Let’s celebrate! 2019 McGill Library Excellence Awards

Award winners Katherine Hanz and Elizabeth Thomson with Dean Colleen Cook

Katherine Hanz (left), Elizabeth Thomson (middle) and Dean Colleen Cook (right)

Huge congratulations are in order for the 2019 recipients of the McGill Library Excellence Awards recognizing outstanding contributions to the Library, its users and its mandate.

On May 22, 2019, Katherine Hanz, Liaison Librarian for the School of Information Studies and Coordinator at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library received the Librarian Excellence Award and Elizabeth Thomson, Systems Analyst, received the Library Staff Excellence Award.

Katherine Hanz, Liaison Librarian & Coordinator | Librarian Excellence Award

Last year's winner, Giovanna Badia (left), Katherine Hanz (middle) and Dean Colleen Cook (right)

Last year’s winner, Giovanna Badia (left), Katherine Hanz (middle) and Dean Colleen Cook (right)

Katherine was nominated by her colleagues in recognition of her resourcefulness, innovation and leadership. She is a dedicated Liaison Librarian for the School of Information Studies but her impact extends well beyond her subject area.

Katherine is a consummate collaborator, which is evident in her recent work co-developing new workshops, including one on literature reviews and another on fake news. One of her workshop co-creators had this to say: “Katherine’s innovative active learning ideas and enthusiastic energy make her the ideal co-presenter. From high school students to alumni, she was able to tailor the workshop to suit her audience in a way that seemed effortless – even though, in actuality, it took a lot of planning, thoughtfulness, and creativity.”

The co-development of an Undergraduate Research Award is another example of Katherine’s initiative and dedication to all of the Library’s users. She has also been instrumental in the success of some of the Library’s large projects like the integration of the Education Collection, the optimization of the stacks and the recent Library catalogue migration to WorldCat.

In addition to all of the above, Katherine manages a team at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. A colleague who works closely with her there had this to say: “Katherine has been a vital force in establishing a positive and rewarding work environment by continuously fostering discussion, encouraging fairness, supporting staff-led initiatives, and having an open-door policy for communication.”

Her involvement in the library community-at-large is further proof of her commitment to the profession. She is president of the Quebec Library Association and recently co-authored the article “When Librarians Hit the Books: Uses of and Attitudes Toward E-Books” published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Besides her many professional accomplishments, what distinguishes Katherine is her human touch. No matter the circumstance, she always approaches situations and conversations with grace, professionalism and understanding. She is an exemplary Librarian, mentor, colleague and friend.

Elizabeth Thomson, Systems Analyst | Staff Excellence Award

Last year's winner, Merika Ramundo (left), Elizabeth Thomson (middle) and Dean Colleen Cook (right)

Last year’s winner, Merika Ramundo (left), Elizabeth Thomson (middle) and Dean Colleen Cook (right)

Elizabeth was nominated by numerous co-workers for the impactful work that she does behind-the-scenes to support McGill Library’s digital presence. She brings extensive knowledge and experience to the Application Development team and to the Library as a whole. She is always ready and willing to take on new challenges and her tireless work ensures that the Library’s digital collections, institutional repository, open journal systems and archival collections are accessible to anyone, at any time, from anywhere.

One colleague put it this way: “She is a ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to problem solving…it is rare to find a person who is able to sum up a problem in 50 words or less and create a possible solution with the next 25!”

Elizabeth has demonstrated resourcefulness and innovation throughout her career but even more so over the past year throughout the Library’s WorldShare catalogue migration. She has been part of the core implementation, data migration, and circulation teams and has successfully migrated items (serials and monographs), patron files and circulation (loans, holds, item statistics, fines) data from Aleph to WMS.

Another of Elizabeth’s many notable contributions is her initiative throughout the archival management system project (AtoM), providing support for the University’s archival collections. Her communication, leadership, and decision-making led to the success of this ongoing project.

Elizabeth has never been shy to learn new technologies and to apply these skills to help move the Library forward. For example, she maintains an active awareness of linked data and she has been active in the Canadian Linked Data Initiative (CLDI) Digital Projects Working Group since 2016.

On top of her extraordinary achievements and exceptionally high-quality work, she is a mentor to newer staff and is held to the highest regard by all who work with her. As a co-worker explains: “She is one of the brightest, most hardworking and skilled people I’ve had the pleasure of working with…Not only does she take the time to understand a project on a technical level, she reviews it from a user’s perspective and can anticipate issues before they become a problem.”

Congrats to Elizabeth on this very well-deserved award. As one staff member put it: “she is our hidden hero”.

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