Professional News

UK Libraries to Present Willis Award to Kate Seago

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photo of William T. Young Library main entrance
headshot photo of Kate Seago

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2018)University of Kentucky Libraries will honor Catherine "Kate" Seago, director of Acquisitions and classics academic liaison, with the 2018 Paul A. Willis Outstanding Faculty Award at tonight’s UK Libraries Spring Gala, at William T. Young Library.

“Kate has made significant contributions to UK Libraries, the university, and to the library and information science profession,” Senior Associate Dean Mary Beth Thomson said. “Kate’s willingness to share her expertise and research, provide assistance with solving a problem or completing a project, and to always strive for excellence has had a continuous and substantial impact on UK Libraries.”  

Seago earned her bachelor’s degree in classical languages from Berea College in 1982. Upon graduation, she received the Elizabeth Gilbert Fellowship in Library Science to use toward her graduate studies at UK. Seago earned master’s degrees in classical languages in 1984 and library and information sciences in 1985 from the university.

Her association with libraries began early in middle school when Seago was a volunteer both at her local public library and school library. It was her high school librarian who encouraged her to attend college and become a librarian. She continued to work in libraries during her college years. She assisted the cataloger at Berea work­ing on her first online library system, OCLC. While a graduate student she worked in the government publications department at UK Libraries under Sandee McAninch.

Seago’s first professional position was as a grant cataloger at the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1985. While at UMC, she participated in the Center for Research Libraries’ Library Intern program designed to give beginning librarians a better understanding of library management and leadership.

After Seago’s grant position, she accepted a position as cataloger at UK Libraries. During her time at UK, she has served in a variety of positions within Technical Services including head of bibliographic maintenance, cataloging coordinator and assistant systems librarian. During that time, she served as the cataloger on two grant projects — a state grant to catalog Kentucky state documents and an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to catalog books converted from microfilm to digital images. While in Technical Services, Seago has partici­pated in multiple system migrations, transition from the paper catalog to the online catalog, and reclassification from Dewey to Library of Congress. A large part of her career has been the change from a primarily print-based environment to one that is centered more on electronic resources and using a variety of online services.

In 2005, Seago became head and later director of Acquisitions. In 2008, she attended the Triangle Research Libraries Network Manage­ment Institute which furthered her interest in leadership and project management. And in 2015, she accompanied Mary Beth Thomson and Stephen Wrinn to China to visit university libraries and presses. An outcome of this trip was the Window on Shanghai gift to UK Libraries’ materials on China.

In addition to her role at the UK Libraries, Seago has served as an adjunct faculty member to the School of Library and Information Science (now School of Information Science) teaching classes in cataloging and technical services periodically from 1995 to 2011.

During her library career, Seago has also been active in a variety of professional organi­zations such as Kentucky Library Association and NASIG (formerly the North American Serials Interest Group Inc.), among others. She has shared her experiences in managing workflows, system migrations and on various projects via presentations. Seago has been named the 2019 chair of the Ohio Valley Group of Technical Services Librarians annual conference, which UK Libraries will host.

Within the UK community, Seago has served on the Senate Advisory Commit­tee on Privilege and Tenure and as parliamentarian to the University Senate. She also works with UK Wellness as a yoga teacher.

In her nomination letter for the honor, Systems Librarian Tari Keller said UK Libraries was lucky to have Seago on faculty describing the 2018 Willis Award winner as “someone who is consistently working to make the University of Kentucky Libraries a better place to work and shares her knowledge professionally every year with her peers.”

The Willis Award is named for Paul A. Willis, former director of UK Libraries. A 1963 graduate of UK, Willis served as a library director for 41 years throughout the Southeast. He worked as a cataloger at the Library of Congress before beginning his master’s program in library science. In 1966, he began as a circulation librarian at the UK Law Library before becoming the university law librarian. He then served as director of UK Libraries from 1973 to 2003. He later served as University of South Carolina's Dean of Libraries from 2004 until 2007. During his career at UK, he created the Information Alliance consortium, planned construction of William T. Young Library, and expanded its collection and services.

As the premier research library in the Commonwealth, UK Libraries provides ever-expanding access to quality information resources, services and programs. UK Libraries locations include the William T. Young Library, the Agricultural Information Center, the Hunter M. Adams College of Design Library, the Education Library, the John A. Morris Library (Gluck Equine Research Center), the Kentucky Transportation Center Library, the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center, the Medical Center Library, the Science and Engineering Library, and the Special Collections Research Center.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue