Jill Turner named SIS 2022 Distinguished Alumna

Networking and personal development are important reasons to consider joining a professional organization, but Wayne State University School of Information Sciences alumna Jill Turner encourages people to join for an entirely different reason – “it’s fun!”

A headshot of Jill Turner. She has chin length blonde hair and is wearing a teal shirt and a broad smile.
School of Information Sciences alumna Jill Turner

“You get to work with a group of people who are interesting and hardworking, and it’s just a great time,” she said. “It’s one of the main pieces of advice that I give to the students I work with. I tell them to not just be a member, but to really get involved and do the work. That’s how you get to know people and that’s how you become more competitive in the workforce.”

Turner, a library professor for the University of Detroit Mercy, is an active member of the Michigan Health Sciences Libraries Association (MHSLA) and Metropolitan Detroit Medical Libraries Group (MDMLG). Turner has served as president for both organizations and been a member of countless committees. She most recently was named treasurer for MHSLA, a position she previously held for eight years. Turner received MHSLA’s highest honor twice, being named "Librarian of the Year" in both 2009 and 2021.

Turner was a medical librarian at Botsford Hospital and Wayne State University before joining Detroit Mercy as an assistant librarian in 2010. She later was promoted to associate librarian and worked in that role until she received full professorship earlier this year. She is the library liaison for the university’s College of Health Professions and McAuley School of Nursing and the School of Dentistry.

“I love my job. Every day, I enjoy working with the students and interacting with faculty,” she said. “I like teaching classes, but the thing I love most is sitting down with students one-on-one and helping them do their research.”

Some people never find a career that they love and feel passionate about, but Turner is lucky enough to have had two. Before pursuing librarianship, she fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. She worked at hospitals in Michigan and Pennsylvania and was captain of the Army Nurse Corps for the U.S. Army.

After making several moves with the military and starting a family, Turner faced the decision whether to renew her nursing license or go back to school. Her husband had a chance encounter with the dean of libraries for Penn State University, who told him that hospitals and universities are always looking for medical librarians. With her background in nursing and a lifelong love of reading, Turner enrolled in the master’s in library and information science program at Drexel University in Philadelphia. After moving to Michigan, she transferred to Wayne State and completed her MLIS in 2005.

The School of Information Sciences has named Turner the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. The recognition is bestowed annually to an SIS graduate who has made outstanding contributions to the field of library and information science.

"I am so pleased that Jill Turner was selected as this year’s distinguished alumna,” said SIS Associate Professor Deborah Charbonneau. “Jill has been an invited guest presenter in my course, and she shared her expertise and enthusiasm of health sciences librarianship with my students. With her significant and sustained contributions to the profession, she is an excellent role model for students in our school and beyond."   

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