School of Information
Previously School of Library & Information Studies
Book by Robert Gitler, class of '31.
Robert Gitler and the Japan Library School:
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
of great significance for the development of librarianship
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
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
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
funded by a grant to the School by the Council on Library and Information
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 https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538143148. For 30% discount try code RLFANDF30.
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 http://archive.org/web/:
(Short version with photos) and
- http://www.sla.org/chapter/cpnw/interface/pastinterfaceissues/2003_winter/musingslong.htm (Longer
version without photos).
or to Michael Buckland's