Phipps named Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

Contact: Mary Jane Petrowski


For Immediate Release

March 2002

Phipps named Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

Shelley E. Phipps, assistant dean for team and organization development at the University of Arizona Library in Tucson, Ariz., is the 2002 (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.

In nominating Phipps, her colleagues felt she exemplified the ethos of the profession in her vibrant commitment to working with front-line librarians, her thoughtful development of concrete solutions to significant workplace concerns and her generous expenditure of time and energy.

In announcing their selection, the award committee commended Phipps' visionary leadership, noting, "Shelley was one of the first to signal a need to transform our libraries to become organizations that will meet the challenges of the 21st century. She has facilitated significant change at the University of Arizona Library and in numerous other libraries when she has served as a consultant. Shelley's commitment to teaching and mentoring has created an enduring legacy that will continue to touch and influence the development of academic librarianship for years to come. Most importantly, her accomplishments demonstrate that an academic librarian can be a visionary and influential leader without holding the director's position."

"I was really surprised when Mary Reichel called to congratulate me," said Phipps. "I view this as an award for teamwork, for being willing to be involved, for sharing what I am learning, and for assuming shared leadership for the development of libraries, librarians and the library profession. I just love being an academic research librarian, so adding "of the year" is just a particular pleasure I hope to enjoy personally, and with all of my many mentors and colleagues, over the coming months."

Professionally active, Phipps' has held key national leadership positions, serving on the ACRL Board of Directors from 1990-1994, chairing both the ACRL University Libraries Section in 1985, and the ACRL Bibliographic Instruction Section in 1981. The State of Arizona awarded Phipps the Governor's Award for Excellence in 1996. In 1977 she was selected as a Council of Library Resources academic library management intern, serving in the Duke University Perkins Library. Most recently, she contributed her leadership skills to the ACRL Board planning process by facilitating the development of the 2005 ACRL Strategic Plan.

A 1981 graduate of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Consultant Training Program, Phipps is a highly regarded organizational development consultant. As an ARL faculty member, her work with the Library Management Skills Institutes, the Leadership and Career Development Program, and the New Measures Program, has contributed directly to the professional development of hundreds of academic librarians. Phipps also played a critical role in the transformation of the service model at the University of Arizona.

Phipps' publications reflect her pioneering work in the area of organizational change and leadership. Her writing has raised awareness of library issues among college and university administrators and given improved stature to academic librarians nationwide. Recent publications include "Beyond Measuring Service Quality: Learning from the Voices of the Customers, the Staff, the Processes, and the Organization,"
(Library Trends, Spring 2000); "The Five Disciplines: Learning Organizations and Technological Change," (
in Information Imagineering: Meeting at the Interface, 1998); and "Transforming Libraries into Learning Organizations: The Challenge for Leadership," (
in Catalysts for Change: Managing Libraries in the 1990s, 1993), which has become a touchstone for those who want to learn how to transform their libraries.

Phipps received her B.A. in English literature from Regis College and earned her M.L.S. from the University of Arizona. Her career at the University of Arizona Library spans more than 29 years where she has served as assistant dean for team facilitation since 1993, assistant university librarian for branch services (1991-1993), and held various other positions, including acting university librarian, assistant university librarian for branch services, and head librarian for the University of Arizona Science-Engineering Library.

Phipps will receive a $3,000 award and a citation at a ceremony and reception on Monday, June 17, during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Atlanta. The reception is sponsored by YBP Library Services.

Previous award winners include Larry Hardesty (2001); Sharon Hogan (2000); Hannelore Rader (1999); Allen B. Veaner (1998); James G. Neal (1997); Ralph Russell (1996); Joseph Boisse (1995); Irene Braden Hoadley (1994); William A. Moffett (1993); Carla Stoffle (1992); Richard DeGennaro (1991); and Patricia Battin (1990).

ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic librarians. ACRL's 11,000 members are comprised of individuals from a wide range of academic institutions, publishers and vendors who sell in the academic marketplace. ACRL enhances the effectiveness of academic and research librarians to advance learning, teaching and research in higher education. More information about ACRL's programs and services can be located on the
ACRL Web site. ACRL is a division of the ALA.