founding Director, Dr. Robert L. Gitler, explains how he came to accept this assignment, how he approached it, the other people involved, and what happened. He was especially concerned that, in spite of strong American influences, it become a genuinely Japanese school, not an American library school in Japan.
    The account of the founding and early years of the Japan Library School is the centerpiece of Robert Gitler's volume of autobiographical reminiscences. He also describes his early life in Oakland, California, his university education at Berkeley, his professional education at Berkeley's School of Librarianship and at Columbia, and his career as a librarian, initially it San Jose State University, CA.
    During World War II, he served in the Navy and where he trained the first contingents of African Americans accepted into regular service as sailors. After the war, he became a library educator, eventually serving as director of four different schools of librarianship (the University of Washington, Keio, Geneseo, and Peabody), as well as Secretary of the American Library Association's Board of Education for Librarianship. He retired as the University Librarian of the University of San Francisco. He died Oct 8, 2004, aged 95.
    His reminiscences were recorded in an oral history project partially funded by a grant to the School by the Council on Library and Information Resources, Inc., Washington, DC, and then edited into an assisted autobiography. To order a copy call Rowman & Littlefield at 1 800 462 6420 ext 3024 or go to
    *New* For additional material see Ideology and libraries: California, Diplomacy and Occupied Japan, 1945-1952 by M. Buckland with Masaya Takayama (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020) available from For 30% discount try code RLFANDF30. Japanese edition 2021 Ideorogie to toshokan. Jusonbo, 2021. ISBN978-4-88367-354-4.
    Jean Boucher, who founded the library for the new school, has published her memoires about it: "A Time Long Ago in Tokyo (1951-1952) - A Librarian Remembers." Interface [SLA Pacific Northwest Chapter]. 37, no 2 (Winter 2003). pdf. Text. Pending repair by SLA the following broken links can be found by pasting them in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine service at
- (Short version with photos) and
- (Longer version without photos).
Go to History page or to Michael Buckland's Home Page.