Betsy Wilson named ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

Contact: Megan Griffin
Program coordinator, ACRL
For Immediate Release
February 2, 2007

Betsy Wilson named ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

CHICAGO — Lizabeth (Betsy) A. Wilson, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Washington, is the 2007 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 Thursday, March 29, 2007, 4 - 5:45 p.m., at the opening keynote during the ACRL 13th National Conference in Baltimore, Md.

“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 1991-1995. Wilson currently chairs the ACRL 14th National Conference Committee, which is planning the next conference to be held March 12-15, 2009, in Seattle, Washington. 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, presentations, and workshops represent a significant contribution to the profession. Many, however, believe her mentorship of emerging leaders represents 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. In 2005, she formed the Digital Futures Alliance with partners in Microsoft, Vulcan, Real Networks, and others to address the commonly held problem of long-term preserving digital assets held in library collections and industry archives.”

Wilson’s leadership in the historic merger of RLG and OCLC was also praised, “In her role as chair of the Board of Trustees of OCLC, having previously served as president of the OCLC Members Council, she had an active and pivotal role in what has been termed ‘the hallmark of Betsy’s work—creating strong and vital organizations that derive more benefit for all.’ The vision, diplomacy and pragmatism of Betsy Wilson were absolutely critical to the year-long negotiations that resulted in the coming together of the two organizations.”

Wilson received her B.A 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.

Previous award winners include Ray English (2006); Ravindra Nath (R. N.) Sharma (2005); Tom Kirk (2004); Ross Atkinson, (2003); Shelley Phipps, (2002); and Larry Hardesty (2001).

For more information regarding the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award, or a complete list of past recipients please visit

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association, representing 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.