On April 13, faculty, staff, students, and Library Friends gathered in the International and Area Studies (IAS) Library to celebrate the legacy of Professor Ralph Fisher; Professor Christopher “Kit” Condill and Professor Joseph Lenkart, the very first Ralph Fisher Library Scholars; and the generosity of Professor Emeritus Larry Miller, whose gifts have made the Scholars program possible.
Ralph Fisher’s wife, Ruth, and family members were on hand for the afternoon celebration including remarks by notable faculty and staff. Acting Dean of Libraries and University Librarian William Mischo welcomed everyone to the event. John Randolph, associate professor of History in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, spoke of Fisher’s work and accomplishments. An exhibit of Fisher’s papers from the Archives was introduced by University Archivist William Maher. Library Friend Larry Miller recounted his partnership with Fisher and his vision for the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian collections and services which inspired his gift in Fisher’s honor. Professor Steven Witt, the head of the IAS Library, talked about Condill’s and Lenkart’s many contributions to the Library and the profession.
Kit Condill is the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Librarian and an assistant professor at the Library. He is a 2004 graduate of the School of Information Sciences (iSchool) at Illinois, where he teaches a Slavic Bibliography course each fall, and a 1995 graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He spent seven years as the Central Asian reference specialist for (and then manager of) the Slavic Reference Service. He has directed Slavic collection development since 2011. Condill’s research interests revolve around national bibliography as a tool for assessing and evaluating the publishing output of the non-Slavic peoples of the former Soviet Union, and for assessing the comprehensiveness of U.S. library collections.
Joe Lenkart is the international reference librarian and an assistant professor at the Library. He provides vision and leadership for the Slavic Reference Service in support of Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies scholars at Illinois and affiliated programs from around the world. As international reference librarian, he also extends the model of in-depth reference services across other regional areas of focus in the IAS Library. Lenkart’s research focuses on information systems and print cultures associated with ethnic minorities in the Russian Federation and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. In addition to his reference and research interests, Lenkart is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Russian Federation, 2000–2002). He holds a master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and a Master of Library Science degree, both from Illinois.
Named positions, such as the Ralph Fisher Library Scholars, enhance the Library’s services, programs, and reputation by recognizing and fostering the considerable research contributions of its faculty.