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Named for long-time UK Libraries director Paul A. Willis, the Willis Award is given annually to a UK Libraries faculty member who stands out amongst their colleagues through outstanding achievements in their primary assignment and exemplary leadership, creativity, and spirit of service. 

Faculty members are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the National Advisory Board. Winners receive a cash award and are recognized at the annual UK Libraries National Advisory Board’s Spring Celebration.

View all of our past Willis Award recipients, and learn more about our most recent winners below.


Jennifer A. Bartlett

Jennifer A. Bartlett, Oral History Librarian at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, has served UK Libraries since 2010. Throughout her tenure, Bartlett has brought her leadership, creativity, and expertise to departments across the organization, serving as Head of Circulation, Head of Reference Services, and Interim Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, & Research, among other positions. Her scholarly contributions have made an impact not only on UK Libraries, but on the broader profession. Bartlett is the author of Knowledge Management: A Practical Guide for Librarians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021) and the co-editor of Libraries that Learn: Keys to Managing Organizational Knowledge (ALA Editions, 2019). She is the editor-in-chief of Kentucky Libraries and the co-editor of Practical Academic Librarianship.

Jennifer Bartlett


Reinette Jones

Reinette Jones has served UK Libraries since 1988 and is currently a member of the Special Collections Research Center and an affiliate with the Program in African American & Africana Studies. Jones has developed several vital library resources, including the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (NKAA), which shares the untold stories of African Americans in and from Kentucky. With 450,000 annual visits, the NKAA is a major resource for researchers across Kentucky and around the world. Jones has also worked extensively with the LGBTQ* community, and has been recognized with lifetime achievement and service awards from Kentucky LGBTQ* groups. Jones is the creator of the Lesbian Studies Research Guide, one of few academic guides devoted to the subject, and is widely published in both academic work and fiction.

Reinette Jones

Kopana Terry


Deirdre Scaggs

Since joining UK Libraries in 2004, Deirdre Scaggs has made an indelible impact across the organization through her many leadership roles. The current associate dean of Research & Discovery Services, she is also director of Archives, director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, and project archivist for John C. Wyatt Lexington Herald-Leader Photographs. Scaggs has encouraged experimentation, innovation, and collaboration across the Libraries, and under her leadership the SCRC has modernized its workflows and increased organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Scaggs served as the interim Dean of Libraries from 2017 to 2019. She is the author of multiple books, including Our Rightful Place: A History of Women at the University of Kentucky, 1880-1945, co-authored with Terry Birdwhistell.

Deirdre Scaggs

Shaun Ring