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Jennifer Bartlett

UK Libraries is proud to recognize exemplary faculty member Jennifer A. Bartlett as the recipient of the 2023 Paul A. Willis Outstanding Faculty Award.

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 UK Libraries National Advisory Board.

“Jennifer’s leadership, scholarly contributions, creativity, and commitment to excellence have had a profound impact not only on UK Libraries, but on our broader profession,” said Doug Way, Dean of UK Libraries. “It has been a privilege to work alongside her, and I am so pleased that Jennifer is this year’s Willis Award honoree.”

Bartlett has worked in reference services, access services, and management and administration in both academic and public libraries since 1995. She began her career at the Free Library of Philadelphia and worked at Murray State University Libraries for several years before joining UK Libraries in 2010. 

Since then, Bartlett has brought her innovative leadership and expertise to departments across the organization, serving as Head of Circulation, Head of Reference Services, and Interim Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, & Research. She currently serves as the Oral History Librarian at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center, a position she has held since 2021. 

“I couldn’t be more surprised and honored to win this year’s Willis Award,” said Bartlett. “I’ve had the incredibly good fortune to work with many talented, committed library professionals and have learned valuable lessons from all of them. Libraries are very special places in that they are dedicated to learning and discovery for everyone, and certainly many of my colleagues over the years have epitomized that dedication. It’s a real privilege to be recognized by an institution that has been so important in my career.”

Recognized across the profession for her scholarly contributions to the field of library science, Bartlett is the author of Knowledge Management: A Practical Guide for Librarians, published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2021. Knowledge Management helps librarians recognize, organize, communicate, and leverage institutional knowledge and expertise to improve decision-making and efficiency, promote innovation, and help librarians more quickly and effectively connect their users with the resources they need. Bartlett is also the co-editor of Libraries that Learn: Keys to Managing Organizational Knowledge, published by ALA Editions in 2019. 

Bartlett serves as the editor-in-chief of Kentucky Libraries, published by the Kentucky Library Association, and is the co-editor of the international journal Practical Academic Librarianship. Bartlett has served as an invited speaker and panelist at conferences and events across the US, authored numerous articles and book reviews, and contributed columns to Library Leadership and Management, Online Searcher, and Kentucky Libraries. 

She holds a Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University and a Master’s in English from Murray State University. 

Bartlett will be honored alongside this year’s recipients of the Medallion for Intellectual Achievement, the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Staff Performance, and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship at the annual Spring Celebration on May 11.

A 1963 graduate of the University of Kentucky, Paul A. Willis served as a library director for 41 years throughout the Southeast. He worked as a cataloger at the Library of Congress before beginning his Master’s in Library Science. In 1966, he began as a circulation librarian at UK’s Law Library before becoming a university law librarian. He then served as director of UK Libraries from 1973 to 2003, later serving as the University of South Carolina’s Dean of Libraries from 2004 until 2007.

During his career at UK, Willis created the Information Alliance consortium, planned the construction of the William T. Young Library, and expanded the Libraries' collections and services.