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news & notes: january 2019

Oates receives digital preservation award

Anna Oates (MS '18) is the recipient of the National Records of Scotland Award for the Most Outstanding Student Work in Digital Preservation for her master's thesis work on the PDF/A standard. She received the award on November 29 at a ceremony at the Amsterdam Museum, as part of an international conference hosted by the Dutch Digital Heritage Network and the Amsterdam Museum on World Digital Preservation Day. Read more.

2018 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award given to Iowa Library Association

The Iowa Library Association has received the 2018 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award for taking a leadership role in several highly visible challenges to intellectual freedom. The award is given annually by the faculty of the iSchool at Illinois and cosponsored by Libraries Unlimited. Read more.

Family Connections: The Hahns at the iSchool

A degree from the iSchool has become somewhat of a family tradition for the Hahns. Four members of the family are alumni, two are current students at the School, and their connections to the field of librarianship run deep. "It's great that we're able to continue to this shared family connection as adults and contribute to the field in a meaningful way," said Tina Hahn (MS '17). Read more.

Recent graduates—Stay connected!
Congratulations to our December graduates! As you start your new career and enter the next phase of your life, please remember to stay in touch with us. The iSchool offers many ways to stay connected with former classmates as well as to keep up with School news and trends in the field. Find out how you can stay connected on the New Graduates page.
Downs Award Reception at ALA Midwinter

Join the iSchool for the Downs Award Reception during the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association in Seattle. The gathering will honor the 2018 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award recipient, the Iowa Library Association. The award reception will take place from 5:30-7:15 p.m. Saturday, January 26, in Room Willow A of the Sheraton Grand Seattle.

Field trip and reception in St. Louis

Explore St. Louis with the iSchool! Come along for a field trip to the St. Louis Botanical Garden, followed by a student and alumni reception at the Schlafly Taproom on Friday, February 15. St. Louis alumni are encouraged to join us. Champaign-Urbana area students and alumni are encouraged to register for the bus to and from St. Louis for a $25 nonrefundable fee.

iSchool Networking & Career Fair

The second annual iSchool Networking & Career Fair will be held at Loyola University’s Cudahy Library on March 8 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. We are counting on alumni to help spread the word and encourage their organizations to register and recruit iSchool talent. Whether your organization is hiring now or in the future, it is a great opportunity to build your brand with students and encourage them to apply. Along with the top LIS talent in the nation, we have data scientists, business intelligence consultants, IT specialists, and UX researchers. A networking reception will be held after the fair from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The registration deadline is February 1.

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, discussion on professional activities, and updates (some serious, many humorous) about the School and University. It’s a great way to reconnect!

Elsessers invest $1 million in the School of Information Sciences

A $1-million dollar gift from Lionelle (BA, LAS '66; MS, LIS '67) and James (BS, Business '66; MS, Business '67) Elsesser will expand the iSchool's academic programs and support the recruitment of promising students. The gift will be invested in the School's new programs, and that investment will generate $50,000 annually for the Katharine L. Sharp Scholarships, which will be available to students in all iSchool programs.

The gift from the Elsessers will enhance the education of students by supporting the infrastructure of the academic programs. This infrastructure includes offering additional, innovative courses taught by experienced, talented faculty and making classes available both on campus and online. 

"We are extremely grateful for this significant gift from the Elsessers, who have given so generously of their time and resources to benefit our teaching and research mission," said Dean Allen Renear.

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

Thanks for your support! 

The iSchool Campaign Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have contributed to the success of our "With Illinois" campaign in 2018. Your generosity provides our students and School with opportunities that we would not otherwise have. Our students have attempted to reach each of you by phone to thank you personally but were not always successful. Please know that we are grateful for all you do for our School.

Lambert grateful for iSchool experience

According to MS student Warren Lambert, the "rigorous and challenging" Leep program is excellent preparation for his professional journey as an archivist or special collections librarian. As a gesture of his gratitude, he recently made a monetary donation to the iSchool."Getting the chance to give back to the iSchool is my way of saying 'thank you' for the chance to be in the MS/LIS program and to help my fellow students with their academic goals." Read more.

New iSchool scholarship fund

The iSchool is pleased to announce the Class of ’75 Scholarship Fund. This fund was established by two anonymous donors from the Class of ’75 to help make education more affordable for iSchool students. Students who demonstrate an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math will be eligible for support through this scholarship. The donors encourage others from their class to participate. For more information contact Jill Gengler at

student life
Get to know Sharon Han, MS student

It was her interest in understanding how people seek and use information, particularly STEM-related information, that inspired Sharon Han to pursue her MS/LIS degree. At Illinois, she has gained experience as a graduate assistant in the Funk ACES Library and a research assistant for the Young Researchers project. Read more.

Internship Spotlight: NASA

Since June, iSchool MS/LIS student Michael Pritz has been a full-time Library & Archives intern at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The position is part of NASA's Pathways Program, which is essentially their recruitment program for current students and recent graduates. Read more.


Project on international students and libraries leads to graduate research award

iSchool master's students Laura Rocco and Elise Feltman are the recipients of the first Robert Howerton Graduate Student Research Award from the University Library for their project, "Understanding How International Students Interact with Library Spaces, Staff, and Services." Read more

Internship Spotlight: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Transportation Library

MS/LIS student Aileen Nolan gained software skills in data visualization tools and experience in creating data management plans during her time as a program and repository assessment intern for the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Transportation Library. Read more.

Mishra wins award for best student paper

PhD student Shubhanshu Mishra won the Best Student Paper Award at the Workshop on Informetric and Scientometric Research (SIG/MET), which was held on November 10 in conjunction with the ASIS&T 2018 Annual Meeting. The award recognizes achievement in student presentation in the following criteria: design of the study, originality, relevance to the workshop, and adherence to research ethics. Read more.

Advancement experience humbling, empowering for master’s student

As the graduate assistant for the iSchool's Office of Advancement, Joanna Pike has learned technical skills, such as finding her way around the University's complex alumni database, but perhaps more importantly, she has gained a new perspective on the importance of giving. Read more.

around the School
Chambers named associate dean for administration

Sonya Chambers will join the iSchool on January 22 as associate dean for administration. In her new role, she will provide executive leadership, oversight, and coordination for the School's administrative units, and work closely with the dean and the other associate deans to advance iSchool strategic initiatives. Read more.

Digital Preservation class assists the Carpentries with digital stewardship

Students enrolled in Postdoctoral Research Associate Rhiannon Bettivia's Digital Preservation (IS 586) class can expect to work on real-life projects. Over the course of the summer and fall 2018 semesters, students worked on a project for the Carpentries, a volunteer community of over one thousand instructors worldwide who are teaching scientists basic lab skills for research computing. Read more.

December Convocation

The iSchool held its convocation on December 16 and welcomed almost forty new alumni to our community. The convocation address was given by Elisandro Cabada (MS '17), medical and bioengineering librarian and liaison to the Carle College of Medicine at the University of Illinois.

faculty news
Stodden research focuses on providing code

A new research project conducted by Associate Professor Victoria Stodden and Illinois Computer Science Professor Darko Marinov aims to answer key questions about how researchers can reliably share the code used to generate their data rather than the more costly data itself. The National Science Foundation is funding the work, providing $300,000 over two years. Stodden, who also is an Illinois Computer Science faculty affiliate, is the PI on the project. Read more

Introducing Visiting Scholar Liliana Giusti Serra

Liliana Giusti Serra is a visiting scholar at the iSchool, on sabbatical from her doctoral studies at São Paulo State University (UNESP) and job at Prima Informática in Brazil. Her research interests at UNESP include the semantic web and e-books, and at the iSchool, she is working with Assistant Professor Jodi Schneider to learn how linked data can help manage e-books. Read more.

Diesner gives keynote, chairs workshop at computational social science symposium

Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Jana Diesner served as a keynote speaker at the first workshop on reframing research at the European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science, which was held December 5-7 in Cologne, Germany. The theme of the 2018 symposium was "Bias and Discrimination." Read more.

Shasteen receives the 2018 Polestar Award

Adjunct Lecturer Ruth Shasteen (CAS '13) has received the 2018 Polestar Award from the Association of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE) for her contributions to school librarianship. Shasteen served as district librarian at Neoga CUSD and high school librarian at Central A&M High School in Moweaqua, both in the state of Illinois. Read more.

Knox receives Community Impact Award for makerspace work

Associate Professor Emily Knox received a Community Impact Award from the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana for her work with Makerspace Urbana. As a key-holding member of Makerspace Urbana, Knox engages visitors and teaches them how to do things, in addition to working with her fellow members to make the space inclusive and inviting. Read more.


Downie delivered keynote at ICADL2018

Mak discussed the sensorial document in Sydney keynote

Schneider discussed problem citations at Crossref LIVE18


Visit our newsroom page to see the latest School news.

class notes
 Submit your own class note.

Tegan Beese (MS '18) has been appointed to the 2020 Michael L. Printz Award Committee.

In December 2018, Bethany Corbett (MS '99) was named chief branch officer for the Orange County Library System in Orlando, Florida, where she will be responsible for administering seven of the fifteen branch locations. She has been with the system for eighteen years in various managerial roles.

Alyssa Denneler (MS '18) accepted a position as the Scholars' Commons librarian at Indiana University. In this capacity, she works to create programming for graduate students, including workshops, receptions, and exhibits, while also serving at the reference desk and as part of the library's social media team.

Wanda Dole (MS '75) passed away on November 23, 2018. She held library positions at several universities and was the dean of the Ottenheimer Library at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock when she retired.

Elizabeth Dupuis (MS '92) received the 2018 Distinguished Librarian Award from the Librarians' Association of the University of California, Berkeley, recognizing excellence in librarianship, specifically as it furthers the university's teaching and research missions.

Sarah Erekson (MS '04) joined Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida as the new regional government documents librarian. She is the regional coordinator for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Brian Flota's (MS '13) essay titled, “How I Left My PhD in English Behind and Learned to Love the Stacks,” was recently published as part of a collection of essays in Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM (2018, Joseph Fruscione and Kelly J. Baker, eds.).

Sarah Hayes (MS '18) started her first post-master's position as a graduate research assistant in the Research Library at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. She hopes to meet lots of fellow Illinois graduates while working in the Southwest U.S.

Joan Herron (MS '75) is retired after 35 years at Eureka High School in Eureka, Illinois. She is currently working part time at Eureka Public Library, dabbling in cataloging, YA services, circulation and the children's department as well as cosponsoring the high school book club in her "old" library.

After many years of research, writing, and hunting for a publisher, Dee Michel's (MS '82) book, Friends of Dorothy: Why Gay Boys and Gay Men Love The Wizard of Oz, is now available. Dee would love to hear from classmates, gay Oz fans, and others.

Katie Noonan (MS '10) is an elementary school librarian in Oak Park, Illinois, spending her days teaching about books, digital citizenship, robots, STEAM, informational literacy, and more. She recently became National Board Certified, which was demanding but taught her a lot about teaching. She enjoys her 500 students and the joy they bring to the library.

Natalie (Bazan) Starosta (MS '10) began as director of the North Riverside (IL) Public library in February 2018, married her husband James in May, and is expecting her first child in March 2019.

Barbara Swain (MS '66) passed away on November 24, 2018. Barbara worked and retired as head librarian for the home economics library at the University of Illinois. 

Elise Tanner (MS '15) started working at the Center for Arkansas History and Culture, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, in October 2018 as the director of digital projects and initiatives.

Amanda Todd (MS '17) recently began a new position as director of the Dominy Memorial Library in Fairbury, Illinois. She is excited to serve her hometown community.

David Tyckoson (MS '78) writes, "Forty years ago when I graduated, I knew that libraries were in for some changes, but never expected the amount and range of innovations that have happened since then. This is a great time to be a librarian—and it is just going to get better."

Michael Widener (MS '74) moderated a national Webinar in July 2018 for the American Bar Association on the New Localism and marijuana law. He is an adjunct professor of business law and ethics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. His paper, "Populist Placemaking: Grounds for Open Government-Citizen Spatial Regulation Discourse," will be published in Volume 119 of the West Virginia Law Review in early 2019.


Visit our class notes page to see more.

upcoming events

Downs Award Reception
January 26, 5:30-7:15 p.m.
Room Willow A, Sheraton Grand Seattle
1400 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA

MS/IM Virtual Information Session
February 6, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

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

Midwinter Getaway: Professional Development for School Librarians
February 16-17
On campus

Pre-Sale: The Center for Children's Book's 18th Annual Book Sale
February 17, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Pre-sale tickets will be on sale Monday, January 28 - Monday, February 11
On campus

The Center for Children's Books 18th Annual Book Sale
February 18-20, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. daily
On campus

Welcome Weekend
February 22-24
On campus

MS/IM Virtual Information Session
March 6, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

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

iSchool Networking & Career Fair in Chicago
March 8, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Loyola Cudahy Library
1032 W Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660

2019 Gryphon Lecture
March 8, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
"Taking a Teen-Centric Approach to Adolescent Online Safety"
Presented by Pamela Wisniewski, University of Central Florida
On campus

iSchool Convocation Ceremony
May 12, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Foellinger Auditorium
On campus & online