May 11, 2010

Three students win Jeanne Simon scholarships

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Jessica Clark, Rachel Crouch and Felicia Fallon Morris are the 2010 recipients of the Jeanne Hurley Simon Memorial Library Endowment scholarships at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Morris Library administers the endowment, created in celebration of the late Jean Hurley Simon and in recognition of her lifetime commitment to libraries and education. At the time of her death in February 2000, Simon, the wife of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, was chair of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science by presidential appointment.

The endowment bearing her name awards up to three scholarships each year to Morris Library student employees. The purpose of the scholarships is fostering the development of ethnic, racial, cultural and gender diversity within libraries. The recipients aren’t necessarily seeking careers as librarians but the awards recognize them for exemplary service, commitment and involvement with libraries.

Clark, of Carbondale, is the daughter of Michael Clark and Laura Applebee. She’s a sophomore majoring in philosophy. She worked five years at the Seneca Public Library prior to returning to Carbondale.

“Jessica is a highly detailed person who is very focused on customer service and assisting our patrons in reaching their goals,” wrote Tony Bittle, senior library specialist, in his nomination letter for Clark. He praised her strong work ethic and continuing efforts to improve her performance and noted she’ll be pursuing a master’s degree in library science after completing her undergraduate degree.

“Jessica is a person who I have no doubt will have a life-long relationship with libraries. She is the type of student worker that we search years for and rarely see,” Bittle said.

Crouch, of Albion, is the daughter of Judy Crouch. She is a senior majoring in information systems and technology with a web design specialization. She’s a two-year employee at Morris Library and previously worked for more than two years in the library at Wabash Valley College. She plans a career in the library field.

“Rachel exemplifies many of the best traits that we desire in a student employee. She is patient, dependable and very driven. She has been and continues to be a very important member of our staff,” wrote Paul Porter, interlibrary loan lending supervisor, in a letter nominating her for the scholarship.

Morris, of Eldorado, is the daughter of Tony Morris and Jane Morris. She’s a junior at SIUC majoring in history. She has also worked at the Eldorado Public Library. She is particularly interested in Great Britain and the Elizabethan era.

According to Kate Harrison, bindery prep supervisor in preservation, Morris “already had a strong knowledge of how libraries worked” and “quickly learned the tasks in the bindery and within a couple of months was performing complicated data entry of monographs that were being sent to the bindery. Felicia constantly demonstrates an interest in learning new things about libraries and how they work.”

Although working in an archive in England would be a dream job for Morris, she’ll be happy working in any public library setting, Harrison said. After completing her degree at SIUC, Morris plans to enroll at the University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s graduate library information science program and hopes to focus on archival studies.

Each of the women received $500 scholarships.