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Libraries recognize student employee excellence

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

KU Libraries recently honored three outstanding undergraduate students for their dedication and service excellence as employees within libraries across campus. Nominated by library faculty and staff, the winners of the awards were announced at the Libraries' annual student employee picnic on May 9.

Fisher Adwell, winner of the Husic Award and the Rubinstein-Mason Award
Fisher Adwell, winner of the Husic Award
 and the Rubinstein-Mason Award

In addition to the award winners, Dean of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe praised the work of students in every library at the university. "The work of student employees is critical to making library services possible, and we are grateful for the essential contributions of over 200 students on our staff."

The $1,000 Rubinstein/Mason Award is given to the KU student who most demonstrates characteristics of intellectual excellence and commitment, and whose primary interest is in special collections librarianship. The award is named in honor of Joseph Rubinstein, first head of the KU Libraries' Department of Special Collections, and the late Alexandra Mason, Spencer Librarian Emerita.

An employee of the cataloging department for several years, Adwell spent last summer in Peru studying native Quechua dialects. Influenced by his cataloging knowledge, he was surprised at the disorganization of Peruvian archives that he encountered during his research. Following graduation this spring, Adwell will enroll in graduate study Emporia State University pursuing a master's degree in archival studies. With this experience, he hopes to return to Peru as a librarian and work towards organizing their archives for future patrons.
Dean Haricombe and Geoff Husic congratulate Fisher Adwell, the recipient of the Husic Award and the Rubinstein/Mason AwardThe Carl and Margaret Husic Award to Support Librarianship in Less Commonly Taught Languages, funded by KU's Slavic and Special Languages Librarian Geoff Husic, provides $1,200 to support graduate study in librarianship. The award, now in its fourth year, honors Husic's parents, Margaret Husic and the late Carl John Husic Sr.

Melissa Irwin, winner of the
Dean's Award for Student Employee Excellence

The Dean's Award for Student Employee Excellence was created by Dean Lorraine Haricombe in 2010 at the University of Kansas Endowment Association. Students are nominated by library staff and faculty; the winners are selected by the KU Libraries Board of Advocates. Each winner received a cash prize of $500. This year's recipients are Melissa Irwin and Sarah Stephens.

After more than four years of work at KU Libraries, Irwin has worked in a variety of departments. In circulation, she worked both as a student and as a supervisor at the front desk. Then in 

the holds office, she identified missing materials and lost items. Supervisors from both the cataloging and collections departments nominated Irwin, and they applauded her attention to detail and her ability to adapt efficiently. A single mother working three jobs, writing for her PhD and teaching a course in her department all at once, Dean Haricombe expressed admiration for Irwin and her extraordinary work ethic.

Sarah Stevens, winner of the
Dean's Award for Student Employee Excellence

Sarah Stephens is the student circulation desk supervisor at Watson Library. When the student supervisor position was opened last winter, the circulation staff had no question that Stephens had the qualifications to take on the job. In her nomination, they commended her devotion to student service and reliability as part of the staff, mentioning that service desk work can be taken for granted until it fails. Often the first impression of a library, Haricombe noted that employees in circulation engage with library patrons at the highest level, and that Stephens has exemplified the enthusiasm and dedication that the position entails.

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