UW News

February 8, 2007

Wilson honored by research library group

Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson, dean of University Libraries, is the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Academic/Research Librarian of the Year.

The award, sponsored by YBP Library Services, recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development.

Wilson will receive a $5,000 award on Friday, March 29, during the ACRL national conference.

“Betsy has been recognized as a pioneer and leader throughout her career, particularly in the areas of information literacy, assessment and collaboration,” said award committee chair Mark Winston, associate professor, School of Information and Library Science, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “Under her leadership, the University of Washington Libraries received the 2004 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.

“In this regard, one nominator wrote, ‘Betsy envisioned and built a model assessment program, created strong collaboration with faculty in the classroom on information literacy and alliances with IT to produce the UWired service, and provided leadership and inspiration for the development of other outstanding and nationally known programs.'”

“I was thrilled — no, make that flabbergasted — when ACRL President Pam Snelson told me about the award,” said Wilson. “I can think of no greater honor than to first be nominated by wonderful colleagues and then recognized by ACRL, an organization that has meant so much to me throughout my career. To join the list of esteemed past awardees is indeed humbling.”

Wilson has a distinguished record of service to the profession. She served as ACRL president in 2000-2001, helped establish the ACRL Institute for Information Literacy, and chaired the ACRL Instruction Section. She also served as a Member-at-Large on the ALA Council from 1991 to 1995.

Wilson currently chairs the ACRL National Conference Committee, which is planning the next conference to be held in Seattle in 2009. She recently finished a term on the Association of Research Libraries Board and currently serves on the Digital Library Federation Executive Committee.

Wilson’s numerous articles and presentations represent a significant contribution to the profession. Many, however, believe her mentorship of emerging leaders is her greatest educational legacy.

Nominators also recognized Wilson’s commitment to collaboration and partnership, noting, “She was instrumental in the merger of Orbis and Cascade, two groups that operated separately in Oregon and Washington to create the regional consortium of the Orbis Cascade Alliance in 2003.”

They also mentioned that in 2005, she formed the Digital Futures Alliance with partners in Microsoft, Vulcan, Real Networks, and others to address the common problem of the long-term preservation of digital assets held in library collections and industry archives.

Wilson received her BA with high honors in Art History and German from Northwestern University in 1977. She earned her M.S. with honors in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1978.