Curriculum Vitae

Brief Biography

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  • Academic libraries, writing, editing, her Belgian Malinois, Liza with a Z Watstein, boxing, hiking, and movies, particularly documentaries, are some of the passions in Sarah Barbara Watstein’ s life.  A native New Englander, Watstein received her BA from Northwestern, MLS from UCLA, and MPA from New York University.
  • She has worked in academic libraries for her entire career, including both public and private institutions on both coasts. She began her career at California State University Long Beach (CSULB), and continued at New York University, Hunter College, Virginia Commonwealth University, UCLA, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
  • Sarah co-edits Reference Services Review  (RSR) a quarterly, refereed, international journal dedicated to the enrichment of reference knowledge and the advancement of reference and library user services. Most recently, in 2018, she and Eleanor Mitchell, Director of Library Services at Dickinson College in Carlisle, and her co-editor of Reference Services Review were selected as the 2018 winners of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, the Reference and User Services Association's highest honor.
  • She also serves on the editorial board of portal: Libraries and the Academy, a Johns Hopkins University press publication focusing on important research about the role of academic libraries and librarianship.  portal also focuses commentary on issues in technology and publishing. 
  • Sarah is a prolific author of books, articles, and conference presentations on topics such as the role of artificial intelligence systems, burnout, how our spaces affect our services, how to revolutionize reference service delivery and the statistical evaluation of reference service. Watstein has published extensively in two broad areas - - academic librarianship and HIV/AIDS. Her award-winning AIDS Dictionary (1998) co-authored with Karen Chandler and The Encyclopedia of HIV/AIDS (2003) co-authored with Stephen Stratton, responded to the world’s need for timely, authoritative information about one of its major public health crises.
  • Her record of service to the library and information science profession at the regional, national and international level is equally robust. She has held and holds a variety of leadership positions within the American Library Association. Professional service has focused on three areas - - publishing/book and media awards, reference and user services, and women’s studies.
  • Community service has been a major part of her life. During her years in New York City, she was active in both HIV/AIDS caregiving and activism (Body Positive and Gay Men’s Health Crisis - - GMHC), and in the anti-violence community (New York Women against Rape - - NYWAR). During her years in Richmond, VA she was active in the Fan Free Clinic and Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth (ROSMY).
  • She has been an active supporter of public radio wherever she has lived - - supporting WNYC (NYC), WCVE (Richmond, VA), and KCRW (Southern California). The opportunity to do more than pledge support, and differently step up to the challenge of supporting local programming through leadership, service and a pledge, fueled her application for WHQR Board service in Wilmington, North Carolina. She served as a WHQR Board member during her years in North Carolina.
  • Medium-to-large breeds of dogs are a passion and joy. The Belgian Malinois is a variety of the Belgian Shepherd dog. She and Liza with a Z Watstein are great hiking companions. As for her cat - Neiman Marcus Watstein, and hiking – “not so much.”