Campus Features

Library volumes are plated to honor newly promoted faculty

Allison Vance
12/22/2014  8:00 am

On Tuesday, December 16, a select group of faculty members gathered together for one of the university’s lesser-known academic ceremonies. Fourteen years ago, the University Library initiated a program in which newly tenured or promoted faculty select a book to be added to the Library collections. These selections are book-plated in their honor, and stand as a reminder now and into the future of the remarkable accomplishments of the faculty members at Illinois.

Each selected book receives a bookplate with the faculty member's name, rank and year of selection. The plates also include a brief explanation of the volume’s significance in his or her life and work. The books will be placed back in the regular collections of the University Library where future readers will discover these plates in their own studies.

There are no criteria for book selection – the choice is entirely a personal decision. And the reasons for the choices were as different as the books themselves. Below is a selection of the chosen books.

image of faculty member holding book

A Time of Gifts

By: Patrick Leigh Fermor

This is a journey through an area of Europe with special significance to me. The author traveled near my Grandfather's village shortly after he emigrated, so I saw a glimpse of life at that time. The author's adventures also triggered memories of my European study abroad experience, which shaped who I am today.

-Sarah Williams, University Library


Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

By: Barbara Ehrenreich

This book had a significant impact on my understanding of the struggles of the working class and helped me to appreciate the freedom that can come from obtaining a degree in higher education. I am forever indebted to my parents who encouraged me to never stop learning.

-Marni Boppart, Kinesiology and Community Health


The Ants

By: Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson

This book was instrumental in sparking my interest in the ecology, evolution and behavior of ants. I first read it as a graduate student and it remains near my desk today.

-Andrew Suarez, Animal Biology and Entomology

image of book with faculty member's dedication


By: the Diagram Group

As a child I received this book as a gift and spent countless hours flipping through its pages. I am sure it subconsciously played a large part in the development of my data-centric artwork. The concepts and graphics in the book break down intangible ideas from geography and science into comprehensible parts.

-Stephen Cartwright, Art and Design



By: Michael Ende

Since you suggested children's books, I selected Momo, a book I grew up with that has just been re-released in English. Momo is a simple fable about the importance of taking time, and of not valuing efficiency over everything. A useful reminder that there is more to life than work.

-Julia Hockenmaier, Computer Science


The Mysterious Island

By: Jules Verne

I still remember the excitement and inspiration I had when reading this book in 4th grade. Since then I always want to become someone like the people from this book who knows how to construct a battery and telegraph and how to make magic chemicals, i.e. engineers and scientists.

-Logan Liu, Electrical and Computer Engineering


This Is Paris

By: Miroslav Sasek

My evening routine with my son is one of the favorite parts of my day. Since he was born three-and-a- half years ago, he has forced me to carve out time to truly relax everyday away from the grind of deadlines for work. This is Paris is his favorite book at bedtime.

-Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, Kinesiology and Community Health

image of faculty member examining book

The Racer

By: Tim Krabbe

Simply one of my favorite books. If you can manage the original Dutch, do so. ``Niet-wielrenners. De leegheid van die levens schokt me.''

-P. Scott Carney, Electrical & Computer Engineering


The Little Engine That Could

By: Platt & Munk

A favorite elementary school teacher gave me this book as a gift. The message stuck with me throughout my life!

-Brian DeMarco, Physics


The Library maintains a full list of all the previous faculty honorees and their book choices here.


Campus Features is provided by Public Affairs to showcase various endeavors by our diverse campus community.