Franks named 2021 ALA Century Scholar

Mary Franks

MS/LIS student Mary Franks has been named the 2021 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Century Scholarship. The scholarship supports students with disabilities, providing funds for services or accommodations that will enable them to successfully complete their MS or PhD in an ALA-accredited library and information science program.

"I found out about this scholarship from exploring the ALA.org website. I thought to look there by searching online for how to find graduate scholarships. It may seem simple, but the result was amazing, to say the least," Franks said of her new $2,500 scholarship.

A writer who adores books, Franks decided to pursue a degree that would lead to a career where she could be surrounded by books.

"Since I have many chronic illnesses, a career where I can use my mind without overtaxing my body is perfect. I worked for four years at my undergraduate library as a work-study student," she said.

Franks earned her bachelor's degree in English with a minor in philosophy at Castleton University in Vermont. Beth Bidlack (MS/LIS '10), who at the time served as director of the university's Calvin Coolidge Library, encouraged her to apply to the iSchool at Illinois.

"The iSchool is a godsend, because I can obtain my degree without worrying too much about whether I can even afford it," said Franks.

The topics that interest her the most include reference and archives, especially reparative work. After she earns her master's degree, Franks would like to work in either a public or university library.

"I would like to get into the field as quickly as possible, applying my newly learned skills and knowledge as soon as I can. Then I can see how I might add to or change my skill set depending on my environment," she said.

Franks is currently working on a young adult novel about magic and mental health, which she hopes to have published by the time she graduates.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

New journal article examines vaccination misinformation on social media

Research conducted by Assistant Professor Jessie Chin's Adaptive Cognition and Interaction Design Lab (ACTION) provided the foundation for an article recently published in the high-impact Journal of Medical Internet Research. PhD student Tre Tomaszewski is the first author on the peer-reviewed article, "Identifying False Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Information and Corresponding Risk Perceptions from Twitter: Advanced Predictive Models."

Tre Tomaszewski

Kathryn Harris named Illinois Library Luminary

Kathryn Harris (MS/LIS '71), former director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, has been inducted as an Illinois Library Luminary. The Illinois Library Luminary program, an initiative of the Illinois Library Association (ILA), recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to Illinois libraries.

Kathryn Harris

Noble named MacArthur Fellow

Internet studies and digital media scholar Safiya Noble (MS '09, PhD '12) has been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Noble, an associate professor in the Department of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is among 25 fellows who will each receive $625,000 in unrestricted support over the next five years.

Safiya Noble

Scavenger hunt builds community

iSchool students learned more about campus and each other at the second annual iSchool Scavenger Hunt. The event, which was held September 3-10, was open to on-campus students in all programs. Students who opted to participate were placed in small groups of peers in the same degree program. Students were given a list of ten campus locations to find, such as the Alma Mater, Morrow Plots, and Main Library. In addition to checking a point of interest off their lists, the students would take a group selfie at the spot.

Alma Mater Group at the iSchool scavenger hunt