My sister Kathy has been honored by almost every school she has attended.
Saturday night, she received a distinguished alumni award from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Information Studies, to complement the Herb Kohl Fellowship she was awarded in 2007, the University of Wisconsin – Madison distinguished alumni award she won in 2010, and the 2007 Wisconsin State Special Services Teacher of the Year.
I have received no such honors, but I did help her pick out her dress and, if I do say so myself, she looked smashing.
We’ve all enjoyed tagging along with Kathy at her special events, and this one was especially interesting. UW-Milwaukee boasts a top-ranked School of Information Studies that celebrated 50 years in conjunction with the honorary awards.
Here’s something you might not know about excellent librarians– they lead fascinating lives and, as “Library Nick” Demske, poet and award winner from the class of 2010, noted in his bio, they “simply love the shit out of libraries.”
Take, for instance, Carrie Russell (MLIS 1985), who works at the Office for Information Technology Policy in Washington D.C. as the Copyright Specialist and Director of the Program on Public Access to Information. Or, Venetia Demson (MLIS 1990) who devoted the bulk of her career to advancing the independence, access and inclusion for persons with disabilities in the cultural, educational, and work life of communities. Or, Michelle Caswell (MLIS 2008) Assistant Professor of Archival Studies at UCLA and the co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive and author of the book Archiving the Unspeakable Silence, Agency and the Photographic Record in Cambodia.
As the library media specialist at Menomonee Falls High School, Kathy works hard to maintain a diverse, well-organized library (they just finished a complete overhaul of their classification system this year). She also instituted a highly regarded course for at-risk female students, and created a student help desk course called “Tech Force” that teaches IT skills and provides hands-on experience and job opportunities. Beyond that she created the Falls Creative Club and the Falls Film Festival.
We had a great time toasting Kathy and the rest of the distinguished alumni of UWM.
I am a big fan of libraries and their mission to equalize access to great literature and information. Here are a few photos of the big night: