Award Recognition: Employees with 30 Years of Service

This morning the University recognized employees who have worked for UIS for 10 or more years for their service. The Library is proud to have two employees celebrated this year: Joanne, Senior Library Specialist (Serials), and Tom, University Archivist, have both worked at Brookens Library for 30 years. Today we honor and thank them for their commitment to the UIS (or SSU) ideals and in their service to our campus community. Here are brief tributes read at the ceremony this morning:


On Joanne’s first day, December 1st, 1986, she recalls that campus consisted of the Brookens Building, the PAC, as well as a few temporary buildings that made up Sangamon State University.  She began at the Brookens Library in the Technical Services Department and with a few job shifts along the way, it is still where she currently works. When she started, there was a card catalog for searching and the Brookens library collection consisted of mostly print journals and books with a small collection of a few other media types.

Today, she now works at the University of Illinois Springfield, and there has been a few more buildings added to the campus. The card catalog in the Brookens library is just a memory. The print journals have drastically been replaced with their online versions, as well as electronic books and streaming video have become more prevalent as well. Joanne has been a vital part of the Technical Services team throughout the years. She has seen a lot of changes here at the Brookens library and when asked about her time here she will say, “I love libraries, and I’ve met some really terrific people along the way.” Thank you Joanne, for your many years of dedicated service.


“There’s a really great variety of material to work with here, from 200 year old records to new digital records, and everything in between.” Thomas J. Woods, 2017

Tom was born and spent his formative years in Mount Carmel, Illinois, about 3 ½ hours SE of Springfield. He earned two Masters degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; one in History, the other in Library and Information Science. In his thirty years here on campus, he has been at the forefront of collecting the history of the institution as it has progressed. When Tom started work in 1986 at what was then Sangamon State University, founding president Dr. Robert Spencer was still teaching here, as were many of the charter faculty who had been hired in the early 1970s. He has also documented the physical changes on campus; he remembers when the corn fields started just south of where the colonnade is now.  The UIS Archives holds administration files that have long term value, but it also preserves photographs, student newspapers, audio files, and video of commencements, special events, and visiting speakers. The Archives has a collection of over 5000 student Master projects and theses. Tom handles historical documents such as records of birth, death, and marriage certificates, and Lincoln-era court cases. He has overseen major digitization projects, including a multi-year project preserving and digitizing more than 20 years of oral history interviews with people from all walks of life, such as former prisoners of war, farmers, coal miners, Illinois politicians, and others.  

He has adapted to changing collection and archival standards, as well as innovations in information technology. Focusing not just on collecting and preserving, Tom also works with researchers, students, families seeking genealogy assistance, and more. In the Archives alongside Tom, you’ll also find an archival library assistant, a graduate assistant, and two Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) interns. Working with, and training students and interns has been very rewarding and over 30 years, Tom has seen a rotating cast of talented people. While he is sad to see them go, he does enjoy seeing them succeed in professional jobs in archives, libraries, museums, and teaching positions.

When not working in the archives, it’s no surprise that Tom would enjoy the opposite – the great outdoors – and exploring natural and historical sites around central Illinois and beyond. He also enjoys reading and listening to music, and playing in trivia tournaments. If you want to know more about any of the previously mentioned items, stop by the Archives, located on the lower level of Brookens Library, and chat with Tom, or visit the archives website. Congratulations to Tom on his 30 years on our campus and for his dedication to collecting, preserving and sharing the history of our university.


New Collections Digitized in University Archives

Brookens Library Construction -  1975
Construction of Brookens Library and PAC, ca 1975. From the “Library Media Services Slides: 1960’s-1989” collection.

The University Archives has been busy digitizing and making available online a variety of its collections which includes several different series of slides. Click on the links below to view the newly digitized collections.

 S2/1. Library Media Services Slides: SSU, Springfield sites and events, 1957-1987

Includes photos related to Sangamon State University campus scenes, presentations for the Illinois Board of Education, a presentation by former SSU student Judith Haynes entitled “Good and Useful Lives: People of the Sangamon,” the LGPA Rail Classic in 1983, various colleges in the area (including Millikin University, Blackburn College, Illinois College), Brookens Library, previous SSU Presidents (Dr. Durward Long, Dr. Alex Lacy, Dr. Robert Spencer), SSU construction, activities at the Clayville Rural Life Center, and the SSU sponsored Computer Camp in the mid-1980s

S2/2. Library Media Services Slides: SSU, Springfield sites and events, 1960s-1989

Includes photos related to Sangamon State University campus scenes, SSU Auditorium performances and events, SSU graduations, Illinois Issues 10th anniversary, SSU Founder’s Day Celebration in 1985, events with previous SSU Presidents (Dr. Durward Long, Dr. Alex Lacy, Dr. Robert Spencer), SSU construction, previous SSU soccer coach Aydin Gionulsen, local politicians (Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson, Philip J. Rock), and SSU fall festivals.


New Tim Rice Musical Show Draws on Material in Archives/Special Collections

From here to eternity photoOn October 23, a new stage musical opened in the Shaftsbury Theatre in London’s West End. The musical, From Here to Eternity, was based on the bestselling and award-winning 1951 novel by Illinois author James Jones. The lyricist for the musical is Tim Rice, famous for blockbuster shows like The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita.

The production drew upon photographs from the Handy Colony Collection in the Archives/Special Collections department of Brookens Library, not only for use in publicity material, but to help create authentic costumes for the solders featured in the show.

The book of the musical was based on a new unexpurgated edition of James Jones’s From Here to Eternity, created by George Hendrick, a Professor Emeritus of English at UIUC. This new edition (published in 2011 as an e-book by Open Roads Media and as a trade paperback and e-book by Random House) also drew extensively on material contained in the UIS Archives.

From Here To Eternity ArticleThe Handy Colony Collection was acquired by the University in 1984 and was processed by UIS Archivist Thomas J Wood and his staff in the following years. The large collection (filling 77 archives boxes of various sizes) was in considerably disarray when received and took over four years to arrange and process.

James Jones, the Handy Colony Collection and the musical From Here to Eternity are also featured in the latest issue (Fall 2013) of UIS Alumni Magazine.

Read the UIS Alumni Magizine article about “How a bedroom-sized collection of papers and artifacts of acclaimed novelist James Jones made their way to UIS”

Visit the From Here to Eternity The Musical Website

Preservation Week 2012

April 22-28 is National Preservation Week! Celebrate by getting to know more about preservation and the University of Illinois Springfield’s Archives & IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depository). Archives is housed in the lower level of Brookens Library. They are available to serve the public between 9am & 5pm Monday – Friday. Visit the Archives website to learn more:

In 2004 Heritage Preservation carried out the first national survey, the Heritage Health Index, to document collections preservation needs in libraries, museums, and archives ( That survey showed that roughly 1.3 billion items need treatment to reduce the risk and rate of damage. The condition of 30 percent of items across every type of collection is unknown. No one knows of preservation needs in the collections of individuals, families, and community organizations, which were not surveyed. Even when condition is known, our cultural and information heritage, especially in digital collections, continues to be at risk.

Brookens Library & the University of Illinois Springfield is fortunate to have an Archival department on campus dedicated to preserving collections, treasures, history, and more. Visit the Archives & IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depository) website:

Archives receives LSTA Grant

Archives/Special Collections has been awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant for Digital Imaging from the Illinois State Library. The purpose of the $20,300 grant is to digitize taped audio interviews from the UIS Oral History Collection in order to make them more easily accessible to historical researchers and the general public. The project will also aid in the preservation of the audio interviews by making surrogate use copies available at the Illinois Digital Archives and also in digital storage at the UIS Archives.

The digitized files made from the tapes will be uploaded to IDA and associated with the oral history abstracts and digitized transcripts already available there. The transcripts were digitized using funds from an earlier LSTA grant in 2004, and are also available at the UIS Archives website.