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June 2010  |  Return to issue home

Distinguished Librarian Henchy Recognized for Excellence

Thai Princess Vudhichalerm Vudhijaya Gilbert, left, Judith Henchy & UW Libraries Dean Betsy Wilson.

Thai Princess Vudhichalerm Vudhijaya Gilbert, left, Judith Henchy and UW Libraries Dean Betsy Wilson.

A nomination for Judith Henchy for the 2009 Distinguished Librarian reads, "Everything about Judith Henchy’s career at UW bespeaks distinction. Through the cumulative efforts of two decades she has become, without a doubt, UW’s most globally interconnected international studies librarian."

Another letter calls out her "generous sharing of her time and energy with faculty, students and colleagues."

Judith Henchy, head, South East Asia Section and special assistant to the dean of University Libraries for International Programs, was selected for the award which recognizes excellence in librarianship, especially as it benefits the academic community through teaching, research, learning and innovative approaches to practice.

In January 2009, Judith was honored at a ceremony of recognition by the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism for services to Vietnamese culture.

A University Libraries colleague provides some background, writing that, “the Libraries recruited Judith Henchy in 1989 to create the position of Southeast Asia librarian and the corresponding research collections from scratch, providing library and research support to UW’s Southeast Asian studies program, which was then just newly established. It takes a uniquely resourceful, dedicated and knowledgeable professional to fill such a challenging, tabula rasa position successfully.

The past 20 years have demonstrated time and again that UW could not have made a better recruitment for the job. Judith has established UW as home to one of the nation’s top Southeast Asian research collections, in that time going from (essentially) zero to now close to 100,000 cataloged items on all relevant subjects and from every country of the region. She has created networks of suppliers on the ground in Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand that provide UW with exceptional value in the form of periodicals, books, gray literature, data sets, films and other essential materials that, when brought together in UW’s first-rate collection, yield far more than the sum of their parts."

Letters came from across the country with more praise, stating, "Judith Henchy has turned the UW Library's Southeast Asia Section into one of the finest collections of vernacular materials from Southeast Asia in the United States,” and, “Dr. Henchy has also been at the forefront of promoting outreach for the UW libraries among students and community groups.”

For a decade Judith was the prime mover, heart and soul of the Southeast Asia Microform (SEAM) Project at the Center for Research Libraries. Largely thanks to Judith’s initiative, onsite negotiations and problem-solving skills, SEAM collaborated with institutions in Vietnam, Indonesia and elsewhere to preserve vast amounts of the published record in those countries and make the material available to U.S. scholars.

Judith provides her fellow international studies librarians with a model of professionalism, service and scholarship that is admirable in its own right, but also helps inspire us to greater achievement. She aspires to make a positive impact in the world.

June 2010  |  Return to issue home

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