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news & notes: february 2020

Cubs fan, researcher Bales retires from librarianship

As baseball teams gear up for spring training this month, Jack Bales (MS '74) will begin another season of following—and researching—the Chicago Cubs, a team whose history he knows well. Bales, a reference and humanities librarian, combined his expert research skills and interest in the Cubs to author a book on the team's early history. Read more.

Illini Days 
Professorship to support history of libraries and information professions

For more than a century, the iSchool has been, and continues to be, a top-tier school for preparing leaders for the library and information professions. Now the iSchool is pleased to announce the establishment of a new endowed professorship, the Professorship in the History of Libraries and the Information Professions. Read more.

Rachel Magee 
Gregory Knott appointed as U of I secretary

Gregory Knott (MS '17), an administrator for nearly two decades at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a graduate of two U of I System universities, has been appointed secretary of the Board of Trustees and the University, President Tim Killeen announced. Read more.

Shaping the Narrative: Carey Cranston

Alumnus Carey Cranston (MS '05) oversees the American Writers Museum, the only national museum dedicated to celebrating the written word. The museum includes exhibits that trace how, over time, an American voice has developed.  Read more.

Alumni selected as ALA Emerging Leaders

Three iSchool alumni have been selected by the American Library Association (ALA) to participate in its 2020 class of Emerging Leaders. Elizabeth (Lizzy) Boden (MS '18), Teresa Moreno (MS '19), and Jodi Silverman (MS '16) are included in this year's class of fifty individuals from across the country. Read more.

iSchool @ upcoming conferences

We hope you can join us at one of these upcoming conferences:

  • IDEAcon 2020, Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center, February 24-27
    Please stop by the Booth #516.

  • Public Library Association conference, Nashville, February 26-28
    Be sure to look for the iSchool in Booth #1710. We’ll have fun gifts and want to hear all of your exciting updates!
Save the date: Alumni events in Arizona

Tucson Alumni Luncheon
Join us at FEAST at 3719 E. Speedway in Tucson on February 28 to hear about the With Illinois Campaign, share your stories, learn about the latest developments at the iSchool, and make some great, local connections! Additional information will be provided soon on the iSchool website. RSVP to ischool-advancement@illinois.edu.

Illini Days Arizona
Join the University of Illinois on February 29 at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch for alumni college—faculty lectures and University updates—starting at 12:00 p.m. and an alumni reception at 6:00 p.m. Learn more and register.

Phoenix-Scottsdale Area Alumni Brunch
Michèle Cloonan (MS '84, PhD '88) and Sid Berger (MS '87) have graciously agreed to host a brunch in their home on March 1. Please see iSchool website for updated information. RSVP to ischool-advancement@illinois.edu.

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!

Bessant gift to promote career success for LIS students

Donna Bessant (MS '70) wants today's library and information science students to succeed in their chosen profession and experience the "joyful rewards" of working with young people, as she did during her career. To lend them a hand, she has directed a portion of her estate to establish scholarships for iSchool students in need. The scholarships will support everyday expenses and advance the short- and long-term goals for students who plan to work with children and young adult services in libraries.

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

students in classroom 
MS/LIS recruitment update

The iSchool has surpassed application numbers for the MS/LIS degree compared to Fall 2019, receiving nearly 350 applications. Our School continues to attract high-achieving students. In addition, we increased the number of historically underrepresented minority students, specifically Latina/o and Native Americans: Native American applicants increased by 75 percent while Latina/o applicants increased by 30 percent.

Pinkney receives grant from the Caxton Club

MS/LIS student Annabel Pinkney has been awarded a grant from the Caxton Club, a not-for-profit organization devoted to the study and promotion of the book arts. The grant will support her project, "Advanced Studies of the Book Structure," in which Pinkney is creating a portfolio of at least ten book repair treatments of varying difficulty. Read more.

Internship Spotlight: PwC

Recent MS/IM graduate Devashish Sahay discusses his summer internship as a technology consultant at PwC. After earning his degree in December, he returned to the company to work full time as technology consultant. Read more.

Dominguez receives award from SLA Military Libraries Division

Leep student Meredith Dominguez has received the 2019 Military Libraries Training Workshop Student Award from the Military Libraries Division of the Special Libraries Association (SLA). Read more.

Student consulting team examines impact of autonomous vehicles on insurance

In fall semester 2019, students in Associate Professor Yoo-Seong Song's Applied Business Research class (IS 540) worked with COUNTRY Financial at the Research Park on a project examining the impact of autonomous vehicles and smart cities on the insurance industry. Read more.

Gorrell coauthors paper on designing trans technology

As a Research Experience for Master's Students (REMS) Fellow at the University of Michigan School of Information last summer, MS/LIS student Dykee Gorrell worked with Oliver Haimson, assistant professor at Michigan, on a research project about trans technology design. Read more.

Get to know Robyn Whitlock, MS student

According to Leep student Robyn Whitlock, the iSchool's school librarian licensure program has done "an amazing job" of preparing her for a career as a school librarian. Her advice to students considering school librarianship is "go for it!" As she nears the end of her program, Whitlock "couldn't be more excited about the future." Read more.

New administrative roles for Knox and Pintar

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Associate Professor Emily Knox has been named interim associate dean for academic affairs and Teaching Associate Professor Judith Pintar has been appointed to the role of acting BS/IS program director. Read more.

Bulletin announces 2019 Blue Ribbon winners

The staff at The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB) has announced the 2019 Blue Ribbons, their choices for the best of children's and young adult literature for the year. Read more.

McComas, Peugh, and Sharp join the iSchool’s IT team

Whitney McComas, Brett Peugh, and Lindsey Sharp have joined the iSchool as an instructional technology support specialist, endpoint services specialist, and senior instructional technology support specialist, respectively.

Annual book sale to offer thousands of children’s books

The Center for Children's Books (CCB) at the iSchool will host its Nineteenth Annual Book Sale from February 17-19, 2020. Available titles will represent the full spectrum of publishing in children's fiction and nonfiction. Sale hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day. Read more.

Nurmikko-Fuller selected as iSchool research fellow

Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller, senior lecturer at the Australian National University, has been selected by the iSchool faculty as a research fellow for a two-year term. Read more.

This Is MY Fort! and What Is Inside THIS Box? receive Gryphon Award

This Is MY Fort! and What Is Inside THIS Box?, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Olivier Tallec, and published by Scholastic Press, are the winners of the 2020 Gryphon Award for Children's Literature. Read more.

Library and iSchool diversity committees receive grant

The University Library's Diversity Committee and the iSchool's Diversity Committee are recipients of a Strategic Programs Initiative Funds grant to support programs on "Becoming a Trans Inclusive Library." Read more.

NSF grant to accelerate synthetic biology discoveries

A multi-institutional $1.2M grant from the National Science Foundation will accelerate discovery and exploration of the synthetic biology design space. The two-year project will bring together a multidisciplinary team with the goal of delivering effective and efficient information access to researchers. Professor and Associate Dean for Research J. Stephen Downie serves as a principal investigator on the project. Read more.

Chan receives Fiddler Innovation Faculty Fellowship & Fulbright grant

iSchool Associate Professor Anita Say Chan is the recipient of a 2019-2020 Fiddler Innovation Faculty Fellowship from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant to spend three weeks at Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia.

Bashir receives an additional $4M from NSF for cybersecurity scholarships

A recent funding extension of $4 million from NSF will allow the Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program (ICSSP) to continue for at least four more years. This year, the scholarship program was open to iSchool students for the first time, and the first recipient was MS/IM student Mark Cockburn. Read more.

Book chapter coauthored by Knox discusses FOI requests in research design

Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Emily Knox has coauthored a chapter in the book Freedom of Information and Social Science Research Design, which was published by Routledge in December. Read more.

What we can all learn from children’s literature

In this Q&A interview, Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem describes her research and explains how studying children's literature offers new perspectives on history. Read more.

Ian Brooks 
Kilicoglu presents research in invited lecture

Associate Professor Halil Kilicoglu gave an invited lecture on February 6 at the University of Kentucky Institute for Biomedical Informatics, addressing how biomedical language processing and text mining (bioNLP) techniques can be used to promote the rigor, reproducibility, and transparency of biomedical research. Read more.

Knutson shares outcomes of U.S.-Russia Library Dialogue at Conference

Adjunct Assistant Professor Ellen Knutson (MS '02, PhD '08) was part of the U.S. delegation to the Dartmouth Conference: U.S.-Russia Citizen Dialogue in the 21st Century, which took place on December 3-5 in Dayton, Ohio. Read more.

Brooks discusses health informatics at ITU conference

Ian Brooks, director of the Center for Health Informatics and iSchool research scientist, gave an invited talk at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Kaleidoscope academic conference, which was held on December 4-6 in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more.


Visit our newsroom page to see the latest School news.

 Submit your own class note.

Sierra Campbell (MS '13) has accepted a position as a research and instruction librarian at Lewis University.

Jarrett Dapier (MS '15) was featured in an article about school safety in the U.S., published in The Guardian on December 2.

Leah Dodd (MS '05) joined the Olin Library at Cornell University as the research services lead librarian in January 2020. She was previously the director of Willard Public Library in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Marcie Dowling (MS '07) was named director of Polk County Libraries in North Carolina.

Lisa German (MS '92) will be the next university librarian and dean of libraries at the University of Minnesota, effective February 28, 2020. She has served as the dean of libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair at the University of Houston Libraries since 2015.

Jim Hahn (MS '07, CAS '11) started a new job as head of metadata research for the University of Pennsylvania Libraries in January 2020. His work will develop a vision for the services, technologies, and policies to enhance the discovery of collections, following international standards and best practices for linked data and metadata. He will work toward implementation of the vision, including transformation of existing library metadata into new schemas, and training of cataloging and metadata librarians in the creation and use of linked data.

Jen Jacobs (MS '16) started a new job in August as a librarian at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Illinois (Township High School District 113).

Kevin Kelley (MS '18) has been promoted from children's librarian to afterschool program coordinator, which is a new position at the New York Public Library.

Jane Kelly (MS '18) recently left her position as web archiving assistant for the #metoo Digital Media Collection at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Harvard, to become the records and accessioning archivist at Tufts University's Digital Collections and Archives. She will be managing all transfers, whether analog or digital, from both campus partners and outside donors. She will also continue to serve as a steering committee member for the Electronic Records Section of the Society of American Archivists through 2021.

Miriam Larson (MS '11, CAS '13) has been named executive director of the Independent Media Center in Urbana.

Dallas Long (MS '02) was named dean of the Milner Library at Illinois State University on January 31.

Christopher Nixon (MS '15) started a new position as a user experience researcher at Facebook in Menlo Park, California. He credits his experience working as a research assistant with iSchool Professor Michael Twidale as key to getting this position.

John Richmond (MS '79) has retired after 18 years as head librarian at Alpha Park Library in Bartonville, Illinois.

Ruth Riley (MS '85) has been named the 2019 recipient of the Gerald J. Oppenheimer Cornerstone Award by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL). The award is given by the association's board of directors for a notable or important contribution that has assisted AAHSL in achieving its mission or had a significant impact on the profession of academic health sciences librarianship.

Kelly Schulz (MS '18) has accepted a job with the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center as the new assistant archivist.

Janette Shaffer (MS '01) started her position as assistant state librarian for library advancement at the Vermont Department of Libraries in November 2019.

Caitlin Stamm (MS '15) recently joined the faculty of the Pius XII Memorial Library at Saint Louis University as an archivist. Prior to this, she worked as a reference librarian at the General Theological Seminary in New York City.

Cindy Tian (MS'19) accepted a position as metadata services librarian at Kresge Law Library at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.

M. Elizabeth (Van Dyke) Van Jacob (MS '88) was named library director for Ivy Tech Community College at South Bend/Elkhart, Indiana, on January 31, 2020.

Melissa Villa-Nicholas (PhD '16) will be the keynote speaker for Library Instruction West 2020 at the Universty of Washington, Seattle, on July 23.

Bei Yu (PhD '06), Katchmar-Wilhelm Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, has been selected as a Microsoft Investigator Fellow.


Visit our class notes page to see more.


The Center for Children's Books Annual Book Sale: Pre-Sale
February 16, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
On campus

The Center for Children's Books 19th Annual Book Sale
February 17-19, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
On campus

iSchool at IDEAcon 2020 Conference
February 24-27, Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center
1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Visit us at Booth #516

iSchool at 2020 Public Library Association Conference
February 26-28, Halls B–D of the Music City Center
201 Fifth Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203
Visit us at Booth #1710

Tucson Alumni Luncheon
February 28, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., FEAST
3719 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85716

Phoenix-Scottsdale Area Alumni Brunch
March 1, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Please RSVP to ischool-advancement@illinois.edu

iSchool Master's Student Showcase
April 3, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
On campus

2020 Gryphon Lecture featuring Sarah Park Dahlen
April 17, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
More details to come

iSchool Convocation Ceremony and Reception
May 17, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
More details to come

iSchool@ALA 2020
June 26-29, McCormick Place Convention Center
2301 S King Dr., Chicago, IL 60616
Visit us at Booth #4740