April 24, 2018

Jill Emery | Movers & Shakers 2004


Digital Girl


For Jill Emery, an interest in librarianship came at an unusually young age. ‘In elementary school, I would take over for the school librarian so she could have breaks,’ Emery recalls. Today, Emery’s earliest colleagues would be proud, not just of the vibrant career Emery has established for herself but for what she has done to lead the profession into the digital future.

As director of electronic resources at the University of Houston, Emery is at the forefront of a constantly shifting information landscape. This is reflected in her organizational role–Emery negotiates access agreements for electronic resources and coordinates their implementation. She also works with public services, evaluates resources, troubleshoots with patrons, and deals with consortia, publishers, and other vendors. It’s a job, no, ‘a career’ Emery says, that literally redefines itself day by day. ‘What I really like is that no day is the same. When the university created the job it wasn’t fully written out, meaning that I could make out of it what I wanted.’

Since joining Houston in May 2001, Emery has made her mark. Shortly after starting there, says colleague Charles Bailey, assistant dean for Digital Library Planning and Development, ‘Jill recognized the need to pull together the many disparate parties involved in the management of our electronic resources’ and analyzed existing electronic journal management systems. ‘This resulted in Houston being an early implementer of TDNet,’ he says. Her analysis helped other librarians who were thinking of purchasing such a system, too.

Emery’s role is sure to keep expanding with technology. ‘We’re heading for an electronic realm,’ she says. ‘More research can be disseminated and displayed electronically than in print. There’s video, audio, open access. How this will play out is exciting.’




Current Position: Director, Electronic Resources Program, University of Houston Libraries, TX
Degrees: MLIS, University of Texas at Austin, 1995
Favorite activity: Attending live concerts. Saw Willie Nelson three times before she turned 17
Motto: Have a good time, all the time.–This Is Spinal Tap