December 8th, 2004
Penny Pugh, Head of Reference for the Downtown Campus Library, was named president of the West Virginia Library Association during the organization’s fall conference at Stonewall Resort.
In the post, she will guide the group which represents librarians and staff from public, academic, K-12, and special libraries around the state.
“It’s very challenging and humbling to be president of this organization,” Pugh said. “The association represents libraries of all types and gives us an opportunity to work together toward common goals, which ultimately serve the citizens of West Virginia.”
Pugh comes aboard with a full agenda already on her plate. The WVLA succeeded last session in securing funding from the Legislature to acquire statewide electronic database licenses for hundreds of libraries.
Nationwide concerns exist about a disparity in access to electronic information. Nearly all public and K-12 libraries lack the extensive electronic resources available at most colleges and universities. College students grow accustomed to a wealth of easily retrievable information while on campus, but then after graduation, find that the information sources are not available outside the academic setting.
Pugh and others in the WVLA leadership see this statewide contract as part of a remedy to this societal problem. The goal now is to encourage the Legislature to continue funding. Pugh’s mission is to convey to state lawmakers the positive impact realized by the number of resources now available at public and school libraries.
“From kindergarten through the rest of your life, you should be able to have access to electronic or digital information,” Pugh said. “This project, being coordinated by the West Virginia Library Commission and funded by the Legislature, is one that I think will stay on the Association’s legislative agenda for a long time.”
WVU Libraries Dean Frances O’Brien called Pugh a devoted advocate for libraries and a knowledgeable professional. She expects 2005 to be a good year for libraries in the Mountain State with Pugh at the helm.
“Penny’s experience has earned her the respect of her colleagues across the state, and she will be very effective in leading collaborative efforts among the different types of libraries,” O’Brien said. “I believe her year as WVLA president will bring significant advances in library service to citizens of West Virginia.”
Myra Lowe, Associate Dean of the WVU Libraries, shared similar praise and optimism. She has supervised Pugh since she joined the staff as a reference librarian in 1989 and highly regards her efforts as a librarian.
Lowe called Pugh a leader at the WVU Libraries in terms of electronic resources, explaining that the libraries rely on Pugh’s judgment in identifying what electronic resources to purchase. She also stressed that Pugh runs a large and diverse department within the Libraries and is able to guide wide-ranging areas of responsibility effectively.
“I see Penny as an excellent leader,” Lowe said. “Her expertise has already been valuable and will continue to be.”
Pugh has previously served as Chair of the Academic Division of WVLA and as a member of the Executive Board. Prior to settling at WVU, Pugh was a librarian and library science instructor at Fairmont State College form 1986-1989. Pugh earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from WVU and her Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Kentucky. She has been Head of Reference in the Downtown Campus Library since November 2000. – Morgantown Times