Beloved colleague and award-winning expert on the transformative role of school libraries died on March 30, 2022.
Ross J. Todd was born on July 12, 1951, and educated in Australia, where he lived most of his life. He earned his Certificate of Secondary Teaching (History, Geography, French) at Townsville Teachers' College in 1970; his bachelor’s degree in Modern History and Geography at the University of Queensland in 1979; and an Associate Diploma (ATCL) in Speech and Drama at Trinity College of Music in London, England in 1980. He then completed his Graduate Diploma in School Librarianship at Riverina College of Advanced Education, Wagga Wagga, NSW (now Charles Sturt University), where he graduated with Distinction and was awarded the prestigious University Medal for Academic Excellence in 1985. Todd earned his master’s degree in Library Science at the Kuring-Gai College of Advanced Education in 1989, and his Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Science at the University of Technology, Sydney in 1996. His doctoral dissertation analyzed young women's utilization of drug information.
An educator in school library media, information literacy, and librarianship, Todd was deeply committed to information literacy and inquiry-based learning, application of evidence-based practice to the profession of school librarianship, and the promotion of research in the school library field. He wrote that his research had three interrelated foci: understanding how children learn and build new knowledge from information, information utilization for learning, and evidence-based practice for school libraries.
During his long and distinguished career, Todd received over 20 awards and honors, including the School Library Association of New South Wales, John Hirst Award in 1999. This award recognized his excellence in professional leadership as an Association member in support of school libraries in New South Wales.
A prolific scholar, Todd’s publication record spanned 35 years and contributed significantly to both the academy and LIS professions, particularly regarding information literacy and information-seeking behavior, school libraries as pedagogical centers, the impact of school libraries on student learning, and evidence-based practice for information professionals. His more recent work addressed issues of social justice and digital safety. He was a regular contributor to many publications throughout his career, including the Australian Library Journal, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science: Australia, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, Information Research, Knowledge Quest, Library and Information Science Research, Scan, School Libraries Worldwide, School Library Media Research, Synergy, Teacher Librarian, and others.
Todd’s impact was global. Highly regarded internationally as a researcher and educator, he was best known for his deep commitment to information literacy and inquiry-based learning, his application of evidence-based practice to the profession of school librarianship, and the promotion of research in the school library field. His expertise as an academic advisor involved significant collaborations with library and information faculty and Ph.D. students in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and through his work on editorial boards of academic journals and peer-review committees of international conferences and symposia. He was a world-renowned keynote speaker and passionate advocate for the importance of school libraries in supporting teachers’ practice and student achievement.
He was an ongoing board member of the National Forum on Information Literacy and an Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association. He was a Co-Director of the International Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) biannual conference held in Croatia. He was a member of the American Society for Information Science & Technology; the New Jersey Association of School Librarians; the Association for Library and Information Science Education; the International Association of School Librarianship; the American Library Association; the American Association of School Librarians; and the Association of Educational Communications and Technology.
Vale Dr Ross Todd. Friend and colleague, and champion for school libraries. Your humour, passion, and expertise will be sorely missed.