Submitted by Carol Desch, Coordinator of Statewide Library Services, New York State Library

Joseph F. Shubert, 1985 ASCLA Exceptional Achievement Award winner for “distinguished service in strengthening the role of the state library on the national level” and New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries from 1977 to 1996, died November 24, 2010 in Plano, Texas. There was a memorial service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, New York on March 12, 2011.

Shubert began his professional career as reference and documents librarian at the Nevada State Library in 1951, and served as State Librarian of Nevada, Ohio and New York State.  From 1962 to early 1966, he was Assistant Director of the American Library Association International Relations Office. Visit for more information on Shubert’s distinguished career and his numerous contributions to the profession as a State Librarian and a distinguished national library leader.  

Shubert was active in ALA and in ASCLA throughout his career and was also one of the three founders of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) in 1973.  He chaired the ALA Legislation Committee and was instrumental in advancing improvements in federal funding for the nation’s libraries.

In addition to receiving the ASCLA Exceptional Achievement Award in 1985, Mr. Shubert received distinguished alumnus awards from the University of Denver (1979), the SUNY College at Geneseo (1985), and the Distinguished Public Service award and medal from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the University at Albany (1987). In 1991, the Ohio Library Association designated him for the Ohio Library Hall of Fame.  In 1996, he received both the New York Library Association’s Distinguished Service to Libraries Award and the New York State Association of Library Boards’ Velma K. Moore Award.

On the occasion of his 1996 retirement, The New York State Board of Regents named him State Librarian Emeritus and adopted a resolution at their meeting expressing thanks for “distinguished leadership in library and information services for all New Yorkers.”

Those interested in honoring Mr. Shubert’s memory are invited to make a donation to the Friends of the New York State Library in support of the Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award .  Please send donations to the Friends of the New York State Library, P.O. Box 2247 Empire State Plaza Station, Albany, NY 12220 or to give online visit  Please identify that the donation is in support of the Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award. The Friends of the New York State Library is a private nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible.