iSchool alumni honored by ILA

Four iSchool alumni—Kristine Hammerstrand (MS '79), Stacey Knight-Davis (MS '01), Heather McCammond-Watts (MS '95), and Brian Shepard (MS '05)—have been selected to receive awards from the Illinois Library Association (ILA).

Kristine Hammerstrand
Kristine Hammerstrand

Hammerstrand, director of user services at the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), is the recipient of the 2019 TBS, Inc. Technical Services Award. This annual award, presented by ILA's Resources and Technical Services Forum and sponsored by Today's Business Solutions, Inc., is awarded to an individual who has made a substantial contribution in the area of library technical services, principally with commitment to leadership, programming, and professional development in the technical services field. Hammerstrand has served in her role at CARLI since the consortium's formation in 2005. Her career began in 1983 with one of CARLI’s predecessor organizations, making her tenure with CARLI span 35 years. During her tenure, she has attracted more than 70 libraries to CARLI's"I-Share" library management system, dramatically increasing the number of members to 91 at present. Her responsibilities include the online catalog, library management systems, discovery layers, and all the associated data that must work together seamlessly to ensure effective discovery and delivery of library material to patrons, students, faculty, and staff. Hammerstrand is a leader who regularly shares her knowledge by serving on library system and Illinois State Library committees that expand resource sharing initiatives to statewide constituencies. Currently, she is working to implement the Alma system for 90+ libraries across the state—an effort that not only demonstrates her leadership ability but also her commitment to resource sharing and technical cooperation.

Stacey Knight-Davis
Stacey Knight-Davis

Knight-Davis, head of library technology services at Eastern Illinois University's Booth Library, is the recipient of the 2019 ILA Reference Services Award. The award, sponsored by Ancel Glink, is given annually for excellence in providing assistance to library users as they seek and use information. One example of Knight-Davis' dedication is her work with STEP (Students with Autism Transitional Education Program), a specialized library support program for students with autism. Providing cultural and educational value, Knight-Davis has spearheaded a number of exhibits, including a Quidditch display for "Twenty Year of Harry Potter: Celebrating a Phenomenon" and "Designs of Duty," a traveling exhibit on Illinois veterans and their service-related tattoos that received national recognition. Students, faculty, and community members rely on Knight-Davis' technical acumen to assist in troubleshooting software, equipment, and other technology-related services. Furthermore, she routinely visits courses to ensure students can locate the information they need. Knight-Davis has published a chapter on faculty-library collaboration without assigned textbooks in the book, The Evolution of Affordable Content Efforts in the Higher Education Environment; this chapter speaks to the campus-wide program she planned and developed called “The Flu Then and Now.” Her professional roles include serving on the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Great Midwest Technology Working Group and as president of Health Science Librarians of Illinois.

Heather McCammond-Watts
Heather McCammond-Watts

McCammond-Watts, head of the Youth Department at the Glen Ellyn Public Library, is the recipient of the 2019 Davis Cup Award from the ILA's Youth Services Forum. This annual award, sponsored by the ABDO Publishing Company, recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in library services to youth. McCammond-Watts began her library career as a children's librarian at Chicago Public Library and then became manager of Children's Services at Oak Park Public Library. She later served as the director at both Midlothian and Wilmette Public Libraries. She is an ILA member and also serves as a representative for the Library Administrators Conference of Northern Illinois (LACONI). Throughout her career, McCammond-Watts has raised the bar for services to youth and families in libraries with her passion for team building, play-based learning, early literacy, and community engagement. Since May 2018, she has led her Youth Department team at Glen Ellyn Public Library, by her example and her teaching, to provide outstanding service to children and families. She has been described by her peers as a leader, mentor, and inspiration; a natural storyteller, lifelong learner, and teacher; and an early literacy champion, community builder, and hero. 

Brian Shepard
Brian Shepard

Shepard, executive director of the Indian Trails Public Library District, is the recipient of the 2019 ILA Librarian of the Year Award. The award, sponsored by Today's Business Solution Inc., recognizes a librarian's distinguished service and leadership in Illinois Libraries. Shepard, a well-respected and influential library leader, believes innovation and customer-focused services create a vibrant and impactful public library. During his five-year tenure at Indian Trails Library, he improved relationships with community organizations, implemented a summer lunch program, brought in a social worker to assist members, created a paid parental leave policy, developed an organizational culture statement, secured a grant of $100,000 for the installation of solar panels, and led a $14.3 million building renovation and expansion that was over six years in the making. The renovation and expansion was highlighted in the Illinois Library Association Reporter and the "Library Design Showcase" in American Libraries Magazine. The project featured green initiatives, a makerspace and digital media studio, interactive early literacy space, middle school area, study rooms, ESL and training labs, a drive-up window, increased parking, and partnership with the local park district for a neighboring park/playground. Outside the community and library he serves, Shepard is active in the library profession through service and mentoring. He is the current ILA Board treasurer and co-host of an ILA Legislative Breakfast. He previously has served as a member of the ILA Public Policy Committee and on the steering committee of Elevate, the Illinois Libraries Leadership Program. He has spoken at numerous events, including ILA conferences, and co-chaired the rewriting of Serving Our Public: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries, a valuable resource for all public libraries. 

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