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National Recognition

American Library Association to present award to SU library dean

Photography by Yosef Kalinko
April 9, 2018

Sarah Barbara Watstein, dean of Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, has been selected to receive the 2018 Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award. The highest honor presented by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), the award recognizes individuals who have made distinguished contributions to reference librarianship.

Joining Watstein (right) in receiving the award is Eleanor Mitchell, director of library services at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn. They will be honored at ALA’s annual conference this June. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will be the featured speaker.

Co-editors of Reference Services Review for the past 13 years, Watstein and Mitchell “have combined their strengths of knowledge and experience about reference service and user instruction to deliver critically vetted and carefully edited articles on the major strains of reference work,” the ALA wrote in a news release. “They have taken a strong journal and developed it into an exemplary venue for sharing ideas about the complex nexus of information sources, information discovery and delivery systems, information professionals and library users. Under their editorship they have transformed the journal into one of the most respected in the field of reference librarianship.”

Watstein, who joined SU last summer, is a prolific author and presenter on such topics as the role of artificial intelligence systems, how library spaces affect services, how to revolutionize reference service delivery and the statistical evaluation of reference service. She coauthored the award-winning AIDS Dictionary (1998) and The Encyclopedia of HIV/AIDS (2003).

A pioneer in reference librarianship, Isadore Gilbert Mudge (1875–1957) spent most of her 38-year career at Columbia University where she was credited with improving reference collections and promoting student independence in research.