UAF Dean of Libraries Bella Karr Gerlich, PhD, has been honored by her alma mater, University of Pittsburgh, with the 2013 University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences Professional Achievement Award. It is an annual award given to an alumna/us who has demonstrated solid achievement in the fields of information science, community, public, or humanitarian service. In the letter announcing the award, it was noted that she was chosen because her "successful and dynamic career in the field of librarianship." She earned her doctorate in Library Information Science from the university in 2006.
Gerlich has been UAF Dean of Libraries since 2011. She oversees all aspects of the Elmer E. Rasmuson and BioSciences libraries academic and administrative programs and services, is an advisor to the UAF rural campuses and fosters national and international partnerships with the libraries. She draws expertise from more than 25 years experience working in academic libraries, including administrative appointments at Dominican University, Georgia College & State University and at Carnegie Mellon University, respectively.
Dr. Gerlich is active in the profession, serving in committee and leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. Professor Gerlich is an engaged researcher; her interests include assessment, organizational behavior and valuation of services; she has authored/co-authored a number of peer-reviewed publications, is a frequent guest lecturer, presents at conferences in the U.S. and abroad and enjoys mentoring students.
As an administrator, Dean Gerlich has contributed to the profession by working to identify, quantify and acknowledge the hidden work done by library staff developing qualitative data-gathering methodology. Inspired by her dissertation research at University of Pittsburgh (“Work in Motion/Assessment at Rest: An Attitudinal Study of Academic Reference Librarians”), Gerlich created the READ Scale, a 1 - 6 scale for recording the effort, knowledge, skill, and teaching that occur during reference transactions. More than 100 libraries worldwide have self-identified their use of the tool, which has been incorporated as a free option in commercial data analysis products. In addition to ongoing promotion of the READ Scale, Gerlich’s current study agenda includes collaboration with other libraries to test her LEAD Scale (Library Effort Assessment Data) that evolves the 1 – 6 scale tool to record qualitative data across all library work functions.