Fans of the Leatherby Libraries will be well-acquainted with (now-graduated) student employee Jimmy Elinski’s (’21) excellent series, “Exploring the Magic of the Leatherby Libraries.” Jimmy’s series was well-liked both on and off the Chapman University campus, and we are delighted to announce that the series is the recent recipient of a Gold level award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in their 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards.

Jimmy Elinski posed sideways, superimposed over a photo of the Henri Temianka Archives Multimedia Room

Jimmy doing flips in the Henri Temianka Archive Multimedia Room

The nomination of Jimmy’s series, submitted by the Leatherby Libraries Marketing & Development team, read, “Coming to Chapman University as a transfer student, marketing and events student assistant Jimmy Elinksi had only a vague idea of what the campus had to offer until he started working at the libraries. With a strong affinity for libraries, writing, and storytelling, Jimmy felt like it was a match made in heaven when he was offered a job to join the team. Since the first day, his love for the libraries has only grown. Each day, Jimmy made an effort to learn something new about the library. This included learning about its exhibits, events, activities, the support it offers, and library administration’s vision for the future of the academic library at Chapman University. In addition to discovering more about our services and collections, Jimmy also started to discover that the library is filled with hidden gems. As part of his outreach efforts, he decided to take everyone on an expedition as part of a new blog series, titled ‘Exploring the Magic of the Leatherby Libraries.’ Throughout the 2019-2020 year and using well-developed and virtually intriguing blogs, Jimmy wrote each week about a hidden gem, a story room, or a collection. He explored the rich exhibits and archives of the Leatherby Libraries, and took a deep dive into the treasures of its various collections. From the Huell Howser Archives and California’s Gold Exhibit to the Disney Rooms, Jimmy took the students and the faculty on a magical tour through his storytelling and photography, and brought the collections to life.”

The CASE judges offered significant praise for the series, writing, “The unique and innovative blog series, ‘Exploring the Magic of the Leatherby Libraries,’ from Chapman University deserves high accolades. Through storytelling, Jimmy Elinski was able to highlight different areas of the Leatherby Libraries that could otherwise be overlooked and underappreciated. Elinski successfully blended the academic content of the exhibits and archives with his own personal discovery, which resulted in an approachable way for users to explore the library virtually. The outstanding collaboration of the development coordinator and student worker (Elinski) provided a strong structure to educate constituents through an individualized approach. To further distinguish itself, this project found a way to utilize existing content that profiled meaningful work and use it in a new way. This framework of sharing established content through a different approach makes it accessible for other institutions to implement similar strategies.”

Jimmy posing sideways, as if swimming, with a wall of framed photos behind him.

Jimmy swimming with the sea life in Kevin Lee’s Underwater Photography Exhibit

“This year’s CASE Circle of Excellence Awards highlight the creative, nimble, and innovative approaches our members bring to championing the success of their institutions,” says CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham.

“Advancing education has never been more important, and the Circle of Excellence Awards celebrate the innovative work that has contributed to that vital societal outcome. This year, CASE member schools, colleges, and universities across the CASE global membership were faced with challenges that have never been seen before, and advancement professionals demonstrated their skills and sensitivity as they created inspiring and important work to engage their communities in entirely new ways.”

In 2021, CASE received almost 3,000 entries from 27 countries. Those entries came from 530 institutions for consideration across 100 categories.

Congratulations to Jimmy! Read more about the award here.