Michael Gorman

By: Robert Wringham
March 6, 2014


MICHAEL GORMAN (born 1941) is one of the most influential voices of librarianship in a century. He is the editor of the AACR2 cataloguing rules, used by libraries almost everywhere; wrote an enduring ethics for librarians called The Eight Principles of Librarianship; and was instrumental in ushering into existence what we now call the British Library, arguably the finest library in the world. His entertaining memoir Broken Pieces: a library life hints at a pleasingly Bohemian youth. His witty, humane, visionary books are manifestos for what makes a good library and how the library fits into society; any top-down conversion of a library into a “resource centre,” in Gorman’s view, is a resounding loss for humanity. His Eight Principles are informed by Buddhist wisdom and envision a library system that is truly for all. He prompts us to embrace the spiritual, the domestic and the communal in our actions, especially in a culture increasingly dominated by the corporate and the institutional.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Furry Lewis, Will Eisner, Donald Davidson, Ring Lardner.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).


HiLo Heroes