About Joe

I was born in Oneida Castle, New York and had my first library job at the Oneidalibrary card Library, first shelving and paging, and then eventually at the main desk, doing circulation, reference, and just about everything else.  I went to Syracuse University as an undergraduate and within a few weeks discovered the School of Information Studies; I got a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and then stayed on for my MLS and PhD.

After finishing, I got a faculty position at the University of Michigan, at what is now the School of Information.  While there, I had the great good fortune of working with some extraordinary students in the development of the Internet Public Library project in 1995, and then ran that project until 1998.

IMG_7941_newThe opportunity of a lifetime came in 1999 when I came to the University of Washington to be part of the development of the Information School.  I’ve been the chair of the MLIS program here off and on for several years.

Writing/Creative Work

My most recent book is Library 2020, a compilation of essays about the future of libraries and librarianship.  A series of feature articles appeared in Library Journal highlighting several essays, by Bill Ptacek, Mary Ann Mavrinac, and by Stacey Aldrich and Jarrid Keller.  Publishers Weekly also did a feature piece on the book.

I’ve been a columnist for American Libraries magazine since 2002, first as the Internet Librarian and now writing “Another Story.”

Since 2012, I’ve been doing a podcast series called Documents That Changed the World, highlighting the cultural impact of historic documents and also the importance and role of documents and documentary forms in everyday life.  It’s available for download and subscription on iTunes.  I also did a presentation at Town Hall in Seattle, available on YouTube.


I joined ALA as a student in 1982.  I served two terms as a membernametag82 of the Advisory Committee of the Office for Information Technology and Policy and four years as a member of the Committee on Accreditation.  I was deeply honored to be the 2006 recipient of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award for distinguished contributions to reference service from RUSA, and to testify as an expert witness on behalf of ALA in the Federal lawsuit challenging the Child Internet Protection Act.

Hmm. What else…?


Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony

Sports nut, movie fiend (perpetually wired to Turner Classic Movies), classical music, ’80s hair bands, love to cook, and of course to read.

Most importantly, I’m married to the greatest guy in the world, Terry Price, the love of my life.


joe at joejanes dot org
@joejanes on Twitter