Wendy Pothier, UNH Business and Economics Librarian, wins excellence in Business Librarianship Award


Rhianwen Watkins, News Editor

This past week, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Business and Economics Librarian Wendy Pothier was named the recipient of the Excellence in Business Librarianship Award from the American Library Association (ALA).

The award is distributed annually and comes with a monetary prize.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” said Pothier. “So, I was startled when I won.” She knew she had been nominated, but because it is a national level award, she was aware that the competition was high.

Typically, the award is given out at the annual ALA conference, but the past two years it has been held over Zoom due to the pandemic. However, this year the annual conference is happening June 23-28 in Washington, D.C. where Pothier will be recognized in-person.

Pothier is the designated librarian for Peter T. Paul College where she assists professors and students in the classroom on research projects and meets with students one-on one-about their capstone research.

In addition, Pothier teaches a class called “Disruption in the Supply Chain” which is part of the Business in Practice Program in Paul College. According to Pothier, she designed the course so students can have the unique experience of following a specific product through the supply chain such as coffee, computer chips or new cars.

Pothier added that supply chains have become increasingly talked about in the past couple of years. “The pandemic has shown us the fragility of them,” she said. The course will be offered again in the fall for Paul students.

Besides her work at UNH, Pothier has made many notable contributions to the field of librarianship which made her such a competitive candidate for the award.

Pothier has established a regional group for librarians who work in her discipline. “We meet once a month over zoom and we are able to talk through concerns we have about any number of things related to librarianship,” explained Pothier.

She elaborated that these could be prices of databases going up, or simply answering each other’s questions and giving advice for helping the students in their institutions. The group also hosted a professional development series with leaders in the field to provide workshops over the course of a few months.

Another accomplishment has been Pothier’s work in digital badging, which she explained as badges that exist in the digital realm that highlight a person’s expertise in a niche area of interest or more nuanced learning.

“We implemented a new digital badging program here at UNH and I was really involved with setting that up and making sure we followed all the global standards for badges,” Pothier said.

She added that UNH now currently offers around 60 digital badges.

Pothier is also the convener of a digital badge interest group within the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division within ALA. The group does programs every year to help librarians think about ways they can incorporate badging into their libraries and help their institutions support badging.

Pothier has also worked with UNH Research Data Services Librarian Patricia Condon to research the kinds of data that literacy students “who are in business schools should be having basic competencies in so that they’re prepared to enter the workforce.” They have published two research articles together, one of which won an award garnering national recognition.

Condon and Pothier will also be giving a presentation on their research in data literacy competencies at an international conference on economics and business information in May.

Pothier’s next personal endeavors include taking a sabbatical a year from now to attend a scholar program called Institute for Research Design and Librarianship out of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. This is a year-long national program designed to provide resources and assistance to 25 accomplished librarians to help them complete independent research projects.

“It’s truly an honor. I love my job, I love coming in, I love working with UNH students. I’m very happy here and I don’t necessarily need recognition to make me feel happy in my job,” said Pothier. “It felt really gratifying to be able to have other people see that there’s value in the work I do.”

Photo courtesy of the University of New Hampshire.