• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Buried in cloud files? We can help with Spring cleaning!

    Whether you use Dropbox, Drive, G-Suite, OneDrive, Gmail, Slack, Notion, or all of the above, Dokkio will organize your files for you. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free today.

  • Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) was #2 on Product Hunt! Check out what people are saying by clicking here.


David Maxfield

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 7 months ago

“A library is no better than what it is able to do for its users.”

(Maxfield, 1954, p. 1)


Biographical Information


      David Kempton Maxfield was born May 12, 1913 in Waterville, Maine and passed away June 6, 2001 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His wife, Grace (Kline), was also a librarian. After obtaining his BS degree in Library Science from Columbia University in 1937, he worked as an Assistant Journalism Librarian at the university. He started a Masters program for Library Science at Columbia University in 1939, but did not obtain his degree until 1946. Also in 1939, he took on the position of Assistant Librarian at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York and became Librarian-in-charge in 1943. In the midst of World War II, he joined the Navy as a Pharmacists' mate, serving from 1944 to 1946.

      Upon his return, he became Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Science for the Chicago Undergraduate Division at the University of Illinois. It was during this time that the university adopted the notion of Counselor Librarianship, of which he wrote. This is discussed in more detail under the heading Contributions to Library Field. In 1952, he achieved Associate Professorship.

      Moving to Michigan, he took a position as Assistant to the Director of Libraries at the University of Michigan in 1956. He then became head of the Medical Center Library at the university in 1959, where he remained until his retirement in 1977.


Professional Membership


American Library Association, Association of College and Reference Libraries, New York Library Club, Chicago Library Club, Special Library Association, American Association of University Professors, Biographical Society of America


Contributions to Library Field


      Counselor Librarianship is the combination of counseling from the psychological field and reference librarianship. It is the act of reference librarians seeing users as individuals with unique “interests, goals, problems, backgrounds and abilities” (Maxfield, 1954, p. 165) and collaborating with the user to find the needed information. Thus it is more than mere advice and pointing to information sources, but encouraging the user to think through problems and solve them for himself/herself: to become independent.

      Maxfield wrote about its origin, implementation, and outcomes at the University of Illinois, Undergraduate Division in “Counselor Librarianship: A New Departure” (1954). Though there were similar approaches in other libraries, they may have had other names or focuses. This paper only reflects what occurred at the University of Illinois. The idea arose from educational goals to stimulate the students’ curiosity, become responsible citizens, and develop values and standards, as well as the student personnel movement, meant to inspire students to participate in their intellectual and personal growth. As Library Instruction (classes in how to use the library) and the current reference approach were not very effective, another process was sought to help the students.

      Counselor Librarianship began in 1951 when the University of Illinois changed the name of the Reference Department to the Department of Library Instruction and Advisement. The University wanted librarians that were enthusiastic in the development of students, had outgoing personalities, knowledge of books, previous reference experience, and were able to teach. The Reference Desk became the Advisory Information Desk. There, Counselor Librarians answered reference, library use, and readers' advisory questions, and served as trained counselors.

      Because of implementation there was an increase in the circulation of books and use of materials in the reading room, and an increase in reference questions asked, though mostly they were on a more advanced level. Thus the new method seemed to be successful, as students and faculty gave a positive response to the proceedings and its implications for other types of libraries were beginning to formulate.

Other Publications


  • Editor “ACRL Monographs” 1952-1956.
  • Library Punched Card Procedures. “Library Journal”. June 15, 1946.
  • Watson: Medical Author. “Bulletin of the Medical Library Association”. July 1975.
  • Associate Editor “Greater Chicago Library Directory” 1954.



1) Ash, Lee (Ed.). (1970). A Biographical Directory of Librarians in the United States and Canada, Fifth Edition. Chicago: American Library Association.


2) Cole, Dorothy E. (Ed.). (1955). Who’s Who in Library Service, Third Edition. New York: Grolier Society.


3) Lee, Joel M. (Ed.). (1982). Who’s Who in Library and Information Service. Chicago: American Library Association.


4) Lynden, Frederick C. (Ed.). (2002). Advances in Librarianship v. 26. San Diego: Elsevier Science, 187.


5) Maxfield, David K. (1954). Counselor Librarianship: A New Departure. Occasional Papers, No. 38, entire issue.


6) Maxfield, David K. (1954). Counselor Librarianship at U.I.C. College and Research Libraries 15, 161-166, 179.


7) Social Security Death Index Search Results. Retrieved November 08, 2006 from http://ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi?&ls=mi&lc=WASHTENAW&stat=a&start=14701 [entry 736, 5 names down]


8) Williamson, C.C. & Jewett, Alice L. (Eds.). (1943). Who’s Who in Library and Information Services, Second Edition. New York: H.W. Wilson Co.


Laura R. Gonzales

Completed 11/22/06

Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 1:17 pm on Nov 20, 2006

good start.
I would make the information more readable, but writing more text.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.