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

Senior Spotlight: Colton Keiser

After graduating with his BSIS degree in May, Colton Keiser will head to St. Louis to work as an internal audit and financial advisory consultant with Protiviti. He gained experience in auditing while working as an intern for the Montgomery County Public Defender in his hometown of Hillsboro, Illinois.

Colton Keiser

Winning exhibit features recipes from across the globe

MSLIS students Yung-hui Chou, Alice Tierney-Fife, and Elizabeth Workman are the winners of this year’s Graduate Student Exhibit Contest, sponsored by the University of Illinois Library. Their exhibit, "Culture and Cuisine in Diaspora: A Hidden Library Collection," displays items from seven campus libraries and highlights research and recreational material centered on traditional recipes from across the globe. The exhibit is on display in the library's Marshall Gallery through the end of April and also available online.

Trainor receives the Karen Wold Level the Learning Field Award

Senior Lecturer Kevin Trainor has been selected by the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) to receive the 2024 Karen Wold Level the Learning Field Award. This award honors exemplary members of faculty and staff for advocating and/or implementing instructional strategies, technologies, and disability-related accommodations that afford students with disabilities equal access to academic resources and curricula. 

Kevin Trainor

iSchool instructors ranked as excellent

Fifty-five iSchool instructors were named in the University's List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for Fall 2023. The rankings are released every semester, and results are based on the Instructor and Course Evaluation System (ICES) questionnaire forms maintained by Measurement and Evaluation in the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. 

iSchool Building

Get to know Michael Ferrer, MSIM student

After spending some time in the defense IT industry, Michael Ferrer decided to return to school for his MSIM degree to gain skills in areas such as data visualization and advance his career. Outside of his studies, Ferrer is a competitive ballroom dancer and member of the Illinois Army National Guard.

Michael Ferrer