JOHN BYRUM

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BYRUM JOHN DONALD BYRUM John Donald Byrum died on Friday, January 12, 2018. Mr. Byrum was born in 1940 to "Jack" and Helen Byrum, long-time residents of Wenatchee, Washington, where he was raised. A quiet and thoughtful man, he was known for his ability to lead people to action and for loyalty, both given and received. Those who reported to him readily acknowledged and expressed appreciation for his mentoring and for challenging them to excel in ways they had not imagined. As a high school student, Mr. Byrum won several debate and oration competitions at the state level and was elected treasurer of the National (Junior) Classical Languages League. He received the Emblem Club National Scholarship in 1958 and did so well in his studies that he was selected to deliver his high school class commencement address. Mr. Byrum graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University in 1962 and received a master's degree from the Graduate School of Library Service, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey in 1966. He began his library career as a cataloger at Princeton University Library, where he was promoted to head cataloger in 1968. In 1976, he joined the Library of Congress where he served as a chief of various divisions, while overseeing several international cooperative cataloging efforts. As a forceful manager during his tenure at LC, he made an indelible mark on the Library's bibliographic control operations that had national and international impact. He retired in 2006. Active in both national and international professional associations, Mr. Byrum was a substantial contributor to the theory of bibliographic control, for which he gained national and international renown. While at Princeton and later at the Library of Congress, he was the representative of the American Library Association (ALA) to the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules) and chair of the ALA Resources and Technical Services Division Catalog Code Revision Committee. He was a founding member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, which resulted in the publication, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. As chair of IFLA's International Standard for Bibliographic Description (ISBD) Review Group, Mr. Byrum led the continuing revision and maintenance of the family of ISBDs for the full range of materials in library collections. Additionally, Mr. Byrum published and spoke widely on topics related to bibliographic control. Mr. Byrum received many honors for his contributions to librarianship. In 1975, he was awarded the ALA Esther J. Piercy Award, given to an outstanding librarian with not more than ten years of professional experience. He received the ALA Margaret Mann Citation for outstanding professional achievement in cataloging in 1998. For his work both nationally and internationally, he received ALA's prestigious Melvil Dewey Medal and Citation in 2006 for creative professional achievement in library management, training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship. He is a member of Beta Phi Mu. While in "retirement," Mr. Byrum continued his love of learning by auditing courses at George Mason University and contributed to his local community through volunteer service to nursing homes and animal shelters. Mr. Byrum is survived by his 43-year partner, Billy Rivera, to whom he was married on October 20, 2017, and will be grieved by the many whose lives he touched. Services were previously held.
Published in The Washington Post from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20, 2018
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