Janis Jordan Dickens was born in Des Moines and raised in Ames from age 6 through college. She graduated from Ames High School (1967) and Iowa State University (1971). At Iowa State she majored in English and worked in the Iowa State Library. She is an Alpha Xi Delta. From Iowa State she continued her education at the University of Michigan obtaining a Master's in Library and Information Studies (1972).
Jan married John Dickens (ISU Engineering 1970 Triangle Fraternity). Their family grew to include two daughters Stacy Lyn and Kathryn Ann and much of their family life has lived in northern California. Jan has been a housewife, mother, wife, career woman and community leader continuously since graduation.
She has been extremely involved in libraries universities and instructional media contributing both through library management and through civic involvement by serving on the County Library Commission and starting several Friends of the Library groups. She has served as President of Directors of Educational Technology/California Higher Education President of the Community College Librarians' Chapter of the California Library Association conference coordinator for numerous professional conferences conference assistant or on the Executive Board of many organizations such as the Association of Educational Communications and Technology EDUCOM the American. Library Association and the Consortium of College and University Media Centers. Jan has continued to support Iowa State University and Alpha Xi Delta since her graduation and returns to Ames annually to visit family and campus.
Jan and John have assured that their daughters have strong familial ties to their Iowa roots and an appreciation of strong feminine role models.