Library Awards Continue Tradition Started by Appreciative Patron

From left:  Agnes Wallace, Ellen Safley and Jesse Davis

Director of Libraries Dr. Ellen Safley (center) congratulates 2013 winners of the McLemore Awards for Library Excellence, Agnes Wallace and Jesse Davis. Dr. Safley won the award in 1997.

A Eugene McDermott Library acquisitions specialist and software expert have been presented with the 2013 Ethel Ward-McLemore Award for Library Excellence.

Jesse Davis and Agnes Wallace each received $1,000 in recognition of their work.

Since the award was first presented in 1989, $50,000 has been presented to library employees through the endowment established by and named for an appreciative patron of the library.

Both Wallace and Davis began work at McDermott Library in 2008. She joined the staff and moved up to assistant head of Acquisitions in 2012. When the head of Acquisitions left last year, she stepped in as interim department head. A colleague who helped nominate her wrote, “She suddenly took on an enormous load of responsibility … and somehow managed to keep her department functioning smoothly. We all owe her a debt of gratitude.”

A nomination for computer support pro Davis stated, “Jesse acts but does not react to the problems and temperaments of the staff, which makes solving the issue easy if not pleasant. He handles problems with a high priority, regardless of the problem size.” And also, “His interpersonal and communication skills have been great assets. His understanding of the complexities and workings of the library is one of the necessary skills.”

When Davis’ immediate supervisor left, he took over the extra duties and considered the tasks a learning opportunity.

The awards are named for Ethel Ward-McLemore, a geophysicist who had been conducting research in the Geological Information Library of Dallas. She had been provided an office in McDermott Library to continue her research. In appreciation of the professionalism, knowledge and service of the library staff, she established the awards program.

The awards were presented by Dr. Ellen Safley, the University’s director of libraries, after remarks by Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, executive vice president and provost of UT Dallas, during a May 20 banquet celebrating the 25th anniversary of the awards.

A special guest at the banquet was Mrs. Margaret (Peggy) Olsson, who was one of the first recipients of the award in 1989.  Olsson managed the Library’s instruction program until her retirement in 1997.

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