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Heather Cole and Emilie Hardman Win 2016 Ishimoto Award

The award recognizes a member or group of staff members who advance the mission of the library through exceptional contributions and leadership.


In a surprise announcement during a staff meeting on January 19, Heather Cole and Emilie Hardman were presented with the 2016 Carol Ishimoto Award for Distinguished Service by Sarah E. Thomas.

Cole, Assistant Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts and Curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection and Hardman, Research, Instruction, and Digital Initiatives Librarian, received the honor for their work creating the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program at Houghton. The program has raised the library’s profile to undergraduates and helped them understand and use primary sources. Houghton has hosted nine students over the past two summers who developed unique projects such as an opera, a play, and a series of podcasts about Houghton’s collections. Since the project began, Houghton has seen a nearly 20% increase in usage from undergraduates.

The award was created in 1991 through an endowment established by Carol Ishimoto, former associate librarian of Harvard College for cataloging and processing. It recognizes a member or group of staff members who advance the mission of the library through exceptional contributions and leadership.

“Heather and Emilie’s work has been innovative, high impact, and an inspiration to colleagues,” said Tom Hyry, Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library and Director of Arts and Special Collections of the Harvard College Library. “The program has set a new standard for how we promote the Library in a visually engaging way and has drawn support from the Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program in Harvard College, which now funds at least three fellowships.”

Cole and Hardman expressed gratitude for Hyry’s support of the program as well as the expertise of their colleagues at Houghton and throughout Harvard Library that have helped to make the program a success.

“I’m honored to receive this award in recognition of the Houghton Undergraduate Fellowship Program that Heather and I dreamed up and have made into something that encourages and supports students as they work in a concentrated ways with our collections, “Hardman said. “The students who have been our fellows over the past two years and the projects they’ve done, the enthusiasm and unique insights they’ve contributed, have been invigorating and supremely affirming of all the reasons I think many of us show up every day and work from the heart and soul for this library.”

“Sharing our collections with students, and seeing the remarkable work they produce when given the chance to explore them, has always been one of the best parts of what I do,” said Cole. “I’m so proud of the work our fellows have accomplished and honored to be recognized for something that is a true labor of love.”

By Harvard Library Communications.

Published on January 25, 2017.