Johnson, Reynolds win professional development award

IUS Horizon

Jackie Johnson (left) and Teresa Reynolds (right)
Jackie Johnson (left) and Teresa Reynolds (right)
Jane Austen’s works have been transformed from pieces of literature to a passion for Jackie Johnson, collections coordinator for IUS Library, and Teresa Reynolds, senior lecturer in English.

Johnson and Reynolds received the Herbert S. and Virginia White Professional Development Award for 2009, for their work “Siblings by Chance, Sisters by Choice: Anne Elliot’s Passage to Familial Happiness.”

“Herbert White was the dean of the School of Library of Information and Science at IU Bloomington for about 10 years,” Johnson said. “He set up this award in order to help librarians further their professional goals.”

“I was really pleased to have won it,” she said.

Their paper was originally written for the New Directions in Austen Studies Conference held at the Chawton House Library in Chawton, England. They used grants and awards to be able to present the paper this past July.

Reynolds won an Improvement of Teaching Award so she could go with Johnson to the conference.

They applied for the White Professional Award with the same paper, with little hopes of winning it.

“It is unusual for a non Bloomington or Indianapolis librarian to win this award,” Johnson said.

The White Professional Development Award is a difficult award to win, but quite an honor.

“It’s not awarded every single year, you can apply for it every year, but there have been years where they have just not awarded it because the proposals weren’t strong enough,” Johnson said.

Reynolds described herself and Johnson as “Jane Austen freaks.”

“We do a lot of Jane Austen stuff together,” Reynolds said.

The love of Jane Austen has led them to start a Jane Austen reading group on campus for students.

“It’s not very official on campus,” Reynolds said. “We just get together and discuss a book.”

The reading group is not the only way to get involved. The Jane Austen Society of North America meets at Locust Grove in Louisville each month. They have discussions of Jane Austen’s work and serve tea.

Johnson and Reynolds are involved in the society, and helped to put on the second annual Jane Austen Fest.

People who attended were served tea and listened to Maggie Sullivan, the feature speaker.

They also got to experience a bonnet maker, and shoe makers, who were dressed in costume.

The Jane Austen group meets once a semester on campus.

To join the on campus reading group or more information about the Locust Grove Jane Austen Society of North America, e-mail Reynolds at

“We would really like more students to come to it,” Reynolds said.

The two of them not only have a passion for Jane Austen, but for their profession at IU Southeast, as well.

They both said they want to help the students and IU Southeast as a whole.

“I think we are going through a big transition phase in this library,” Johnson said. “As a lot of libraries are, in moving away from print material to electronic resources, I think I want to think about and help the best way to do that.”

As for Reynolds, she has recently spent time working on her teaching philosophy for Facet, a teachers’ group.

“I really believe people are better people for having studied literature, for having gone to college at all, for improving themselves, and trying to learn more,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said she has a strong personal belief about learning.

“You don’t have to always be going to college, but we should be trying to learn, grow, and try to figure out the best people who we can be,” she said.

Reynolds also said she has a personal motto for her literature classes.

“Literature for life,” she said. “I feel like there is so much we can learn about life from reading these works of literature.”

Staff Writer