Alumna/Alumnus Award Winners

Dr. Karen Brown
Dr. Karen Brown

Dr. Karen Brown (MA ’77), Professor Emerita, School of Information Studies, Dominican University

Year of award: 2022

Dr. Karen Brown (MA’77) is the recipient of the iSchool’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award. A longtime Badger, Dr. Brown first came to UW-Madison as an undergrad and proceeded to earn a master’s degree at the then named School of Library and Information Studies. Following, she moved on to pursue a doctorate in media ecology at New York University.

Dr. Brown knew pretty early on that she was headed for a career in libraries. “I saw it as a profession that opened up a world of possibilities,” she said. “On the first day of class, Professor Margaret Monroe entered the classroom, held up a book, and said, ‘Information is power. Remember that.’ I was hooked.” Drawn to the idea of connecting people with information and resources that could make a difference in their lives, Dr. Brown knew she had found her professional home in librarianship. She also found community in the iSchool program, which helped her build a strong network of colleagues—some of whom she’s known for 45 years.

In her professional practice, Dr. Brown works to tie research, theory, and practice together. Two projects in particular stood out to her as being the most meaningful: Assessment in Action, with the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), and CARLI Counts, with the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, which both used action research as a means to investigate the impact of academic libraries on student learning and success. In addition, Dr. Brown credited her teaching experience at Dominican University, where she was a faculty member for 20 years, with providing plenty of opportunities for bridging theory and practice. “Before teaching any topic or issue in a course, I always ask myself, “What are the theories that provide grounding for this topic? How does LIS research inform our understanding of the topic?”

Teaching has been a continuous thread throughout Dr. Brown’s career, starting with a position at MERIT Library and continuing on to jobs at Bard College and Teachers College at Columbia University before landing at Dominican. Her favorite class to teach? Probably “Core Values, Ethics, and Issues in the Library and Information Professions,” in which, she explained, “Students come together in this initial course to study the historical roots of LIS and the core values that unite us as a profession.”

Asked for her advice for new graduates, Dr. Brown said, “Lean into uncertainty. Challenge assumptions. Ask questions. Find and enrich a professional community that feeds your passions.” She also encouraged welcoming the tenets of librarianship into other areas of life: “It’s so important to connect what we do with what’s happening in the world. Libraries don’t exist in a vacuum!”


Patrick LosinskiPatrick Losinski (MA’83), CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio

Year of award: 2021

Tell us a little about your background.

I grew up in Stevens Point, WI and attended UW-Stevens Point. My degree included an internship for the local cable access television station located in the Portage County Public Library. One day, I had an in-depth discussion with the library director about how he became a librarian. Years later, I applied to the then named School of Library and Information Studies and went on to work in Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and, finally, Columbus, Ohio. It’s been a very rewarding experience. My work with the Urban Libraries Council and the International Federation of Library Associations led to global travel with my family, enriching our lives with greater cultural appreciation. We have deep roots in Wisconsin and anyone who knows our family knows that we are all Badgers, all of the time!

How did your time in Madison influence your career?

My professors were amazing. They created thought-provoking classes, often utilizing librarians as guest speakers, and challenged us to do our best work. Faculty members were very networked and demonstrated their commitment to the profession at conferences and symposiums. Students were encouraged to co-design practicum experiences that led to practical skills and a robust professional network. Finally, professors were authentic and accessible mentors for all students. Receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award is a reminder to be intentional and purposeful about how to pay it forward.

Do you think the Covid-19 pandemic will permanently change how libraries operate? How can libraries leverage this time to serve their communities better?

The Columbus Metropolitan Library was founded in 1873. Our Main Library opened in 1907 and it has served continuously as a library since that date. We have stories about our library during the 1918-1919 pandemic! We need to take the long view on current events and understand that libraries will continue to thrive because people will need help and have the desire to participate in civic endeavors. Libraries are always evolving so the pandemic may not be the only catalyst for changes on the horizon.

However, the pandemic is the greatest career challenge most of us have ever faced. Libraries have demonstrated our remarkable ability to innovate and serve customers in new ways. We also benefit from our professional culture of sharing. It’s hard to name another profession that freely gives away its best ideas to “competitors.” That’s why it works – because libraries are not in competition – we are collaborators who serve and help. Recently, we’ve talked about evolving from the “business of libraries” to the “business of community recovery.” We have the ability partner with nonprofits, government agencies, and private industry to do whatever it takes to help our communities recover.

What do you enjoy most in your role as CEO of the Columbus Metro Library?

It is impossible to single out what I enjoy “most.” One of aspects of being the CEO of an urban public library is the variety of work including: strategy, finance, personnel, public relations, information technology, fundraising, new building design, community relations, government relations, collections, history, children’s programming, security, and on, and on, and on! No two days that are the same and it is a perfect career for someone with interests in many aspects of life. I didn’t understand how satisfying librarianship would be when I started, but I’m very grateful for all of the experiences afforded to me during my career. This honor has provided me with the opportunity for deep reflection on my time in libraries that all began thanks to UW-Madison.

Dr. Lynn Silipigni Connaway (PhD’92)

Year of Award: 2020

Dr. Lynn Silipigni Connaway (PhD’92), Director of Library Trends and User Research at OCLC, has been named the University of Wisconsin – Madison Information School’s 2020 Distinguished Alumna. By earning a doctoral degree at the iSchool, Dr. Connaway believes her education opened doors and provided opportunities she had never imagined. When asked to recount her time in Madison, she shared experiences that prepared her for a career as an assistant professor, researcher, and lifelong learner. Her iSchool doctoral advisor, the late Deb Johnson, taught her how to write grants, present research, and make teaching cataloging and classification fun. Several wonderful instructional opportunities prepared her to be hired as an assistant professor. The iSchool encouraged her to be more creative and empathetic to individual needs and not simply follow standards and rules – a tenet that has become central to Dr. Connaway’s career studying user behaviors and expectations.  

At OCLC, Dr. Connaway’s more recent projects include leading the research phase of an IMLS-funded project with the Public Library Association called Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities. This project identifies how public libraries are collaborating with other community agencies to address the opioid crisis. Dr. Connaway interviewed those who were affected by the opioid crisis and explored how public libraries helped them by providing information to access and services. “It was such an emotional experience to learn how individuals have been affected by this crisis and how public libraries have been there to help them. I never thought that I would have such an experience as a researcher in library and information science.” 

In her position at OCLC, Dr. Connaway has had the privilege of studying information science and research outside the United States. International opportunities allowed her to better understand how individuals approach decision making in both their everyday and professional lives. “These experiences made me realize that many of the decisions we make are based on our cultural beliefs, contexts, and situations.” Her research now reflects this by focusing more on how an individual’s contexts affect their behaviors.  

Dr. Connaway immensely enjoys the opportunities to work and collaborate with colleagues through her position at OCLC. Among the aspects she appreciates most is working with a vice president who is a great catalyst for research and has given her the freedom to explore a variety of research areas. Additionally, Dr. Connaway enjoys working with OCLC members, librarians, researchers, and students from different types of libraries and disciplines and across various geographic locations. “My role at OCLC is always exciting and interesting – I learn something new each day and I have never been bored since I joined the research division.” 

Dr. Christine Pawley (MA’91 and PhD’99)

Year of Award: 2019

The iSchool is thrilled to name Dr. Christine Pawley (MA’91, PhD’99) as the 2019 Distinguished Alumna. As a student, faculty member, and director, Dr. Pawley has influenced the school and students in countless ways. Before entering the iSchool, she taught sociology in England and spent time as a stay-at-home parent of three. Entering the MA program in LIS was a second go around for her and she had no idea she would continue to earn a PhD, which she did at the age of fifty. It was her time as a student that made her realize how much she enjoyed teaching, conducting her own research, and helping others with their investigations. “I like the sense of discovery when working with primary sources, and that different sense of discovery when you find secondary literature that helps you see in a new way or gives you new information.” She credits Professor Wayne Wiegand, her PhD advisor, as a great support in terms of thinking through research ideas and suggesting new lines of inquiry.

Dr. Pawley began her interest in print culture as a graduate student, excited by developments from the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and the American Antiquarian Society. In 1992, the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America was founded at UW-Madison with the purpose of encouraging research about more recent time periods and highlighting the readings and writings of different classes, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. She points to her time as serving as the director of the Center (renamed the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture) for six years, and also as the director of the iSchool for three years, as highlights of her career.

Dr. Pawley never truly claimed the mantle of librarian for herself, which she believes illustrates the exciting range of people that emerge from the iSchool and move into all sorts of different professions. For graduates new and old, her advice is to listen to those who emphasize flexibility and to think in terms of skills and knowledge rather than positions in an organization. Learn to become an effective communicator, jump at opportunities to speak in public, become comfortable with supervising others – and don’t be afraid of budgets! “You just never know what twists and turns your working life is going to take, so having transferable skills is important.”

In her retirement, Dr. Pawley moved to British Columbia with her husband and she enjoys living by the ocean where temperatures rarely drop below freezing. She spends time gardening, playing the piano, and teaching at the local Elder College, which is a program for people over the age of fifty-five. “I feel very lucky both for the work experiences I have had, and now, to be able to enjoy a different rhythm of life.”

Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson (PhD’98)

Year of Award: 2018

Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson began her career in libraries as a para-professional at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD. Though she was not seeking a career in libraries, she had been a devoted patron throughout her life. Like most people who “stumble” into the LIS profession – she fell head over heels in love it. Early on, Dr. Lawson found that she loved providing the array of services the library had to offer, and she especially enjoyed getting kids excited about the stories and adventures found in the pages of books. At Pratt, innovation and creativity were encouraged and celebrated and she flourished in that environment. She eventually earned an MLS from the University of Maryland.

From there, Dr. Lawson was recruited to the PhD program at the (then) UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies by the late Deb Johnson. Their paths crossed often through their respective work in adult and family literacy. Additionally, she was drawn to the work and publications regarding planning and role setting for public libraries that Doug Zweizig and others at UW-Madison championed.  Dr. Lawson says her time in Madison broadened her knowledge of the profession and expanded her thinking through interaction with the talented faculty and staff and the students in her cohort. Many of the concepts to which she was exposed at UW-Madison still influence her leadership philosophy and problem-solving strategies. In the school’s rich and supportive environment, she had the opportunity to develop and teach classes in urban librarianship and multicultural library services. Dr. Lawson discovered she loved teaching and is still teaching graduate classes in leadership today.

Susan Allen (’68)

Year of Award: 2017

Dr. Susan Allen is a dedicated leader who has flourished as a scholar, practitioner, and administrator at a variety of institutions. She contributed significantly to the areas of rare books and special collections, serving most recently as the associate director and chief librarian at The Getty Research Institute. Upon retirement in 2011, Dr. Allen applied her expertise to the establishment and success of the California Rare Book School, where she serves as director.

Her professional association work, primarily in ACRL, lead to the creation of best practices for rare book security and communication between libraries, book dealers, and law enforcement. After completing her dissertation on Colonial American printers and receiving a PhD from UCLA in 1996, Dr. Allen continued to publish on printing history, becoming a prominent writer in this area. In addition to her professional and scholarly contributions, she also created The Old Town Press, a fine printing press, and exhibits as a book artist.

Beverly Lynch (PhD’73) nominated Dr. Allen for this award and compliments her by writing “Dr. Allen’s leadership qualities are enhanced by her gentle persuasive power, her fine sense of humor, the respect she shows for differing opinions, and her ability to bring seemingly intractable points of view to agreement. She does not call attention to herself, but she probably should.” SLIS is happy to call attention to Dr. Allen’s many achievements by honoring her as a Distinguished Alumna. Dr. Allen will receive her award at the spring graduation ceremony.

Sari Feldman (’77)

Year of Award: 2016

Sari Feldman has spent her career improving and transforming library service for all. SLIS is honored to grant her our 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award.

As President of the American Library Association (ALA), Ms. Feldman seeks to increase public awareness of the value, impact, and services provided by libraries through the Libraries Transform campaign. One important goal of the campaign is to shift the public’s perception of libraries from ‘nice to have’ to essential.

This concept is clearly demonstrated at the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) where Ms. Feldman serves as the executive director. CCPL has been named a Library Journal Star Library for the past six years, reflecting its high use statistics. In fact, it is the busiest per capita library system in the nation. She writes, “I currently work with a professional team and board that supports a powerful service model, so we accomplish a great deal together.”

ALA’s Libraries Transform campaign aligns with Ms. Feldman’s philosophies regarding libraries. She writes, “I am passionate about the library’s role in economic equity, literacy and digital inclusion as well as fostering a love of books and reading…libraries of all kinds create individual opportunity and community progress.” She elaborates to state that libraries are perfectly positioned to support the information and creative engine that drives the knowledge economy. 

Ms. Feldman began professional association leadership roles with the Public Library Association (PLA), where she served as President from 2009-2010. Throughout her diverse committee involvement, she experienced ALA at its best as co-chair of ALA’s Digital Content in Libraries Working Group (DCWG) from 2011-2014. In this role, she learned how the power of the entire ALA can be used to make significant impacts. In addition to her significant professional commitments, Ms. Feldman is very involved in the Cleveland area, serving on the board of directors for several organizations. It is this commitment to her community that she considers one of her greatest accomplishments.

Upon receiving the Distinguished Alumna Award, Sari reflects, “This award is incredibly meaningful to me.  Returning to Madison always reminds me that I walk in the footsteps of the SLIS library greats, and they are expecting me to exceed their expectations. I hope that this award is in recognition of the fact that I took the tools of SLIS and used them to bring honor to SLIS and to our profession.”

Susan Brynteson (’63)

Year of Award: 2015

Brynteson_Susan-2015-19Susan Brynteson (’63), Vice Provost and May Morris University Librarian, with 35 years’ service at the University of Delaware Library, has spent her career improving and advancing library services.

As Vice Provost, she seeks to provide a wide range of services for the university community while assisting Library staff to reach their highest potential and making the physical library space a destination on campus. Participation in professional associations has played a large role, as has her service to Yaddo, a well-known artists’ community located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York.

After graduating from SLIS, she held a number of positions in various academic libraries before joining the University of Delaware in 1980. Since then, the Library became a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), moved into the expanded Morris Library, added its 2-millionth volume and established the Student Multimedia Design Center, the largest of its kind in a U.S. research library.

As an enthusiastic proponent of electronic information, she continues to extend the electronic library which now includes more than 400 electronic databases, thousands of electronic journals, library-created Internet research guides, and an institutional repository.

A pioneering effort was to withdraw print serials in favor of providing access to electronic counterparts before its general acceptance. She is keenly proud of the University of Delaware Library receiving  Vice-President Joseph Biden’s U.S. Senatorial papers in 2012, spanning his 36-year career.

The University of Delaware Library recently became the first ARL member to implement WorldShare Management Services, the new OCLC cloud-based discovery system. One of Ms. Brynteson’s nominators observed, “It strikes me as wonderful that the longest serving ARL librarian would also be the first ARL librarian to implement this forward leap in discovery for Library patrons.”

She is well known for investing in the recruitment and training of staff including hiring librarians with new graduate library degrees. In 1984 she established a residency program for librarians from under-represented groups, the first such program in a U.S. research library. She has made extensive contributions to professional organizations as the President of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (an American Library Association division), membership on the ALA Council and Chair of both the ALA Publishing Committee and the ALA Legislative Committee. Accordingly, one of her nominating letters described her as “a marvelous role model for new librarians and developing administrators.”

A unique part of her career is her involvement with Yaddo, a distinguished artists’ community where many award-winning writers, composers and artists have had residences. Yaddo’s mission is to nurture the creative process for artists to work without interruption in a private, supportive environment. She has been a Member of the Yaddo Board of Directors since 1996 and serves as a consultant to Yaddo as someone who is knowledgeable of its history having lived off and on since 1964 among its artist-guests as the summer librarian-in-residence.

She was entrusted with contributing to the complicated transfer of Yaddo’s extensive archives of 20th century literary and artistic correspondence to the New York Public Library. For her continued service, she was named a Lifetime Member of the Corporation of Yaddo in 2006.

Miriam Pollack (MA ’78)

Year of Award: 2014

pollackMs. Pollack graduated from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978. After her master’s, she stayed for two semesters to work with Dr. Margaret Monroe on a federal fellowship on information and referral for the aging. She also holds a master of arts in educa – tion, training, and development from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. After graduation from SLIS, she worked at the Cook Memorial Public Library District in Libertyville, IL, and taught at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL. In 1986, she began working at the North Suburban Library System in Wheeling, IL, and in 1993, she became the assistant director there. Ms. Pollack also taught at Dominican University in River Forest, IL before beginning independent consulting in 2004.

Throughout her career, Ms. Pollack has worked to improve services for the public as well as for her colleagues. As the assistant director of the North Suburban Library System, she developed what one colleague describes as “one of the best continuing-education programs in the country, serving all types of libraries and all levels of staff.” This program included more than 250 activities each year, ranging from hands-on computer training to conferences to online courses. Another colleague noted that “she was, in many ways, the heart of the North Suburban Library System all the years she was there.” Ms. Pollack also established and developed the Reaching Forward conference, which began as an annual conference for Illinois library assistants, and is now run by the Illinois Library Association, with two annual conferences to serve the entire state.

Dr. Toni Samek (PhD ’98)

Year of Award: 2013

samekDr. Samek completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto and her Master of Library and Information Studies at Dalhousie University. In 1998, she received her Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 1994, Dr. Samek has worked as an educator and researcher at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. Dr. Samek has written two books: Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in American Librarianship, 1967 to 1974, published in 2001, and Librarianship and Human Rights: A Twenty-First-Century Guide, published in 2007. In addition, she has co-edited another monograph and published numerous articles, reports, and book chapters. Her vast amount of scholarship has appeared in translation in countries including Japan, Spain, Sweden, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey.

Dr. Hope Olson (PhD ’96)

Year of Award: 2012

olsonHope Olson (Ph.D. ’96) is Professor at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she has also served as Associate Dean and Interim Dean.  She previously taught at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.  She is known internationally for her research in the areas of cataloging and classification, indexing, and more broadly the organization of information.  She has brought feminist, poststructural, and postcolonial theory and critical interdisciplinary methods to greater awareness in LIS.  And in turn, she has made other disciplines more aware of the scholarship of LIS.

Olson is a prolific author of journal articles and has been the principal investigator for large funded studies related to culture, naming, and classification.  She bridged the theoretical and the practical with her books, The Power to Name: Locating the Limits of Subject Representation in Libraries, as well as (written with SLIS Professor Emeritus John Boll) Subject Analysis in Online Catalogs.  She brings the same mix to her teaching and has trained a generation of catalogers and other meta data producers to be conscious and critical about the naming they do and the structures they help create.

Dr. Richard Allen Danner (MA ’75, JD ’79)

Year of Award: 2011

dannerRichard Allen Danner is Senior Associate Dean for Information Services, and Archibald C. and Frances Fulk Rufty Research Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law. He has edited several books on U.S. and international legal information and is the author of Strategic Planning: A Law Library Management Tool for the ’90s and Beyond and Legal Research in Wisconsin. He is also the author of numerous articles for journals in law and librarianship. His scholarly interests include legislation, legal education, and legal research and bibliography. Recent publications look at questions of impact of both electronic publishing and open access in relation to legal scholarship.

Danner has had many leadership roles in professional associations. He has been a president of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and served on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools. He has also served two terms as First Vice President of the International Association of Law Libraries. He has been active in American Bar Association committees, including being part of over a dozen site inspection teams of Law Schools. In addition, he served as editor of AALL’s Law Library Journal from 1984-94.

Dr. Jennifer Younger (MA ’71, PhD ’90)

Year of Award: 2010

youngerJennifer A. Younger is the Edward H. Arnold Director of Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame. Younger has held numerous positions in cataloging and technical services for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the U.S. Department of State, and Northwestern University. She served as Assistant Director for Technical Services and Liaison for the Regional Campus Libraries for University Libraries at Ohio State University. She has served as the president of the Academic Libraries of Indiana (ALI), as chair of OCLC’s Review Board on Principles of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship, as president of the American Library Association’s Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, as a member of the executive boards of both the Center for Research Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries and has held positions in numerous other professional organizations.

Throughout her career, Younger has exercised a steadfast commitment to the advancement of library education. She has served as an external reviewer on official ALA accreditation panels and has acted as a consultant for libraries and library schools in multiple states. Younger has made significant contributions to national and international conversations on topics ranging in scope from staff training to the development of digital collections.

Dr. Beverly P. Lynch (PhD ’72)

Year of Award: 2009

lynchBeverly P. Lynch is a professor at UCLA’s Department of Information Studies and the director of the UCLA Senior Fellows Program. She served as dean and professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at UCLA from 1989-1994. Lynch worked as the executive secretary for the American Library Association’s Association of College and Research Libraries (1972-1976) and then served as library director at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1977-1989), where she developed and led a program that linked scholarship in the humanities to the library.

For over two decades, Lynch has been an active member in library and information studies related accreditation groups and has taken on consultancies on a host o f A CRL, ALA, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and Center for Research Libraries committees. She served as ALA president from 1985-1986. Over the course of her career, she has presented on issues ranging from preserving the nation’s print archive to human resource development. In 2005, Lynch addressed the development of one of her long-standing interests in librarianship, rare books, by securing grants from the Book Club of California and IMLS to establish the California Rare Book School.

Dr. Raymond F. von Dran (MA ’71, PhD ’76)

Year of Award: 2008

vondranRaymond F. von Dran joined the faculty of Catholic University of America, where he eventually became Dean of the School of Library and Information Science. In 1987, von Dran was recruited to serve as Dean of the library school at the University of North Texas, where he helped expand both the faculty and program. In 1995, von Dran was once again approached to become Dean of a school in transition: Syracuse University. At Syracuse, he was instrumental in implementing a number of innovative changes, modernizing the curriculum, overseeing an expansion of the faculty and the student body, and expanding the School’s sponsored research by almost fivefold.

Ray von Dran was an active member of the professional community. He was one of the founders of the I-School Group, a national consortium of academic institutions aimed at understanding the relationship between information and people. Von Dran served on numerous committees within the American Library Association, the Association of Library and Information Science Educators, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Gail Schlachter (MA ’67)

Year of Award: 2007
SchlacterGail Schlachter has had an exceedingly productive career as a library educator, library user services librarian and administrator, scholar, and compiler and publisher of information sources. She holds master’s degrees in history and public administration and earned her Ph.D. in librarianship from the University of Minnesota.

Schlachter is the founder and head of Reference Service Press, publisher of highly-regarded directories to financial aid for higher education. She serves on the governing council of the American Library Association, where she is also a leader in ALA ‘s Reference and User Services Association. In 1992 she received the highest award that the field of reference services has to offer, the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Citation for distinguished contributions to reference librarianship. In 1997 Schlachter also received the Louis Shores-Oryx Press Award for excellence in the reviewing of books and other materials for libraries. Her own publications have received many awards.

James (Jim) Rettig (MA 1975)

Year of Award: 2006
rettigJames R. Rettig is a prolific author in the area of reference and information services serving as the editor of the: “Current Reference Books” column in the Wilson Library Bulletin, 1981-1995 and the Libraries Unlimited book series: Bibliographic Guides in the Humanities, 1987-1998. He is a member of the Reference Services Review editorial board, 1987 – to date and was Assistant and Associate editor of this important reference journal, 1979-1987.

Active in professional organizations of the field, Rettig serves on the American Library Association (ALA) Executive Board, 2003-2006 and served three terms on the ALA Council. He has held many other important leadership positions in the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) Reference and Adult Services Division of Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of ALA, and OCLC’s Reference Services Advisory Committee. Rettig has been able to articulate traditional library services with emerging technologies. His work in facilities planning contributed to a beautiful and functional $32 million dollar library at William and Mary. He sets a high standard for publishing, scholarship, collegiality and continuous learning.

In 2006, a special Centennial Award was also given. Centennial Award recipients include: Lawrence J. Jacobsen (1971), Nolan Yelich (1966), Nancy Kranich (1973), Kathleen T. Horning (1982), Lorene Byron Brown (Ph.D. 1974), Madge Hildebrandt Klais (1972), Roy Mersky (1953).

Eugene (Gene) Engeldinger (MS 1969)

Year of Award: 2005

engeldingerEugene (Gene) A. Engeldinger is Vice President for Academic Information Services and Professor for Library Services, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI. He was named Wisconsin Library Association Librarian of the Year in 1990 and Carthage College’s Hedberg Library was the WLA 2004 Library of the Year. Accomplished writer, indexer and conference presenter, Gene has developed in the areas of library cooperation, automation and bibliographic instruction. He has taught LIS courses for the University of Oklahoma, UW-Madison SLIS and UW-Milwaukee SOIS. He has taught American culture and film and history classes for Carthage College.

Gene’s leadership and vision brought together library, media and computer services in a merged and collaboratively run service unit that effectively serves the needs of all the information seekers at Carthage College. Gene’s creativity and leadership fosters continuous development of faculty and staff and students. He was instrumental in creating the information literacy program, related instructional changes and the comprehensive one-stop information desk. Cooperative programming with UW-Parkside and the people of Racine and Kenosha has made the Hedberg Library a vibrant community resource.

Michael J. Fox (MA ’73)

Year of Award: 2004

foxMichael Fox began his professional career at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1973. Over the next 14 years he served the Society in a succession of capacities-as library cataloger, map curator, and public records archivist. In 1987, he became the Head of Processing at the Minnesota Historical Society, combining his interest in library and archival technical services. In 2000, he was named Assistant Director for Library and Archives and in 2003 was given responsibility for that organization’s publication program as well.

Michael has been involved actively in the world of descriptive standards across several professions, serving on major policy committees and working groups within the Society of American Archivists, American Library Association, and the International Council on Archives. He has played a major role in the development of the Encoded Archival Description standard.

Barratt Wilkins (MA ’69)

Year of Award: 2003

wilkinsBarratt Wilkins served for nearly twenty-six years (1977-2003) as State Librarian and director of the Florida Division of Library and Information Services. During that period, library service was established in all sixty-seven counties, multi-type regional library cooperatives serving all areas of the state were initiated, and mechanisms were established for coordinating statewide library cooperation and initiating development of a Virtual Library for Florida.

Very active in numerous state, regional, and national library organizations, he served in such varied positions as president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, as councilor of the American Library Association, and an advisor to the regional medical library service for the Southeast/Atlantic, the U.S. Public Printer, and the National Center for Education Statistics.

His most important national achievements were as a leader in developing a new federal role for libraries culminating in passage of Library Services and Technology Act in 1996 and as a leader in establishing national data collection systems for public libraries and state library agencies. Guides for his career were principles, fairness and excellence.

Dr. Larry Hardesty (MA ’74)

Year of Award: 2002

hardestyLarry Hardesty is a professor and library director of the Abell Library at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where he implemented the College Library Directors Mentor Program, which he has run since 1991. He has served as president of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), where he began the Excellence in Academic Libraries award to recognize outstanding library staffs. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of library publications. In 2001, Hardesty was named the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year.

Eliza Dresang (PhD 1981)

Year of Award: 2001

dresangEliza T. Dresang became Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee in 1996. Prior to that appointment, she served as an Adjunct Association Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison SLIS (1978-1996) as well as worked for the Madison Metropolitan School District as Director of Library Media, Technology and Communication (1980-1996) and as assistant to the Superintendent of Schools (1987-1996). She began her career as a children’s and school librarian in California, Georgia, and Madison, where she earned the Wisconsin School Librarian of the Year award as well as the Judy A. Harris award from the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education.

Dresang has served on many professional boards and has made contributions to the world of children’s literature by selecting the Newbery and Caldecott award winners. Her record shows her dedication to school library and children’s services.

Wallace Olsen (MS 1956)

Year of Award: 2000

olsenWally Olsen has played a global role throughout his career as a librarian of natural sciences by providing information to developing countries. He served as Director of the Library at the Academy of Natural Sciences from 1960-1962. He was Chief of the Library System for the National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center, Assistant Director for Technical Services at the University of Maryland, worked for Educom and the National Agricultural Library, where he served as Deputy Director for Library Operations and Chief Field and Special Programs Division. In 1987, he went to Cornell University’s Albert R. Mann Library and then became director of the Core Agricultural Literature Project.

Olsen developed TEEAL: The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library, a CD-Rom database released in 1999. He and his wife raised funds from the Rockefeller Foundation and convinced publishers to make journals available without cost to the poorest nations of the world. Olsen’s contributions as a global force in agricultural librarianship have made him a truly outstanding leader.

Karen Krueger (MA 1969)

Year of Award: 1999

krugerKaren J. Krueger is Director of Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, Wisconsin. Under her direction, the Hedberg Public Library was named Wisconsin Library Association Library of the Year in 1998. She has provided leadership in libraries in Louisiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. She is a past president of the SLIS Alumni Association. Under her leadership, the association developed a budget and annual service plan, which has been used annually since her leadership year.

For her vision of public library service and her role in broadening its scope and quality, Karen Krueger was named Wisconsin Library Association’s Librarian of the Year in 1989. She is particularly knowledgeable about planning and evaluation and has conducted training sessions on these topics for many libraries across the country.

James Krikelas (MS 1959)

Year of Award: 1998

krikelasJames Krikelas is Professor Emeritus, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison. Following a career as a college librarian and as a consultant, he joined the SLIS faculty in 1967. He has taught a variety of courses in technical services, research methods, library evaluation, and library automation. His research focused on the information-seeking and search behavior of library users and has been published in various professional publications.

Professor Krikelas was a co-founder and inaugural chair of the American Library Association’s Library Research Round Table (1968-69, 1969-70). He was awarded a Senior Fulbright-Hayes Lectureship for 1980-81 at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and an ALA/USIS Library Fellowship in 1990-91 at the University of Crete, Greece. Krikelas retired after thirty years of SLIS service in June, 1997. He served with distinction as the SLIS interim director during his last three years on the faculty.

Sarah M. Pritchard (MA 1977) 

Year of Award: 1997



Sarah M. Pritchard has been the Dean of Libraries and the Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian at Northwestern University since 2006.  She administers library services at seven facilities in Evanston, Chicago and Waukegan.  She has oversight of the Northwestern University Press and manages shared services with the law, medical and NU-Qatar libraries.  Previously she was University Librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Director of Libraries at Smith College; associate executive director at the Association of Research Libraries; and a specialist in reference and collection development at the Library of Congress.

Throughout her career, Pritchard has been an innovator and a leader. She designed the first formal user study of LC’s online catalog, a report that is still cited. She pioneered bibliographic and reference work in support of emergent feminist scholarship, and directed the influential ARL statistics program for three years.  She has published over 70 articles and reviews, and was the editor of the scholarly journal portal: Libraries and the Academy, from Johns Hopkins University Press from 2008 to 2014.  She has been an advisor to many academic and commercial publishing projects, including JSTOR, SPARC and the HathiTrust.  Actively engaged in research, Pritchard has been a lead investigator or reviewer for projects funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Contributing to regional and national library consortia across the country, she has served on the boards of the Big Ten Academic Alliance’s Center for Library Initiatives, the Center for Research Libraries, the Chicago Collections Consortium, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Library of California.  She has led numerous committees and projects in library professional associations, and was elected to four terms on the council of the American Library Association.  She has lectured and consulted internationally on library management, assessment, women’s studies, digital systems, collection development and other professional issues.

Pritchard received her B.A. degree with high honors in French & Italian from the University of Maryland, and master’s degrees in French and in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the recipient of numerous professional awards including the ALA Equality Award and the ACRL/Greenwood Press Award for Career Achievement in Women’s Studies. 

Ginny Moore Kruse (MA 1976)

Year of Award: 1996

kruseIn 1976 Ginny Moore Kruse became director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), a noncirculating children’s and young adult literature library for adults where she founded the award-winning CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services and expanded the CCBC’s study and research environment to provision of adult continuing education opportunities for librarians and teachers. A member of many American Library Association Intellectual Freedom boards, Kruse has chaired numerous children’s literature award committees. She is nationally recognized as an advocate of excellence in quality and equity in access to literature for all young readers and as co-author of the annual CCBC Choices and Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults.

Nancy H. Marshall (MA 1972)

Year of Award: 1995

marshallNancy H. Marshall has been at William & Mary since 1986. In 1993, she became the Dean of University Libraries, College of William and Mary. She was Associate Director of Libraries for Public Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1979-1986; and Founding Director, Wisconsin lnterLibrary Services (WILS), 1972-1979.

Nancy Marshall has been an outstanding leader in the library community, particularly in the area of copyright. She has served as president of the American Library Association’s Reference and Adult Services Division, as a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees, president of the OCLC User’s Council, and in a host of other professional roles and assignments.

Beacher J. E. Wiggins (MA 1972)

Year of Award: 1994

wigginsBeacher J.E. Wiggins is Director of Cataloging at the Library of Congress. He joined the Library of Congress in 1972 as a cataloger in the Descriptive Cataloging Division. He was a section head there from January, 1980 through September, 1986. He then became assistant to the Associate Librarian for Collections Services until October, 1991 when he was appointed chief of the Shared Cataloging Division. He became chief of the Arts and Sciences Division in June, 1992.

Beacher J.E. Wiggins has published widely in the area of automation and bibliographic control. He has provided distinguished service for many years in the American Library Association as well as the National Information Standards Organization.

James P. Danky (MA 1973)

Year of Award: 1993

jpdankyJames P. Danky is Assistant Librarian for Research and Development at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. He has authored and compiled numerous books, bibliographies and anthologies, and in 1987 was recipient of the Bowker/Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship of the Year Award.

Danky’s work in serials over the past two decades has helped make the State Historical Society of Wisconsin one of the most important repositories in the world for alternative press literatures. He also currently serves as Co-director of the Center for Print Culture History in Modern America, a joint project of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

Warren James Haas (BLS 1950)

Year of Award: 1992

haasWarren “Jim” Haas concentrated on academic librarianship during a distinguished career that included University Librarian, Columbia University, and President of the Council on Library Resources (CLR). During his university assignments, Haas concentrated especially on library organization and management, fiscal control, and cooperative enterprises.

Haas has been consultant to universities and architects on library buildings and has served on commissions and committees of the American Council of Learned Societies and several foundations. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Wabash College and Indiana University, and the UCLA Medal by the University of California in Los Angeles.

Kathleen de la Peña McCook (PhD 1980)

Year of Award: 1991

lapenaKathleen de la Peña McCook, a well known speaker, researcher and scholar, is Director and Professor at the University of South Florida School of Library and Information Science, Tampa. She has held positions as Dean of the Graduate School at Louisiana State University, Dean of the School of Library and Information Science at the same university, and teaching positions at other universities. She was a Public Service Librarian at Dominican University and a Reference Librarian at Elmhurst College.

Kathleen de la Peña McCook is a prolific author. She has published numerous books and articles and has edited professional publications including Public Libraries and RQ. Well known for her commitment to diversity, she co-authored Librarians for the New Millennium and Occupational Entry: Library and Information Science Student’s Attitudes, Demographics and Aspirations Survey. In 1997 she was awarded that Association for Library and Information Science Education President’s award for her work on diversity.

Spencer Gilbert Shaw (BLS 1941)

Year of Award: 1990

ShawSpencer Gilbert Shaw, professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Washington at Seattle, was named the first Alumnus of the Year. Shaw’s career includes experience as a branch librarian, as program coordinator and storytelling specialist and as the public library consultant in children’s services. As a university professor, in addition to educating numerous children’s and school librarians, he has been an inspiration to African American librarians in all specializations.

Prof. Shaw has received numerous honors and recognitions for his work, including Honorary Life membership in the American Library Association (1988), the Distinguished Service Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (1988), and the Grolier Foundation Award (1983).