Library School Alumni Association Announces 2012 Awards

The Library School Alumni Association (LSAA) at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has announced the recipients of its annual awards.

Becky Lyon (MS ’72) has been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Each year this award is given to an alum who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of library and information science. Lyon joined the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in 1972, thereafter heading network services at the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; she returned to NLM in 1984. At NLM, Lyon coordinated the national deployment of DOCLINE (NLM’s automated interlibrary loan request and referral system) and played a major role in the expansion of online outreach initiatives such as PubMed and MedlinePlus. Lyon served as deputy associate director for library operations at NLM from 1999 until her retirement in 2011, when she became a health information consultant. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and under Lyon’s stewardship, NLM was pivotal in recognizing the importance of libraries as centers of disaster preparedness and response. Her continuing service to develop a medical library network in Africa is a testament to her commitment to provide public access to meaningful scientific knowledge.

Matt Cheney (MS ’04) has been awarded the Leadership Award, given to an alum who has graduated in the past ten years and who has shown leadership in the field of library and information science. As managing partner of Chapter Three, a Drupal consulting firm in San Francisco, Cheney has produced websites for nonprofit organizations, premier companies, and academic institutions; organized Drupal conferences; and contributed thousands of lines of code. In 2010, Cheney founded Pantheon Systems, a Drupal hosting platform that provides development tools, best-of-breed hosting, and application support to web developers around the world. Cheney’s innovative work with Drupal, as well as other initiatives to provide creative and sustainable work processes, stands as a beacon of intellectual and practical engagement within the library profession.

Kevin Hawkins (MS ’03) also has been awarded the Leadership Award. As head of digital publishing production at the University of Michigan Library, Hawkins acts as a librarian, programmer, editor, and project manager. He is responsible for MPublishing's workflow for the conversion of born-digital scholarly literature to standard file formats, thereby ensuring their long-term preservation. In 2005, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to work with digital libraries in Russia; from 2009 to 2010, he worked as a visiting metadata librarian at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Hawkins’s work with digital preservation, standardization, and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) demonstrates a longstanding commitment to providing sustainable scholarly resources and services across disciplines.

Marianne Steadley (MS ’01) has been selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award, given to a friend of GSLIS (including faculty, staff, alumni, and non-alumni) who has served LSAA or GSLIS in an exceptional way. After serving twenty-two years at the Naval Communications Station in Stockton, California, with four of those years spent as a commanding officer, Steadley worked as a campus coordinator for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation at the University of Illinois at Springfield. In 2001, she started the Continuing Professional Development program at GSLIS. Since assuming the position of continuing professional development program director, GSLIS alumni, students, and other professionals have benefited from her commitment to providing innovative programs, course offerings, and opportunities for professional development. This dedication is felt at all levels of service—organizing workshops on special collections, developing marketing strategies, managing continuing education programs, working with emerging technologies, advising, and teaching. Steadley’s continued engagement in these programs and collaborative initiatives have made for a richer experience and understanding by professionals of ongoing developments in the field of library and information science.

Victor Benitez (MS ’11) has been awarded the LSAA Student Award, given to recognize a student who “caught the spirit” of the library and information science profession while employed in a library setting and so chose to enter the master’s program. Benitez came to GSLIS via LEEP while working at the Newberry Library in Chicago, connecting teachers with collections and scholars. Benitez’s strong commitment to scholarship and service as well as his interest in facilitating information exchange was further developed via coursework and as an intern at the Smithsonian. Now a full-time reference and instruction librarian at Corcoran, Benitez is a model for others to “catch the spirit.”

These awards were given on June 24, 2012, at a reception held at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.

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