June 14th, 2007
WVU Today, June 7, 2007
West Virginia University’s Library Faculty Assembly has named Penny Lee Pugh and Carroll Wetzel Wilkinson as co-recipients of the 2007 Outstanding Librarian Award.
The award is given every three years to a current or retired library faculty member who has exemplified extraordinary leadership, initiative, creativity and dedication in supporting the mission and goals of WVU Libraries.
“The selection process was especially difficult this year,” said Susan Arnold, chair of the awards committee. “We had several outstanding nominees. Penny and Carroll both have long careers with the WVU Libraries and have been impressive role models and innovators both on campus and in our field.”
Pugh has worked in the WVU Libraries Reference Department more than 20 years, beginning as a staff reference librarian and working her way up to become head of reference.
Pugh has consistently been an innovator for reference services, particularly the incorporation of technology to improve the patron experience.
She provided leadership to develop WVU Libraries’ first Web site. Pugh also developed a listing of electronic resources, known as the Reference Online page.
She also spearheaded WVU Libraries’ participation in the national Ask a Government Information Librarian Virtual Reference project.
Currently, Pugh manages the Ask-A-Librarian e-mail reference service. To improve this service for today’s millennial students, she has initiated a library-wide project to incorporate instant message chat.
In addition to her reference accomplishments, Pugh is known as an outstanding teacher. She has taught numerous sections of a library course, ULIB 101: Introduction to Library Research; has given lectures for credit courses in several disciplines; and has offered many faculty workshops.
Most recently, she initiated meetings between faculty from WVU’s Department of English and instruction librarians to develop information literacy components for English research composition classes. This project added library instruction sessions and information literacy assignments to the Accelerated Academic Writing curriculum.
Pugh has also served on many library committees, the most notable of which is her work as chair of the electronic resources committee for the past 10 years.
Pugh has held influential professional leadership positions with WVU Libraries, and has demonstrated leadership at the state level.
Through her work with the West Virginia Library Association (WVLA), she has earned the respect of librarians throughout the state. Especially noteworthy was her role as WVLA president for 2004-2005. Her term was marked by increased membership and outstanding fall and spring conferences.
Wilkinson began her career at WVU Libraries in 1979 as a reference librarian and the Appalachian bibliographer.
After serving as chief circulation librarian, she became head of Access Services for the Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library on the Downtown Campus, a position she held until 2006 when she was appointed director of instruction and information literacy.
As head of Access Services, Wilkinson oversaw the opening of WVU Libraries’ first book depository and coordinated the move of more than 500,000 volumes to the off-site facility. Another notable innovation during her tenure in Access Services was the development of the electronic reserves system.
Wilkinson’s influence and service extend beyond library walls. She has served in several campus organizations, including Faculty Senate and its Public Service Grant Committee, the Council for Women’s Concerns, the University Planning Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities Women in the Community project.
Recognizing her efforts and dedication, Wilkinson was presented the University’s highest award for service to women, the Mary Catherine Buswell Award, in 1985.
In addition to her regular duties, Wilkinson has been a popular guest speaker for numerous classes and faculty workshops and has earned a reputation as an active researcher and creative teacher in the fields of information literacy and women’s studies.
Her interest in information literacy is probably most evident in the course “Gender and the Research Process,” which she taught on campus for the last three years.
She also serves as Women’s Studies bibliographer and has authored several publications in this area, including a book titled, “Women Working in Nontraditional Fields: References and Resources, 1963 – 1988,” and several journal articles.
Wilkinson recently won campus-wide praise for her instrumental leadership in bringing the American Library Association exhibit “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians” to the WVU campus in the fall of 2006. Only 60 libraries nationwide were chosen to host this exhibit.
Currently, Wilkinson serves as president of the western Pennsylvania/West Virginia chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Under her leadership, the organization has increased its outreach to more schools in the region.
Pugh’s and Wilkinson’s names will be added to the Outstanding Librarians plaque in the Wise Library lobby.