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news & notes: september 2018

ISAA award recipients recognized

The iSchool Alumni Association (ISAA) honored the following 2018 award recipients during its annual meeting and reception in June (pictured left to right): Anne Gilliland (MS '84, CAS '85), Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient; Chera Kowalski (MS '09), Leadership Award recipient; Diana Stroud, Distinguished Service Award recipient; and Eva Johnson (MS '18), Student Award recipient. Read more.

Thomas (MS '99) wins two Hugo Awards

Lynne M. Thomas (MS '99), head of the U of I Rare Book & Manuscript Library and an iSchool adjunct professor, has won two Hugo Awards—science fiction's most prestigious award. Thomas, now a seven-time Hugo Award winner, joined the University Library in July 2017. Read more.

iSchool alumna named YALSA executive director

Anita Mechler (MS '08) has been named the new executive director of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. She previously served as project manager/archivist for the Black Metropolis Research Consortium at the University of Chicago Library. Read more.

Get to Know Jill Gage (MS '04), Newberry Library

With a degree from the iSchool and a specialty in English, Jill Gage is the perfect match for her work at the prestigious Newberry Library. In her current role, she manages one of the world's leading collections in printing history and serves as bibliographer for British literature and history. Gage credits the iSchool's innovative coursework as excellent preparation for her career in special collections. Read more.

iSchool alumni honored by ILA

Two iSchool alumni, Jennifer Bueche (MS '94) and Lucas McKeever (MS '13), have been selected to receive awards from the Illinois Library Association (ILA). Bueche, director of KidSpace at the Gail Borden Public Library District, has received the Davis Cup Award from the Youth Services Forum. McKeever is the recipient of the 2018 TBS, Inc. Technical Services Award. Read more.

Nominations invited for annual Downs Intellectual Freedom Award

The iSchool seeks nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. The deadline for nominations is October 5, 2018. Given annually, the 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. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or a long-term interest in and dedication to the cause of intellectual freedom. Read more.

Mentor a Student

If you have at least three years of professional experience and are looking for opportunities to support the iSchool, consider becoming a mentor. Mentors who work in special collections, archives, data science, UX, and knowledge management are especially needed. Read more.

Alumni Connections Facebook group

If you’re on Facebook and would like to be more involved with the iSchool, please join the iSchool Alumni Connections group. You’ll find information about your fellow alumni, conversations about professional activities, and updates (some serious, many humorous) about the School and University. It’s a great way to reconnect!

Join the iSchool Runners mailing list for Homecoming 5K

The Illinois Homecoming 5K will be held on Thursday, October 18, at 9:00 a.m. If you've never run or walked a 5K before, join our iSchool Runners mailing list as we prepare! Every week we’ll post training plans and encouragement to stay on track. Joining the list does not obligate you to run, nor does it sign you up for the Homecoming 5K. This is just a way to train, stay in tune with others who are curious about running, and to forge new connections with iSchool students and alumni. Subscribe to our email list.

Our story starts with you. With Illinois, we can change the world.

For master's student Paige Dhyne, the sky is the limit at the iSchool. She is the recipient of a scholarship focused on recruiting exceptional students, which is made possible through contributions from alumni and friends to the Annual Fund.

"I am honored to have received a scholarship. Since starting at the iSchool, I now realize that I was only limited financially—the sky is truly the limit here—and the scholarship reduced my limitations. I hope I can reciprocate that one day for someone else," she said.

Endless opportunities for social good are possible through partnerships with the iSchool. Join us by making a gift to the With Illinois campaign, and together, we can make a positive difference in the world.

Learn more about the campaign and the iSchool’s priorities.

student life
Orientation provides engaging, high-touch experience

Due to record enrollment this fall, the iSchool held new student orientation in the Illini Union Ballrooms for the very first time. The new venue provided a welcoming experience for students and a wonderful opportunity to engage through activities including a facilitated conversation, cultural competence session, information fair, and an all-School dinner at Papa Del's on Friday night. Read more.

Seven students named ALA Spectrum Scholars

Seven master's students have been named 2018-2019 Spectrum Scholars by the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Service. During the past eight years, the iSchool has welcomed 45 Spectrum Scholars, the highest number among the top ten LIS programs in the country. Read more.

around the School
Summer Getaway offers knowledge and networking for school librarians

The iSchool's fifth annual Summer Getaway, which attracted more than seventy participants, emphasized community partnerships in supporting youth literacy and inquiry. Sessions included workshops focused on school librarianship and collaborative activities for sharing professional techniques and gaining expertise. Read more.

Chinese academic librarians visit Illinois

Over thirty Chinese academic librarians have a better understanding of American libraries after participating in a visit to the Urbana campus. The visit was hosted by Lian Ruan (MS '90, PhD '11), head librarian and director of international programs at the Illinois Fire Service Institute, who is the 2017 recipient of the ILA Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award. Read more.

iSchool hosts inaugural Comics Studies Society conference

The first Annual Conference of the Comics Studies Society, "Mind the Gaps! The Futures of the Field," was held August 9-11. This inaugural conference, cosponsored by the iSchool and The Center for Children's Books, brought together scholars, artists, and other members of the international comics studies community for critical conversations about the future of the field. Read more.

Beta Phi Mu celebrates 70 years

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of Beta Phi Mu, the library and information studies honor society. Founded in August 1948 by a group of leading librarians and library educators, it recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement among students. To celebrate, members are asked to consider making a gift—in a multiple or division of seventy—to the Alpha Chapter Beta Phi Mu Award Support Endowment Fund. Read more.

iSchool sets a new enrollment record

The iSchool has set a new enrollment record with more than 800 total students. Approximately sixty percent are enrolled in the MS/LIS program, which continues to attract talented and accomplished individuals. Diversity has increased as well, including a greater number of Latina/o and African American students. The success of our recruitment efforts also is credited to the rapid growth of the MS/IM program, which now includes 275 students. For the next admissions cycle, we plan to promote our recruitment scholarship to prospective students who are interested in both MS programs.

faculty news
Koh joins iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Kyungwon Koh joined the faculty in August 2018. Her areas of expertise include digital youth, the maker movement, learning and community engagement through libraries, human information behavior, and competencies for information professionals. Read more.

Diesner awarded Linowes Fellowship

Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Jana Diesner has been named a 2018-2019 Linowes Fellow by the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Illinois. The fellowship "provides exceptionally promising tenure-stream faculty with opportunities for innovation and discovery using the Cline Center's data holdings and/or analytic tools." Read more.

Ludäscher delivers keynote at ProvenanceWeek 2018

Bertram Ludäscher, professor and director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship, was the keynote speaker for the 7th International Provenance and Annotation Workshop (IPAW) during ProvenanceWeek 2018, which was held July 9-13 at King's College in London. Read more.


Bonn promoted to associate professor

Diesner and Mishra publish paper on NER tool for social media research

Tilley gives keynote on comics at Kent State

Downie gives keynote at scholarly book conference

Cooke featured at forum on minority recruitment and retention in LIS

Darch presents research at EASST 2018

McDowell shares storytelling expertise in assisting professionals

Turk presents Whole Tale project at SciPy 2018

Schneider presents research at argumentation conference


Visit our News and Events page to see the latest School news.

class notes
 Submit your own class note.

Beverly Allen ('87) is the author of the new book Practicing Oral History to Connect University to Community, published by Routledge.

Emily Bayci (MS '14) married Marek Mroczek on April 28, 2018, and has changed her name to Emily Mroczek.

Alessandra Affinito (MS '18) credits earning an MS degree with her promotion from a library information assistant to a librarian at the New York Public Library.

Quetzalli Barrientos (MS '15) moved to Medford, Massachusetts, and accepted the position of arts and humanities research and instruction librarian at Tisch Library at Tufts University. Before Tufts, she worked for three years at American University in Washington D.C., where she served as the first resident librarian for reference and instruction.

Angela Carstensen (MS '00), an independent school librarian for eighteen years, published The Readers' Advisory Guide to Teen Literature with ALA Editions in June. An active book reviewer, she has served YALSA as chair of the Michael L. Printz Award, Alex Award, and Nonfiction Award committees. She is also the author of Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (2011).

James Conley (MS '13) opened the "Gay is Good" exhibit for the Gerber/Hart and Archives in Chicago, for which he acted as lead curator. The exhibit has been mentioned in various press and in a USA Today piece about activism in the 60s. "Gay is Good" runs through September 2018.

Suzanna Conrad (MS '11) has been appointed associate dean for Digital Technologies and Resource Management at the University Library of California State University, Sacramento.

Sarah Park Dahlen (MS '09, PhD '09) co-founded a peer reviewed, open-access journal titled Research on Diversity in Youth Literature (RDYL)RDYL 1.1 was published June 1, 2018.

Eric Edwards (MS '06) recently completed a year as co-chair of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) Resource Sharing Committee. He is continuing as co-chair of the Illinois Library Association (ILA) Reporter Advisory Committee. In October, he will start a one-year term as Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries (IACRL) President.

In September 2017, Angie Fegenbush Rachels (MS '94) began a new position as public services librarian at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina.

In June 2018, Mandi Goodsett (MS '13) and Karen Schneider (MS '92) were named members of the ALA Organizational Effectiveness/Governance Review: Steering Committee, a broadly representative committee that will work to align ALA’s organizational structure, policies and rules with the association’s twenty-first century values, key action areas, and strategic directions.

Grete Graf (MS '17) has accepted the position of digital preservation librarian at Yale University.

Christopher Hamb (MS '04) was called home on June 14, 2018. One of his many accomplishments was serving as assistant professor of the Engineering Library. Chris lived his life and loved it. "C4 FOR LIFE!"

Liza Hickey (MS '99) accepted the position of manager of Technical Services and Digitization at the Peoria Public Library (IL).

Mary K. Johnson (MS '81) retired in December 2017 from Sno-Isle Libraries, Washington, after 15 years of service as a reference librarian at various branches. She now lives in Medford, Oregon, with her two birds. To keep busy, she currently volunteers at the library of the (Pacific) Northwest Bird Club in Medford.

Carl Lehnen (MS '13) was elected secretary of Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Forum (IACRL).

Joshua Lynch (MS '17) started a position as a visiting metadata services specialist for the Illinois DPLA Hub as part of the Content Access Management department of the University Library.

Benjamin Mead-Harvey (MS '11) recently accepted an adjunct lecturer position at the iSchool to teach financial management. He is very excited to reconnect with the School.

Matthew Murrey's (MS '03) first-book poetry manuscript, Bulletproof, was selected by Marylin Nelson as the winner of the 2018 Jacar Press Full-length Book Contest.

Cheryl L. Niemeier (MS '86) started a new position as firm-wide director of Knowledge & Research Services for the Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP law firm's Indianapolis office. Taft is a full service law firm of over 430 attorneys with offices in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.

Adria P. Olmi (MS '01) works as the chief for the Research and Instruction branch of the U.S. Army War College Library.

Thomas Padilla (MS '13), visiting digital research services librarian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, recently received a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the first awarded in the state of Nevada. The grant will fund his work as principal investigator on Collections as Data: Part to Whole, a three-year project.

Elizabeth Pierre-Louis (MS '03) was the 2015-2016 president of the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institution Libraries (ACURIL).

In June 2017, David Pilachowski (MS '73) retired after nineteen years as director of libraries at Williams College. He recently contributed a chapter on space planning in Leading in the New Academic Library and continues to consult on library buildings, an area of interest first developed in Walter Allen's Library Buildings course.

Hallie Pritchett (MS '06) is now the associate dean of libraries for Research and Learning at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

Sarah T. Roberts (PhD '14) will receive a 2018 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for her groundbreaking content moderation research. She also has been named a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, which includes a $200,000 stipend in support of her work from the Carnegie Corporation.

Pamela M. Salela (MS '99) has been the coordinator of the Central Illinois Nonprofit Resource Center, which is part of the Brookens Library at the University of Illinois Springfield. Additionally, she is the government documents librarian and liaison to numerous departments including Women & Gender Studies, where she frequently teaches credit courses of her own design.

Emily Frieda Shaw (MS '08, CAS '10) recently started a position as digitization manager for the Obama Foundation in Chicago, Illinois.

In January 2018, Sarah Shreeves (MS '02) became the vice dean of university libraries at the University of Arizona and is enjoying the transition from the tropics of Miami to the desert.

Holly Soboroff (MS '17) has accepted a position as instructional services librarian at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Anna Trammell (MS '15) has accepted a position as university archivist/special collections librarian at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

Michelle Urberg (MS '16) finished a ten-month contract working in audio and visual cataloging at University of Washington, which she used to enhance knowledge for her current position as a metadata librarian. She also is the principal investigator on a research grant from OLAC, which focuses on improving streaming video cataloging for content providers and for libraries.

Emilie Vrbancic (MS '14) has been appointed to senior assistant librarian at the University of Washington Libraries. She became the undergraduate experience librarian for Odegaard Undergraduate Library in 2016.


Visit our class notes page to see more.

upcoming events

The Center for Children's Books Annual Open House
September 13, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

iSchool Fall Open House
September 14, 11:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Galley Giveaway (Public)
September 18, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

iSchool @ Ohio State University’s 2018 Graduate and Professional School Expo
September 19, 12:00-4:00 p.m., Performance Hall and Great Hall Meeting Room, Ohio Union
Columbus, Ohio

iSchool @ Joint Conference of Librarians of Color 2018
September 27-29, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Welcome Weekend
September 28-30, Champaign, Illinois

MS/IM Virtual Information Session
October 3, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

MS/LIS Virtual Information Session
October 4, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

iSchool @ Illinois Library Association Annual Conference
October 10-11, Peoria Civic Center
Peoria, Illinois

iSchool Breakfast at ILA
October 11, Illinois Room, Marriott Pere Marquette Hotel
Peoria, Illinois