Academic Librarian of the Year, Pattie Piotrowski

Pattie-Piotrowski__BSrevIllinois Library Association

Pattie Piotrowski is the 2016 recipient of the Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award. The award, presented by the ILA Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries Forum, recognizes an Illinois librarian who is making an outstanding statewide contribution to academic or research librarianship and to library development. The award is sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI).

Currently the President of ILA, Piotrowski has been an active ILA member since 2003 and has distinguished herself through her service to IACRL, ILA and the Illinois library community in general. As an active member of IACRL, Piotrowski participated in conference planning duties for three IACRL conferences, including serving as chair of the 2014 conference planning committee. She also served on the IACRL executive board from 2012-2015, as Vice President/President-Elect (2012-2013), President (2013-2014) and Past President (2014-2015).

During her tenure with IACRL, Piotrowski worked to create a more engaged and tangible environment for its members, including bringing the ILA lobbyist to speak at the IACRL Luncheon at the annual ILA conference, coordinating the IACRL booth at ILA conferences, and coordinating new-member recruitment efforts.

In August 2016, Pattie assumes the position of University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services at University of Illinois at Springfield. She was formerly the Assistant Dean for Public Services at The Illinois Institute of Technology’s Paul Galvin Library.

In both her professional service and her work, Piotrowski strives to create environments in which everyone—from students to administrators—not only feels welcome but also understands that they are part of a community that is dedicated to the enrichment of students’ lives. Piotrowski emphasizes that at higher education institutions, faculty, staff and administrators should be constant in their connection to their communities by remembering the significance of their roles. As she stated in a recent article on the IIT website, “I pose the question, ‘Is it really just a job? Do you believe in the mission of this university?’”

The Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award will be presented at the Awards Luncheon held on Tuesday, October 18th, during the 2016 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Rosemont.

– Illinois Library Association –

Apply for the Library Undergraduate Research Award

Brookens Library Undergraduate Reserarch Award 2016Apply today for the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award!

Undergraduate research, scholarly and creative activities, are foundational components of a complete liberal arts education. With this in mind, Brookens Library created the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award.

This award was created to recognize and reward UIS undergraduate students whose academic work incorporates the use of Brookens Library’s collections and services and demonstrates exceptional information literacy skills. In addition to recognition at UIS, the award includes a monetary prize of $250.

  •  The online application form is available here: Application Form
  • All application materials are due by 5pm on March 18, 2016.
  • The winner will be announced on April 15, 2016.

For complete information about the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award and detailed instructions on how to apply please visit:

WORKSHOP – Locating Private Foundation Money – April 28

Apply for the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award

Brookens Library Undergraduate Reserarch Award 2016Undergraduate research, scholarly and creative activities, are foundational components of a complete liberal arts education. With this in mind, Brookens Library created the Brookens Library  Undergraduate Research Award.

This award was created to recognize and reward UIS undergraduate students whose academic work incorporates the use of Brookens Library’s collections and services and demonstrates exceptional information literacy skills. In addition to recognition at UIS, the award includes a monetary prize of $250.

  • Application forms are due by February 12, 2016. The online application form is available here: Application Form
  • All application materials are due by 5pm on March 18, 2016.
  • The winner will be announced on April 15, 2016.

For complete information about the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award and detailed instructions on how to apply please visit:


Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award Winner

The 2014/2015 academic year was the first offering of the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award. The excellent projects submitted made the judging a challenge, but the selection committee comprised of Ben Walsh, Angie Maranville and John Laubersheimer, were able to decide upon a clear winner. Congratulations goes to Michael Lotspeich for his undergraduate honors theses Adherence to Themes in Rural Local Education Agency Reorganization Research: a Meta-analysis Review. Lotspeich received a cash prize of $250 as part of the award and his paper will be archived on the University’s institutional repository, IDEALS.

Mr. Lotspeich’s submission was an impressive piece of research that best exemplified proficiency in information literacy and excellence in undergraduate scholarship. His paper incorporates a wide range of resources from Brookens as well as materials obtained through ILL and iShare. Mr. Lotspeich completed his research paper as a part of his double major in Sociology/Anthropology and Political Science.

The judging committee was impressed with Mr. Lotspeich’s ability to analyze a complex topic and present it in a style that engages the reader. Mr. Lotspeich demonstrated a high level of skill in synthesizing literature and provided a very thorough bibliography. Overall, the first award winner presented the committee a comprehensive project with exemplary documentation.

Brookens Library Undergraduate Student Research Award: Apply Today!

Brookens Library Student Research Award Now Accepting Applications

 Undergraduate research, scholarly and creative activities are foundational components of a complete liberal arts education. The Brookens Library Student Research Award was created to recognize and reward UIS undergraduate students whose academic work incorporates the use of Brookens Library’s collections and services and demonstrates exceptional information literacy skills. In addition to recognition at UIS, the award includes a monetary prize of $250.


  • Open to undergraduate students enrolled at University of Illinois Springfield in any academic level for the current academic year. All disciplines are eligible.
  • The paper, project or poster must be tied to a specific UIS course or other appropriate undergraduate research projects (i.e.: StARS Symposium).
  • Submissions must be from the current or previous academic year.
  • Individual or team submissions are allowed (in the event a team submission wins the award, the prize will be split among the team members).
  • The paper, project or poster must be completed at the time of submission.
  • All submissions must contain an element of library research that demonstrates the use of primary and/or secondary sources. This could be a literature review, an annotated bibliography or other means of documentation appropriate to the project submitted.
  • The submitted paper or project must have a reference list (works cited).
  • All applicants must agree to give the library permission to upload winning papers/projects to the campus institutional repository (IDEALS).

Your complete application must include:

  • A completed application form.
  • A 700-1000 word abstract introducing the research question being answered by the submission. Include a discussion of hypotheses, methodology and/or results when appropriate.
  • A final version of the research paper, project or poster presentation.
  • A bibliography or other appropriate list of sources consulted/works cited.
  • A statement of support from the UIS faculty member who taught the course or administered the research project for which the paper/project/poster was originally submitted.


Evaluation Committee

A committee comprised of librarians and faculty members from different disciplines will judge all submissions.

Evaluation criteria:

Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated ability to select, evaluate, and synthesize appropriate library resources and successfully use them in the creation of a research project or paper.
  • Evidence of significant scholastic and/or personal learning and the development of a steady research pattern or habits that can be utilized in future academic endeavors.
  • Ability to describe and analyze the applicant’s research strategies, techniques, and learning process.
  • Originality/uniqueness of the project/topic, mastery of content (appropriate to class level), clear writing, and overall quality of the project.

Deadlines and important dates:

  • Application forms are due by March 23, 2015. The online application form is available here:
  • All remaining application materials are due by 5pm on March 23, 2015.
  • The winner will be announced at the StARS conference on April 3, 2015.
 Expectations for achievement will be commensurate with the applicant’s academic level and the requirements of the discipline.

Movers & Shakers Award: In Depth With Sagmoen

Academic Movers 2014: In Depth with Sarah Sagmoen

Movers2014webBigSagmoenb Academic Movers 2014: In Depth with Sarah Sagmoen
Photo by Janelle Gurnsey

From Library Journal:

In the latest of our In-Depth Interviews with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, sponsored by SAGE, we spoke with Sarah Sagmoen, learning commons and user services librarian at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library. Hired as a visiting instructional librarian in 2009, Sagmoen was managing the reference desk and public computers by the end of her first year. In her third year at Brookens, her work inspired the library to create the position she now occupies. Between her academic duties and a lively student outreach program, she is busy building a strong community both inside the library and out.

LJ: How did you jump into a job at an academic library straight out of library school?

Sarah Sagmoen: This was my first full-time librarian position. I was hired for a ten-month visiting position only. I looked at it as an opportunity to get my foot in the door, so mostly my focus was on getting as much experience as I could. And then I never left! We ended up being put into a hiring freeze, so the few of us who were hired on in visiting positions were allowed to get a second, and in my case a third, visiting contract.

In this interview series, sponsored by SAGELJ goes in depth with this year’s Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, delving into just how and why they pulled off the projects that brought them recognition as innovators, change agents, and more.

You wear a lot of different hats within the library and on campus, and you manage it all well. How do you prioritize everything so successfully?

I’m glad it looks that way! For me, it’s about just knowing that if I come to work and I’m productive all day, some days that’s the best I can do. It might not be what I intended to be productive on, but so long as I’ve taken advantage of the day to the best of my abilities, I just have to be happy with that.

Before I leave at the end of the day I make a to-do list for myself for the next day that has a variety of short, quick things I can do. That way if I find myself with ten to 15 minutes here and there I have a couple of little tasks I can knock out, whereas otherwise those little gaps can get wasted because you look at them and think ”that’s not enough time to get anything done.”

Also, it’s so important to take lunch. Get out of your office and don’t eat at your desk!

What projects do you have going on right now?

Right now we’re in the midst of a large project we started in summer [2013], where we completely revamped our student employment model. Previously we looked at student employees as a benefit for the library—they help us keep our doors open, they staff our major desks—and we turned it around to make it an opportunity for us to really teach them some things. We created two student manager positions, and we created a three-tiered circulation training module to train them to do basic reference. We’ve empowered them quite a bit and we expect more out of them. It’s exciting to see students taking on much more responsibility than they previously had, and the skills we’re teaching them are making them better students. They’re learning how to do research better to help other students at the desk, but they also take it back into the classroom.

You participated in the most recent Knight News Challenge for libraries—how was that experience?

I enjoyed it a lot. We’re in desperate need of a larger, more sophisticated classroom in our library. Our classroom only seats 20-25 comfortably and it’s not a lab—there are no computers, other than the computer and projector in the front, and it’s just not working for us. It seemed like a good opportunity for me to really work through how we would go about acquiring a classroom of the size we would need, and think about what technology we would need, what the process would be—because I work for the state we have to work with state contracts, and I can’t just work with any company I want to. I spent a day in my office and hung Post-it notes all over the walls and brainstormed.

Even [though my proposal wasn’t] selected, it was a good activity for me because we’re actually going to put some of those plans in place, at least the initial stages of allocating the funding. It was fun, and I feel that any time you’re forced to do something like that it’s useful. It’s like conference proposals—even if your proposal doesn’t get submitted it’s a nice activity to work through what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and whether or not it’s working. We don’t often reflect enough critically about what we do because we’re all just so busy.

How do you feel about the literacy skills in the students you teach?

That’s an interesting question because yesterday I and two of my colleagues did a faculty development session entitled “Getting Better Research from Your Students.” It was geared to the idea that the expectations college professors have aren’t matching what our freshmen are coming in with—due to a lot of factors, but mostly because school libraries are getting cut across the nation. There’s this expectation that college freshmen understand the difference, for example, between a scholarly and a popular journal. But they just don’t. It’s not any fault of the students’, it’s that the system has failed them in this way. We were presenting yesterday about creating better research assignment handouts to help students bridge that gap.

Who are the mentors who made a difference for you?

I have a really supportive group here, but most importantly, I work for a boss, Jane Treadwell, who’s very supportive of me—just having that person I know I can ask for quick advice on little things or big things, and also the knowledge that I don’t have to check everything with her. She trusts what I do, she trusts my decisions. I’ve been empowered from day one as very young, new librarian. She’s been more than instrumental in my career at this point.

What changes would you like to see at your library?

A chunk of my job is redesigning and managing the spaces within the library, and I would like to see better funding so we can get this [renovation] that we so desperately need—from little things like not enough outlets to bringing in technology and collaborative spaces, being prepared to serve our ever-growing population. I’d like to see us build that classroom so that we can really show what we do on a much larger scale—I think it would have a big impact on our campus. It would certainly have a big impact on us here within the building. It would be a good way to refresh and get excited about little things again. When you’re doing instruction in a new, cool space, it helps you imagine larger, cooler, more meaningful activities.

What would you tell someone starting out who wants to be a library leader?

I would say follow your passion. It’s more likely that you’re going to find something awesome to do if you’re passionate about it. Too often people think that those things have to be flashy or outside of the box. But they don’t have to be—they just have to be something you feel very strongly about, whether it’s helping incoming freshmen bridge that gap through information literacy, or creating collaborations outside your library building. That’s the thing that I’ve found I’m really passionate about, and that I just kind of fell into. I had a teaching background and I came in thinking that instruction was going to be my thing, and it wasn’t. I still love being in the classroom and doing instruction but I don’t do tons of it, or at least not as much as I used to, because I’ve moved into the outreach/partnership area. This opportunity fell in my lap and I took advantage of it.

As young librarians, so often we’re told we have to have these five-year plans, but the reality is you just don’t know what’s coming down the pipeline. Keep your eyes and ears open, and if something that you think is cool—or that you’re excited about—happens in front of you, take advantage of it, just roll with it and see where it goes. (This article was taken from Library Journal – online).

This article was featured in Library Journal‘s Academic Newswire enewsletter.  See the original article.

2014 University Scholar Named

Congratulations to Associate Professor of History, David Bertaina, who was named the 2014 University Scholar at the University of Illinois Springfield.

David Bertaina obtained his doctorate in Semitic Languages and Literatures from The Catholic University of America. He taught at California State University, Chico before coming to the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2007.  His areas of interest include the intellectual, social and religious history of the late antique and medieval Middle East. Bertaina is specifically interested in medieval encounters between Muslims and Christians, especially in Arabic and Syriac dialogue literature and the how these texts framed the construction of identity during the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires.   In 2011 he published a book project entitled: Christian and Muslim Dialogues: The Religious Uses of a Literary Form in the Early Islamic Middle East . You can find his book information here . Bertaina has taught courses on Christian-Muslim Encounters, Islamic History, Islamic Historiography, Eastern Christianity, Late Antiquity, Early Christian Historiography, Judaism-Christianity-Islam, World Religions, Introduction to Islam, and Historical Methods.

University Scholar 2014_David David Bertaina

Extra Mile Award Winners

Each year two library staff members who have been nominated by their peers receive the Extra Mile Award for, as the name would apply, taking on extra projects or responsibilities or otherwise putting in extraordinary effort to further the library’s mission.  This year’s award recipients are Dorothy Hemmo, Instructional Services Librarian and Chair of Library Instructional Services; and Angela Maranville, Interim Manager of Technical Services and Systems.


Dorothy HemmoDOROTHY HEMMO—her nominators said that : Dorothy is extremely competent and a consummate professional who has taken on added responsibility over the past year, including: chairing LISP, pushed for the implementation of Guide on the Side, and facilitated the creation of new Captivate tutorials. Also one of her nominators noted: Dorothy is patient and kind, never failing to have a smile and a kind word for students and staff alike. She is an inspiration for anyone who might aspire to become a librarian.



Maranville, Angie_2013 copyANGIE MARANVILLE: her nominators noted all of the responsibilities that she has taken on over the past year, and the successful projects that she has facilitated, including the redesign of the Archives web site and the technical side of the 3M ebooks project. She also has thrown her heart and soul into trying to be a really good supervisor for the people in Tech Services and Systems and we all can breathe easy knowing that Angie is in charge of EZ Proxy.

Chancellor Koch on change at Brookens Library

Over the past several years Brookens Library has been working hard to make our resources, services and space more lively and digitally sophisticated. At Brookens, we continue to draw inspiration from the words of founding president, Dr Robert Spencer:
“In our concern for literacy we are placing the library in the center of things – as a resource for the entire curriculum – for all students – and for a wide variety of learning experiences and modes . . . If our library also serves the quite traditional function of providing a site for an inexpensive date or social occasion or serves as a book-lined study hall for those who must get away from more distracted settings, so much the better.”

— May 16, 1976, Dedication of Brookens Library

A big shift in our service model has been adopting the idea of “Embedded Librarianship” , or going where the people already are to serve them. Partially in responsive to the digital shift, the idea of embedded librarianship takes the librarian out of what we know to be the traditional library and inserts him/her in the spaces (both physical and online) the patrons occupy.

UIS Chancellor, Susan Koch recently wrote an article that appeared in the State Journal Register that sheds light on our efforts to be more accessible for users of all types. The articles goes on to profile one of our Library Faculty, Sarah Sagmoen, who was recently named on of Library Journal’s 2014 Movers & Shakers. Read the full article here:

Susan Koch: UIS’ library is lively, digitally sophisticated

The original article appeared in the State Journal Register, Posted Apr. 12, 2014 @ 10:40 pm:

One of my favorite locations on the University of Illinois Springfield campus is the Norris L. Brookens Library.

Dedicated in 1976, the library was the first permanent building on the campus. During the nearly four decades since its construction, the Brookens Library, like many other academic libraries, has been transformed to become much more that a repository and circulator of books.

Thanks in part to the strong leadership of Library Dean Jane Treadwell, the legendary hushed atmosphere is long gone and in its place is a lively, digitally sophisticated and entrepreneurial “learning commons” where professional librarians and peer support staff provide all manner of resources and services and make possible—for students, faculty, staff and visitors—the vibrant circulation of ideas.

And when you think of a librarian, what words come to mind? Quiet, stuffy, drab, timid, puritanical, strict, fastidious? Well, that’s another thing about libraries that has changed. Sarah Sagmoen, whose official title is director of Learning Commons and User Services, is a perfect example.

Sarah has just been named a 2014 “Mover and Shaker” by the American Library Association. This prestigious national recognition is given each year to 50 emerging leaders in the library profession who are innovative and creative and who are moving libraries ahead to be more relevant and to better serve library users.

Sarah acquired her “customer service skills” at a young age. Growing up in Kewanee, her parents both ran local businesses, and while in high school, Sarah worked at Heartfelt Gifts, her mother’s gift shop. As a graduate student in Library and Information Science at Chicago’s Dominican University, she managed a Lebanese restaurant.

Those early experiences have served Sarah — and UIS — exceedingly well. She now leads a team of 16 tech-savvy student employees who provide “roving reference” customer service throughout the library and who use computers and iPads to assist library patrons to select and access resources, including over 40,000 e-journals, 200,000 e-books and 120 full-text multidisciplinary databases as well as over a half million print volumes.

“Students come to the library for many reasons,” says Sarah, “to participate in an information literacy class, to meet with a study group, to access electronic resources, to study on their own, to watch a video, to work on projects together, to meet for individual consultation with a librarian, and yes, even to check out books.”

“One of the biggest challenges for academic libraries today,” says Treadwell, “is teaching students how to navigate the masses of information now available electronically. An essential part of information literacy,” she says, “is learning how to wade through, filter, evaluate and select the best resources.”

Whatever their needs, Brookens Library patrons learn quickly that library staff are energetic, knowledgeable and creative and are there to help them. The old stereotypes of the librarian have disappeared, and according to Sarah, she gets shushed more often than she ever shushes someone else.

Like all of her colleagues in the library, Sarah is passionate about working with students.

“Some days that means I’m in the classroom teaching,” she notes. “Other days I’m supervising the library’s student book club, working with student support staff, creating new ideas for the annual Haunted Library or locating resources for a faculty member who is designing a new course.”

Next week, *(4/14-19) Sarah will be standing knee-deep in mud. She volunteers each year to serve as a judge during the annual UIS Springfest tug-of-war—a popular campus event. We would expect nothing less from UIS’s own “Mover and Shaker.”

Susan Koch is chancellor of the University of Illinois Springfield. Look for her columns each month in Our Towns.