UW News

November 6, 2000

Betsy Wilson selected as director of University Libraries

News and Information

Lizabeth A. Wilson, associate director of libraries at the University of Washington since 1992, has been chosen to succeed Betty Bengtson as director of university libraries, effective Jan. 1, 2001. The appointment will be presented to the UW Board of Regents for approval at its Nov. 17 meeting.

“We conducted a comprehensive nationwide search for this very important position-the heart of our university–and were pleased to find that the very best individual for this position was Betsy Wilson,” said UW President Richard L. McCormick. “Betsy has a history of impressive accomplishments wherever she has been and has shown tremendous innovation, creativity and leadership in her time here both within the library community and across the campus.”

“I am honored to have been selected to lead the University of Washington Libraries into the 21st century,” Wilson said. “Education and research in this century will demand a complex, integrated, and increasingly flexible library. As the next director of the libraries, I am excited about shaping the library of the future for the university of the future.”

Wilson, as associate director for research and instructional services, has been in charge of service units at Suzzallo and Allen libraries, 13 branch libraries, and the Odegaard Undergraduate Library. She also has led the development of a number of creative and innovative services. She was one of the creators of the award-wining UWired project, a collaboration that has helped educators and students incorporate technology and information literacy into teaching and learning. She also has spearheaded development of information literacy programs for students and has helped the library develop procedures for assessing its success at serving the needs of diverse clients. She led the Web initiative at the Libraries which resulted in the creation of the Information Gateway.

In addition to her position at the UW, Wilson has served since 1988 as executive director of the Cicognara Library Program, an international collaboration of the University of Illinois, the Vatican Library and the Samuel Kress Foundation. The program promotes the study of literary sources in the history of art through the provision of the Vatican’s Cicognara Library on microfiche to libraries worldwide and through publication of a critical annotated catalog.

Wilson has published widely on information literacy; teaching, learning and technology; educational collaborations; and assessment and evaluation of library services. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of OCLC, Inc., a nonprofit membership organization serving 35,000 libraries and knowledge institutions worldwide. She is current president of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which represents 16,000 academic librarians. She has held numerous leadership positions in the American Library Association.

Wilson received a B.A. from Northwestern University in 1977 and an M.S. in library science from the University of Illinois in 1978. From 1979 to 1980, she was assistant architecture and art librarian at the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art at the University of Illinois. She was assistant undergraduate librarian at the University of Illinois from 1980 to 1986, and assistant director of libraries for undergraduate and instructional services at Illinois from 1986 to 1992.

The University Libraries ranks among the largest academic libraries in the United States with collections of more than 6 million volumes. The Libraries also leads in the implementation of online systems and the use of electronic information.