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news & notes: february 2021

Battling the Infodemic: LJ's 2021 Librarians of the Year

Alumna Elaine R. Hicks (MS ’10) and her colleagues have been named Library Journal's 2021 Librarians of the Year for carrying out the work of the Librarian Reserve Corps (LRC) in response to the COVID-19 infodemic. Read more.

Chu and Raju appointed coeditors of Library Trends

The iSchool is pleased to announce the appointment of Clara M. Chu and Jaya Raju as coeditors-in-chief of Library Trends. Their extensive editorial experience and unique combination of global, multicultural, and diverse perspectives will advance the journal’s reputation as an essential tool for professional librarians and educators. Read more.

Nominations invited for Downs Intellectual Freedom Award

The iSchool at Illinois seeks nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. Given annually, this award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Letters of nomination and documentation about the nominee should be sent by March 15 to Associate Professor Terry Weech, chair of the Nominations Selection Committee. Read more.

Alumni Recruiter Network

Help the iSchool recruit top talent by joining our Alumni Recruiter Network. To participate, complete a brief interest form, which will be used to pair you with a student. If we can arrange an appropriate match, the iSchool will alert you and share your email address with the interested student. We ask that you respond to an email from the student as soon as you are able. The time commitment should be less than an hour. If you have any questions, please email the iSchool Advancement Office.

Alumni volunteer opportunity

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is looking to expand its alumni volunteer database. Alumni volunteers play an important role in assisting with college fairs and receptions. If you are a recent graduate and would like to serve as an alumni representative of the U of I, please submit an application.

Scholarship an affirmation, financial boost for Kang

For MS/LIS student Eunice Kang, receiving the Carl Volkmann Scholarship from the iSchool allowed her to focus on learning and "taking advantage of all the opportunities that the University has to offer," while also lightening her financial burden.

"Having lost my source of income, this scholarship has helped me in so many ways," she said. "I had been feeling overwhelmed due to all of the changes and new responsibilities, but this award was an affirmation that I am trying my best and moving forward in the right direction. I hope one day that I will be able to help students achieve their goals, just as this scholarship has helped me."

Thank you to our alumni and friends who contribute to iSchool funds that support students, alumni, and faculty throughout the academic year. Learn more about the campaign and the iSchool’s priorities.

The latest COVID-19 relief law and iSchool giving

After nine months of waiting, a second round of COVID-19 relief was signed into law just before the new year, and a few of its provisions may impact your 2021 support of the iSchool. Did you know that your required minimum distribution has been reinstated this year? Or that you can continue to use cash gifts to offset up to 100% of your adjusted gross income? Or that your support of the School might be able to add up to $600 to your standard deduction this year? Learn more how you can make the most of the Consolidated Appropriations Act in your support of the iSchool or contact Jason James Shuba, UIF Director of Gift Planning, at (312) 585-9038 or shuba@uif.uillinois.edu.

Roberto defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate K.R. Roberto successfully defended their dissertation, "Description Is a Drag (and Vice Versa): Classifying Trans Identities," on December 11. Read more.

students in classroom 
iSchool students complete practicum at IDEA Lab

iSchool students Yingying Han (PhD), Xiaohan Yin (MS/IM), and Nathan Moore (MS/LIS) worked on 3D scanning service and software development projects as part of their practicum experience at the Grainger Engineering Library IDEA Lab. Read more.

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Luisa Leija

MS/LIS student and Spectrum Scholar Luisa Leija wants to become a children's librarian, continuing her work with youth and families. She hopes to engage in large-scale issues and contribute to efforts that make libraries more equitable for the diversity of the communities they serve. Read more.

Barbosa defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate Natã Barbosa successfully defended his dissertation, "Exploring Algorithmic Realism in the Data Economy," on January 14. Read more.

Library Trends explores digital humanities in China

A new issue of Library Trends highlights the state of digital humanities in China. Digital Humanities and Libraries in China was co-edited by iSchool Research Affiliate Lian Ruan (PhD '11), head librarian at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI). Read more.

BIG wraps up another successful semester of student consulting

Last fall, students in the Business Intelligence Group (BIG), the student consultancy group associated with Associate Professor Yoo-Seong Song's Applied Business Research class (IS 514), worked with clients in the areas of facial recognition technology, digital healthcare, telemetry-based marketing automation, cybersecurity, and market entry strategy. Read more.

NACADA recognizes Talbott for excellence in advising

Academic Advisor Katelyn Talbott has received the Region 5 Excellence in Advising - New Advisor award from NACADA, the global community for academic advising. The award is presented to "individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students" for less than three years. Read more.

Get to Know: Beth Etchison, Grants and Contracts Coordinator

Grants and Contracts Coordinator Beth Etchison assists faculty with the financial management of their research projects. Get to know Beth.

Bulletin announces 2020 Blue Ribbon winners

The staff at The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB) have announced the 2020 Blue Ribbons, their choices for the best of children's and young adult literature for the year. Read more.

Orozco Villicaña selected for leadership academy

Moises Orozco Villicaña, director of enrollment management for the iSchool, has been selected to participate in the University of Illinois System's Professional Staff Leadership Academy (PSLA). Read more.

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog receives Gryphon Award

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog, written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, and published by Penguin Random House, has won the 2021 Gryphon Award for Children's Literature. Read more.

Black discusses the post-war public library in the UK

Professor Emeritus Alistair Black discussed his research at the UK's Library and Information Group Work-in-Progress Conference, which was held virtually on November 27. Read more.

Schneider receives Research Board Award for citation bias research

Assistant Professor Jodi Schneider has received an award from the University of Illinois Research Board for her project, “Identifying Potential Bias in Science Using Citation Network Structures.” Read more.

Terry L. Weech retires

After forty years of service to the iSchool, Associate Professor Terry L. Weech (MS '65, PhD '72) retired at the end of December. Weech is well known for his teaching and research, positive influence as an advisor and mentor to his students, and contributions to international librarianship and intellectual freedom. Read more.

Stodden edits special theme issue of Harvard Data Science Review

Associate Professor Victoria Stodden was invited to guest edit a special theme issue of the Harvard Data Science Review dedicated to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report on Reproducibility and Replication in Science. Read more.

Knutson authors chapter on ethical and inclusive community engagement

Adjunct Assistant Professor Ellen Knutson (MS '02, PhD '08) and Quanetta Batts, director of outreach and engagement at The Ohio State University Libraries, have coauthored a chapter in the new book, Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement (ALA Editions, 2020). Read more.

Bashir presents privacy research at CPDP2021

Associate Professor Masooda Bashir presented her privacy research at the 14th International Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference, which was held virtually on January 27-29. Read more.

New research investigates relationship between health literacy & self-care

Assistant Professor Jessie Chin's new paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine investigates the relationship between health literacy and self-care among patients with diabetes. Read more.


Visit our newsroom page to see the latest School news.

 Submit your own class note.

Tarida Anantachai (MS '11) was a corecipient of the Syracuse University Libraries' 2020 Distinguished Service Award. The award is a 30-year tradition recognizing staff members who have made significant contributions to the libraries and university community.

Choy Fatt Cheong (MS '87) has received the 2019 Lifetime Contribution Award from the Library Association of Singapore.

Ben Chiewphasa (MS '19) joined the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame as the economics and data librarian in December 2020.

Ashleigh Cofer (MS '20) has accepted an offer for an instructional librarian position at Columbus Technical College in Columbus, Georgia.

Carla Dinnocenzo (MS '15) recently joined the Palos Heights (IL) Public Library as the youth and teen services librarian.

Eric Edwards (MS '06) recently finished serving as past president of the Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries (IACRL) and as chair of the Illinois Library Association's ILA Reporter Advisory Committee. He is currently the secretary for the ACRL Chapters Council and a member of the ILA Conference Program Committee.

Kathy Durley Freiheit (MS '80), former director of library services for the City of Rowlett, Texas, is now (blissfully) retired. Her post-graduate career path included library administrative services and building projects in public, academic, school and special libraries in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Texas. She adds, "Reading, relaxing & soaking up the sun has never been better!”

Henry Gabb (PhD '19), senior principal engineer at Intel Corporation, joined the Board of Directors of the Linked Data Benchmark Council (LDBC). LDBC develops industry benchmarks for social network analysis, graph analytics, and Resource Description Framework (RDF).

Nelly Gonzalez (MS '73) passed away on November 29, 2020. She served as the head of Latin American Library Services at the University of Illinois before her retirement in 2008.

Alison (Bolla) Greenlee (MS '09) recently earned promotion and employment security status. She has been the special collections metadata librarian at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, since 2017.

Brittany (Craig) Labinger (MS '17) has been appointed director of the Elgin (TX) Public Library.

Patty McGowan (MS '16) started her new position as reference librarian at National Defense University Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, in December 2020. 

Colleen Melone (MS '16) started a new position as the head of information services for the Lincolnwood (IL) Public Library District.

Alice Mitchell (MS '15) has begun a new position as youth services manager at Fondulac District Library in East Peoria, Illinois.

UCLA's Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2), co-directed by Safiya Noble (MS '09, PhD '12) and Sarah T. Roberts (PhD '14), recently received a gift from the Archewell Foundation to support "research, programs, and convenings focused on the harms vulnerable communities face from internet technologies." 

Rosemary Young Singh (MS '69) passed away on January 20, 2021. She worked at the Mathematics Library, Illinois Historical Survey, and Main Library circulation desk at the University of Illinois and at the Manitowoc (WI) Public Library.


Visit our class notes page to see more.


All events listed below will be held online.

AI Infodemic Reading Group: Session 1
February 9, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

CCB Speaker Series: Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie
February 18, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

AI Infodemic Reading Group: Session 2
February 24, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

AI Infodemic Reading Group: Session 3
March 9, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

CCB Speaker Series: The Data-Sitters Club
March 11, 3:00-4:00 p.m.

AI Infodemic Reading Group: Session 4
March 31, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

2021 Gryphon Lecture
April 15, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

AI Infodemic Reading Group: Session 5
April 20, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

AI Infodemic Reading Group: Session 6
May 5, 4:00-5:00 p.m.