Wong receives RUSA’s highest honor, the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award

Melissa Wong
Melissa Wong, Adjunct Lecturer

Adjunct Lecturer Melissa A. Wong (MS/LIS '94) has been selected as the 2022 winner of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, the Reference and User Services Association's highest honor.

"I'm incredibly honored to receive this award," said Wong. "The list of past winners includes people I have admired and strived to emulate throughout my career, including two of my mentors, Beth S. Woodard and Linda C. Smith, both from the University of Illinois. The fact that Mudge herself has a connection to Illinois, where she worked as a librarian and as a faculty member in the library school, is also a special aspect of this award."

Wong has helped shape reference librarians and influenced the reference librarianship field for years. After serving as a librarian and library director, her focus shifted from direct reference service in a library setting to preparing emerging professionals, magnifying the effect of her positive impact. She has been teaching in the iSchool's top-ranked LIS program for over two decades, beginning with a reference and information course and expanding to include courses on instructional strategies, administration and management of libraries, and e-learning, to name a few. Her teaching receives stellar reviews, and her name is consistently on the UIUC list of "Teachers Ranked as Excellent."

Her work as an author and editor is another area where her impact has had and will continue to have lasting significance. After contributing to the fourth edition of the notable and fundamental textbook Reference & Information Services, she was asked to coedit the fifth edition and served as lead editor of the most recent sixth edition. Under her leadership, critical changes were made to the textbook, including expanding its scope and weaving diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout. Wong has also co-authored an open access textbook called Instruction in Libraries and Information Centers and authored a book on instructional design as well as other publications.

"First and foremost, I consider myself an educator," she said. "When I write for publication, edit textbook chapters, or step into the classroom, my goal is to empower LIS students to become the best information professionals they can be, ready to serve their communities through high quality, engaging library services. Reference services have changed over the years but remain at the heart of the library's mission. To have my professional peers feel I've been successful as an educator is the highest honor."

Sponsored by EBSCO, the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award consists of $5,000 and a citation to an individual or group that has made a distinguished contribution to reference librarianship.

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