The Special Libraries Association (SLA) awarded iSchool professor emerita Jill Hurst-Wahl the 2021 John Cotton Dana Award. Named after the founder of SLA, the John Cotton Dana Award is SLA’s highest honor recognizing an information professional’s lifetime achievements and superior contributions to SLA and information profession. 

Hurst-Wahl joined SLA in 1990. “I know I’ve done a lot for the organization, but looking back on the past award winners, seeing people I’ve known and respected, and to think I’m part of that group is really amazing,” she said. 

Hurst-Wahl is a widely respected speaker, writer, researcher, educator, and consultant. Her work as a professional librarian started in the 1980s as a corporate librarian. She then got involved with consulting, helping corporations and libraries with their information needs. In 2001, Hurst-Wahl started teaching M.S. Library and Information Science courses at Syracuse University. In 2009, she joined the iSchool full-time and led the MSLIS program from 2012-2017. She retired in 2020.  

Hurst-Wahl has had many accomplishments,  but it’s her volunteer work that she credits as one of her most impactful contributions to the library and information field. “I think being prompted to volunteer and then enjoying giving my time to different libraries and activities helped me to have a voice in the profession, ” says Hurst-Wahl.

In addition to volunteering, teaching, and consulting, Hurst-Wahl sits on five different boards: Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees, St. Francis Farm Board of Directors, Alden Street Foundation Board of Directors, EveryLibrary Institute Board of Directors, and Library Futures Board of Directors. She is also involved in the Poor People’s Campaign. Hurst-Wahl continues to teach copyright law through the American Library Association. Her upcoming course, “U.S. Copyright Law in the Library: A Beginner’s Guide eCourse,” starts Monday, September 13, and is open for registration. Hurst-Wahl also continues to consult with for-profit and non-profit organizations through her company Hurst Associates, Ltd. and regularly writes about copyright on her blog Digitization 101.