On Monday, October 5, 2020, eight LSU Libraries faculty and staff were honored with two awards by LOUIS, the Louisiana library consortium, at the 2020 LOUIS Users Conference (LUC), an annual gathering of consortium members from throughout the state.
Jacob Fontenot, Head of Interlibrary Loan, received the Excellence in Library Support Award, which, according to the LOUIS Libraries website, “recognizes a library support staff member who is a helpful leader within his or her library and within the LOUIS Consortium.” He was nominated by librarians Andrea Hebert and Megan Lounsberry for his leadership, vision, and dedication related to user services.
These qualities were most recently made more apparent during the University’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hebert, in describing Fontenot’s work during this period, states, “Jacob advocated for resuming patron access to scanned materials as soon as it was safe to do so. His dedication enabled many professors to continue their research during the shutdown. As a research and instruction librarian, I work with many students and faculty, and their feedback on LSU Libraries’ interlibrary loan and document delivery services is overwhelmingly positive. ”
Fontenot also was integral to the historic decision by the Libraries’ to cancel its subscription to Elsevier’s “big deal,” or the name for bundles of journals large publishers offer to libraries at discounted prices. The Libraries opted instead to implement an à la carte purchasing model. Lounsberry echoed Hebert’s sentiments about the significance of Fontenot’s work with the Libraries, “Jacob has done an exceptional job as Head of Interlibrary Loan. He’s worked diligently over the last year ensuring that his unit (and the library) would be ready to step in and lessen the blow of losing so many Elsevier titles. In fact, our new purchasing model with Elsevier would not be possible if not for the work he and his department are doing.”
Fontenot is thrilled to be honored in this way by his colleagues. “It means a lot to be recognized. It means even more to me to get the opportunity to do this kind of work and to do it as part of such a great group of people. The help and support from folks at LSU Library and at LOUIS make it possible,” says he.
Following Fontenot, the LSU Libraries Programming Committee received the Best Outreach Program Award, which, per the LOUIS website again, “recognizes the time and hard work that a person or persons put(s) into planning and executing an outreach event for their library.” The committee members are as follows:
- Randa Lopez-Morgan, Chair, Events & Programming Librarian;
- Elizabeth L. Allen, Borrowing and Document Delivery Specialist;
- Larissa K. Elliot, ILL Student Supervisor;
- Narcissa Haskins, Teaching & Learning Librarian;
- Allen LeBlanc, Research & Instruction Services Coordinator;
- Ebony McDonald, African & African-American Studies Diversity Librarian; and
- Sarah Simms, Undergraduate & Student Success Librarian.
Lois Kuyper-Rushing, Associate Dean of Public & Collection Services, nominated the Committee for the continued commitment to its mission to foster community among LSU students, faculty, and staff through educational, informational, and recreational programming. Speaking of the Committee’s value to the Libraries, Kuyper-Rushing says, “For more than five years, this group has planned and brought to fruition student-focused events including an annual Halloween Open House, finals week programming, movie nights, craft events, and the favorite dog therapy sessions. These activities draw students into the library where they learn to love it as a place to study, relax, and meet friends.”
As the Events & Programming Librarian and permanent Chair of the committee, Randa Lopez-Morgan leads the committee in planning and implementing programs and events that not only promote engagement with libraries’ resources and spaces while facilitating employee interaction with the LSU community, but also encourage collaboration, creativity, and self-discovery for all participants. In response to receiving the award, Lopez-Morgan, with surprised enthusiasm, states, “The Programming Committee is honored to have even been nominated. Programming can be difficult. Each of us works hard to engage with our students and to really show them that the libraries are here to support them, not just academically, but in all areas of their lives. I personally couldn’t do any of it without the support of the Programming Committee. We thank Lois Kuyper-Rushing for nominating us and we thank LOUIS for selecting us.”
In the 2019-2020 academic year, the committee hosted 25 events and saw 7,470 students. This year, in light of the pandemic limiting in-person gatherings, the committee has pivoted to hosting digital events such as creating a digital escape room for students in order to continue the Libraries’ annual Open House throughout the entirety of October 2020.