Meet The ACRL Presidents: Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson

Lizabeth (Betsy) WilsonOver the course of ACRL’s 75th anniversary celebration, we’ll highlight the association’s history by profiling our past presidents. Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson is Vice Provost for Digital Initiatives and Dean of University Libraries at the University of Washington and served as ACRL President from 2000 – 2001.

1. Three words to describe your ACRL presidency: Community, collaboration, continuity.

2. What is your most enduring memory of your presidential year? It’s got to be the President’s Program. “The Creative Genius of Community” explored the library as an intellectual crossroads of the community—a house of stories preserving memory and fostering communication and collaboration. Sherman Alexie, award-winning author, poet, and screenwriter, regaled the overflow audience with hilarious yet poignant stories about his own community, creativity, and connection to libraries and librarians.

3. What are you most proud of accomplishing during your presidential year and why? During my presidential year, ACRL Executive Director Althea Jenkins marked ten years of superlative service. When Althea was recruited away by Florida State University to become their director of libraries, I worked with the ACRL Board to find a worthy successor while not losing any momentum. Mary Ellen Davis was selected as the new executive director. As the last 13 years have shown, Mary Ellen was a brilliant selection, indeed.  With Mary Ellen at the helm, ACRL is indisputably the premier association for academic librarians in the 21st century.

4. Any advice for future ACRL presidents? My advice to future ACRL presidents is twofold:

1. Build on ACRL’s 75 year history, its highly engaged membership, and its talented headquarters staff to accelerate the promulgation of the critical role of academic librarians in the higher education.

2. Relax, have fun, and savor time with your ACRL colleagues, while you do the work that is well worth doing.