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.