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Jessie Ball duPont Library

Friends of the Library at Sewanee: The University of the South

A guide to the events and membership of the Friends of the Library at Sewanee

Derek Waller Award

         In 2009, the Friends of the Library approved an annual award to be given to an exemplary work-study student in Library and Information Technology Services.  This award was given in honor, and now in memory, of Dr. Derek Waller. The prize is in the form of a book in the student’s primary field of study, as well as a cash award.  Board members established this prize to recognize the diligence and dedication of Derek Waller during his years as Secretary to the Board of the Friends of the Library.  Prior to coming to Sewanee, Derek was Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.  Besides his tenure as Secretary to the Friends of the Library Board, Derek was a tutor at Sewanee Elementary School.

Derek Waller Award Winners

2024 Winners

Milo Williams Thompson (Access Services / Circulation Desk)


Milo has been one of our most reliable students for their entire time working here, consistently taking on unique responsibilities and establishing themself as an excellent, well-trusted employee. Most notably, Milo is our opener for Sunday, a position that requires working multiple hours on their own without a staff lead. They were chosen for this because of their strong judgment and decision making capabilities, and even there they have exceeded our expectations in every way.

Milo is also one of our most creative students, a facet that assists them in coming up with innovative new ideas to help reach the community, participating in almost any engagement opportunity possible. They have contributed to many conversations about housing, administrative relations, and academic planning and success. They provide a truly unique perspective on campus life, and are incredibly engaging towards patrons of all kinds.  - Access Services Staff - Sam Ertelt, Elle Goodrich, Terri Limbaugh, Julie Rathmann.



Gabriel Rice (Ralston Listening Library)


Gabriel is a Music Performance and Biology double-major. He is a serious student of music and has been involved in vocal performance at almost every level in the University: as a chorister in both the University Choir and the Schola Cantorum at the School of Theology, as cantor for University Catholic, and as an art song soloist in several recitals. In the fall, he will be a residential choral scholar at Saint David's Cathedral in Wales. In addition to being a talented musician, Gabriel is also involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including several years of service as a Forestry Service-certified member of the University's prescribed burn team.

Gabriel, without a doubt, is the most valuable member of my staff. The knowledge and dedication he brings to music helps in all aspects of managing the Ralston collection. He has helped me tremendously in accession work, independently sorting and collating some 10,000 CDs that had spent over a decade in storage. He is eager to help, taking on extra hours when needed, working weekends to help with our Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and assisting with class visits when I cannot make it. His absence will certainly be felt due to the knowledge and work ethic that I will be losing in May. If anyone is deserving of recognition, it's him.  Nathan Stewart, Ralston Listening Library.



2023 Winner

Emily Tindal, Access Services (Circulation)


Emily Tindal is the current student leader of the second floor, and excels at every task given to her. While working at the desk she gives excellent service to the patrons, answering questions and going out of her way to help deal with any confusions or complications, while of course completing all the chores required. However, where she really shines in our work environment is during her stacks hours. In addition to finishing every task quickly and efficiently, she is constantly thinking of ways to improve the student and community experience, identifying sections that should be shifted, heavily trafficked areas that may need more tending to, and managing the largest section on the second floor single-handedly.

When I first arrived at the Circulation Desk in early September, Emily did a phenomenal job taking charge of the stacks until I got my bearings. We had just finished doing some shifting on the second floor and Emily spent a week of stacks taking notes on all of the new range ends, making sure that all of the new information was written down and accurate. While I was still receiving my training, we collaborated on creating new range labels to replace the outdated ones, keeping the stacks information on the second floor organized and up-to-date. 

In addition to the D's, Emily also is in charge of maintaining the CD and LP collections outside the Ralston room, and has taken the initiative multiple times to make changes to the section that have made the ordering more clear and have made the section as a whole more visually appealing and organized. At one point around a month into my employment, she came down and told me she had shifted an entire section of the CDs, under no prompting to do so, which opened up the space and made the entire shelving unit look much less cramped. She completes all of her work in this way, constantly noticing, bringing up, and implementing ways to make the library a better space for students and community alike. - Sam Ertelt, Access Services Coordinator





2020 Winner

Bryan Walker, Access Services (Circulation)


Bryan Walker began working at the library during the summer as a temporary employee in 2017. Bryan worked in the Resource Management Services as Serials Assistant then started in the Circulation Department in the fall of 2019 as a work study assistant. During his summer employment, Bryan was an excellent employee and shifted the entire Theology Periodicals section by himself. In addition to his duties in the Serials Department, he took on added responsibilities in Circulation and made great strides in our book inventory.He was inventive and innovative in his understanding of the process and wrote the current set of instructions that we use for all of our Circulation students.

 While he has only been working in circulation for a short time, he has shown a great work ethic. Bryan is willing to step in to work on days that are not his regular scheduled shifts. He has an outstanding personality, and he is welcoming and helpful to all of our patrons at the library. In addition to working on the desk at the library, he also works in the stacks. He does an excellent job on his stack assignments, doing them accurately and completely. Bryan is an exemplary work study student and person!  



2019 Winners

Lindsey Sikorski, Access Services (Circulation)

Lindsey Sikorski has been working for the Circulation Department since her freshman year at Sewanee. While still only a junior, Lindsey is an outstanding student worker and leader. Her reliability, competence, and calm demeanor make her an indispensable member of the Circulation work-study staff. She is always willing to help with training new workers, and in the rare case that she doesn't know how to do something she’s not afraid to ask questions. She always comes to her shifts ready to work and full of contagious positive energy. While I have only been working with student workers since August, it is clear to me that Lindsey is special and deserving of recognition.

Lindsey also works for duPont outside of her work-study assignments. She serves as a supervisory figure, and opens the library on Sundays and oversees operations from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. This experience only serves to positively influence her work-study shifts. Lindsey knows how duPont works, and how to keep it running smoothly. However, her efforts are not limited to just manning the front desk. She works tirelessly in the stacks and has been a driving force in the ongoing inventory project happening on the second floor.

One of the main things I’ve learned through working with Lindsey is: If you ask Lindsey to do something, you know it is going to be done, and beyond that, you know it is going to be done right. I could continue to go on and on about Lindsey’s technical skills, but there is more to her than the ability to carry out assigned tasks. Lindsey seems to genuinely enjoy working at the library. Her customer service at the desk is professional grade: she engages with the patrons, and more often than not brings a smile to their faces. She takes great satisfaction in her work in the stack,  and she understands the joy of a beautifully and perfectly organized shelf of books. Her sense of responsibility in her job extends beyond her scheduled shifts. She is more than willing to switch shifts with fellow workers who have conflicts, and she is often the one to step in if someone is sick has no time to find a replacement. To paraphrase Courtnay, “If all of us were sick, Lindsey could run this place.” And I honestly believe she could do it

There is not a student worker more deserving of recognition than Lindsey Sikorski, and we are so thankful that she’s a junior and we have another year with her.  Emily Blount


Emmanuel Oluloto, Technology Access & Support Help Desk

Even though some may not know him, he has earned quite a reputation on Campus in which everyone he meets can relate.  Emmanuel has worked with the Technology Help Desk for four years, and during that time his work ethic, customer service skills, along with computer skills have proven to grow without ceasing.  A cheerful disposition is only the first trait noticed when encountering Emmanuel and most individuals find themselves engulfed in interesting conversations after they meet.  Emmanuel has a strong desire to please.  His motivation and drive to complete any task put before him has earned him the position as leader and mentor over fellow Help Desk staff this year.  Emmanuel is easy to talk to and always provides a positive outlook on any situation.  Dependable, honest, selflessness, humility, kindness, and integrity are the characteristics of Emmanuel’s values.  As Emmanuel seeks work opportunities after graduation, his promptness, drive and empowered motivation will serve him well.  It is a pleasure and an honor to work with Emmanuel at the Technology Help Desk. Thank you, Emmanuel, for just being you!  We, the staff of Technology Access & Support, wish you nothing but the best in years to come!     Kelly Andy


2017 Winners

Mikennel (Mikey) Plancher, Academic Technology Help Desk

Mikennel Plancher has worked with Technology Access & Support for 3 years now.  During these years Mikennel has proven to be an important asset to not only the department but for the campus in general.  From serving as a customer service representative at the Help Desk his first 2 years to advancing as a team leader in his Junior year. Mikennel has shown great interest in the kind of work he does and will work hard to please the customer in finding a solution to their technology problems.  While offering wonderful service Mikennel's skills as a computer technician have also grown over time.  He has the drive and motivation it takes to follow through even the toughest computer issues.  Depending on Mikennel has never been an issue and he is usually one of the first contacts his team members will come to with questions.  His personality tends to draw people in because he is easy to talk with and always ready to listen.  As Mikennel seeks work opportunities in technology after graduation, his accuracy and drive for excellence will serve him well.  It is with these valuable qualities I believe Mikennel would be an excellent candidate for the Derek Waller award. - Kelly Andy 


Paul Sands, Resources Management Services

Paul Sands has worked in Resources Management Services for four years and is a valued employee.   Paul uses his time wisely and shows initiative in the work he does.   Paul has been especially hardworking over the past four years as he has worked with us on a library-wide project to reclassify over 25,000 books from the Dewey 800s to their LC Classification numbers.   We are completing the project this semester and Paul has contributed greatly to its success – he has personally re-classed more than 6100 books!  We always enjoy our interactions with work-study students and hope that as Paul graduates this year, we can look forward to hiring another student who takes their job as seriously as Paul has.  Penny Cowan & Odis Ellison


2016 Winners

Sarah Brown, LITS Administration Office

Sarah Brown has worked in the Library and Information Technology Services office for four years.  She approached her work study assignment as a real job and we have greatly benefitted from her work ethic and eagerness to learn.  Even though Sarah’s official assignment has been in the LITS administration office she has worked across many departments in the Library and has helped with various projects for Cataloging, Acquisitions, Government Documents, Automation, and Circulation.  She is quick to learn new tasks and is interested in how each assignment works within the whole of our operation.

Sarah is dependable and accurate and her curiosity will serve her well as she goes on to graduate school in Forensic Anthropology.  She is personable and easy to work with and always ready to tackle a new project.  We believe that Sarah embodies the qualities of the Derek Waller award as an exemplary work study student and we heartily nominate her for this award. 

Tim Garner and Penny Cowan


Margaret McGuire, Access Services (Circulation)

Margaret has been a work-study employee for all four years of her college career. Though I can sort of recall a fuzzy time before her tenure here, I have a difficult time remembering how we managed without her. As manager of work-study students for the past seven years, I can surely tell you that a worker with Margaret’s maturity, capability, dependability and leadership is a rare and lucky find. She has become indispensable to me in running the Circulation Desk, especially on the weekends.

I don’t have breathtaking vignettes to share with you that will describe in grand or dramatic ways Margaret’s dedication to the duPont Library. Instead, the ways she’s earned my praise and admiration are quiet, with quiet demonstrations of consistency and character. Margaret has always chosen to work weekends; this is because she understands her role as a student, and wants to be fully engaged as both a scholar and a librarian, giving devoting resources and time to each. She’s always a little bit early to each shift and has never failed to complete that day’s tasks or ask what else can be done. You might come to the front desk on a regular basis and never notice her, but I see her, week in and week out, performing a thousand acts of scanning, shelving, counting and fetching—and all with a smile full of goodwill.  These are the not-so-glorious tasks that help make our Service Desk work with friendliness and efficiency.

There have been at least two dozen times when I have emailed her in the middle of a busy school day and asked her to take an odd hour here or there, help substitute for an ill worker, or lend a helping hand with an ongoing project, and I’ve found that she will say YES whenever it’s possible. There’s no drama, no worry, no I-partied-so-hard-last-night-sorry--I’m--late; there is only this: Here I am. How can I help? (and multiply that by one hundred, day in and day out). I also admire her calm way with our more challenging patrons; even with difficult questions and/or personalities, she stays calm, helpful and unflappable. Margaret has, it seems, much to teach me. And here’s another feather in her cap: if Wanda, Mary Ann, Shelby and I were simultaneously struck down with some debilitating, mysterious illness, I have no doubt I could call Margaret up and say, Could you run the department for a while? Her response would be the same: Okey-doke. I’ll be there in a minute.

I’d keep her forever if I could. If there’s one person who ought to be warmly thanked for her service to the library community, it’s Margaret McGuire.

Courtnay Zeitler

2015 Winners

Grace Priest, Access Services

With these nominations, I would usually trace a student's development as a worker: as a freshman, he or she begins with shaky skills and an uncertain attitude, but by the time they are seniors, their excellence and dependability are obvious and remarkable. Not so with Grace Priest. She came in excellent and will leave us, four years later, even more so. Let me explain.


Let me begin with what Grace is not. There's no drama with Grace: no excuses about being late because of boyfriend issues, no last minute calls on a Monday night because she forgot she had a study session and needs to miss her shift. She's never complained about her schedule or sought to offer an explanation for a task poorly done. She is welcoming and helpful to faculty, students, and community members alike. In fact, if you're a patron of the duPont Library, you might never notice Grace You will come to the desk, have a reference query or ask for help finding an item, and you will walk away from that encounter with exactly what you needed, ninety-nine times out of a hundred. She is welcoming and helpful to faculty, students, and community members alike.


And so here's what we notice about Grace, and what ultimately sets her apart from most all of her work-study contemporaries: the three C's. She is calm, competent, and confident. Her quiet poise, efficient customer service, and attention to detail all translate into her setting the gold standard for work study proficiency. Her word is gold, and there has never been one time in four years that she's been late to a shift or missed one because of miscommunication with other workers or myself. This sort of diligence might go under some people's radar, but for us at the Desk, it's the key indicator of someone who's organized her life, made her priorities, and committed her energies to them without compromise.


Grace is perfectly named, and I admire her for her grace under pressure. She is involved in many worthwhile campus organizations, including being a fierce player on the women's soccer team. Because of the many and varied demands on her time, her schedule at the Library is piecemeal and scattered. I get no complaining and I get no excuses. Whether it is one hour here or there, and early morning shift or a couple hours in the dead of night, Grace is cheerfully at the desk, doing her work, week after week after week. She sets a superior example for my new workers, who need to see someone who can successfully fit the work-study program into their busy lives. Courtnay Zeitler, Supervisor


Helen Bartlett, Instructional Technology Workshop

Helen worked for me this past summer and this academic school year helping to inventory the Permanent Art Collection.  She is fabulous.  Helen is very detailed orientated, organized, dedicated to doing a wonderful job in uncovering Sewanee's hidden art treasures.  She works diligently organizing the database in ARTstor and our Excel sheet along with taking photos of works. 

Helen is one of the most pleasant, hard-working students I have had since I've been here.  She has a double major in French and Anthropology and is a honor student. Mary O'Neill, Supervisor


2014 Winner

Caleb Schaubroeck, Media Services


We have been privileged to have Caleb Schaubroeck in Media Services for the last year and a half.  Not only is he creatively talented but he also has a warm, open disposition.  He has worked with us on Wednesdays for his entire tenure.  He has been assigned the task of moving a lectern for the School of Theology Wednesday luncheon at Cravens.  Upon his arrival at the office, I know that without being asked he will get the van keys, spare batteries, and Cravens keys and go ensure that the lectern is in good working order and positioned correctly.  It sounds like a small thing, but it is not.  His second offering of the work day is to ask what he can do to be of service.  And he will genuinely and enthusiastically make himself available for even the most onerous task.

He has researched, written and illustrated job aids for classes who check out audio-visual equipment.  With his incredible artistic talent and Sewanee writing skills, he made the process for connecting a recorder to a video camera clear to even the most technologically challenged.  (Of course, he incorporated humor as well.  "If you turn on recorder before turning on camera, Sewanee Police will be notified and you may be put on social probation.")

For always being willing and ready to work at a moment's notice, for being situationally aware, for always smiling and being polite to everyone, for being a great example to the younger work study students, I nominate Caleb.  He is liked and respected by everyone in the office.  We very much appreciate having worked with him for the last year and look forward to the remainder of our time with him.  He will be missed. -- Joan Hurst, Supervisor


2013 Winners

Tiffany Boyd, Resources Management Services, Cataloging


"I don't know what profession Tiffany will aspire to in the future, but if asked, I will recommend her highly.  Someone will be very lucky to have her as an employee.  I've always considered this position as a 'real' job.  Tiffany's demeanor and ability have made it so." -- Odis Ellison, Supervisor


Roshni Walia, Instructional Technology Workshop


"Roshni is very bright, resourceful, diligent, dedicated, interested in technology, and very pleasant.  She is happy to approach any task and does it well along with bringing insight and suggestions." - Mary O'Neill, Supervisor

2012 Winners

Nichole Osborne, Learning Access Services, ATC Desk

"Nichole has a positive attitude towards work, and she has the initiative to go the extra mile. She consistently gives her work her full effort and attention. Thanks to Nichole, our services are not just offered, but enhanced." - Sharon Tomes, Supervisor


Brittany Phillips, Resources Management Services, Cataloging

"Brittany is a well-rounded individual with diverse interests. She is always willing to do whatever is needed. She is an asset to our department." - Misty Isbell, Supervisor


2011 Winners

Andrew Patty, Learning Resources Services, Circulation

“Andrew completes all assigned tasks with great efficiency, and also does a fabulous job of answering patron questions and meeting patron needs.”  -- Sarah Doyi, Supervisor


Anna Tracy, Resources Management Services, Serials


  “Anna cheerfully helps out her fellow students and the library staff with any task that needs to be done without being asked.” - Terri Limbaugh, Supervisor


2010 Winner

Eliza Epps, Learning Resources Management, Circulation



“Eliza Epps is more than a model student worker—she is a model University employee! As a supervisor of student work­ers, I am daily challenged to bal­ance student -worker expectations, the needs of our department, and the academic requirements for student workers. Eliza is one of those rare student workers who have mastered time management and are able, not only to excel in their studies, but to be an integral part of the week-to-week operations of the library. Responsibilities of a desk worker include interacting and provid­ing service to a broad range of patrons, and we have high expecta­tions for the desk workers. From older community users and chil­dren to faculty, staff, and students, Eliza represents the library and University in an excellent manner. Her patience and calm demeanor are perfect for interacting with problem patrons or stressed out students." --  Barbara Dykes, Supervisor