MARSHALL, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — The director of the Marshall Public Library, Alyson Thompson, has been named a recipient of the Public Humanities Award for her efforts in community improvement. 

With experience in several library projects and programs, Thompson has worked to continuously improve library resources for the overall progress of the community.

Focusing on the preservation of local history, Thompson and her team have done the research and the work to catalog and digitize many of the significant historic events, locations, and legends in the area. 

“We’re about embracing and preserving local history so that we can further educate our public and that’s really at the heart of our mission. Most good things start with really humble and simple beginnings and what we believe is that there’s always a story that can benefit someone somewhere and we have some other personal community stories that really make that evident,” Thompson said.

Working to acquire the collection from the Clark County Genealogical Library, Thompson has been focusing a lot of effort on organizing and indexing the many resources and historic documents, newspapers, and photographs that have been acquired by the library.

“The Clark County Genealogy Library is on the cusp of dissolving and because of our strides, I believe that they are still confident in handing over their collection to us because they know our goal is to help preserve what they have. We’re not going to let it go to waste, we’re not going to just let it just sit on the shelf somewhere. We’re going to take it to the next level and grow the collection,” Thompson said. “It’s been an honor for them to feel comfortable enough to say ‘we trust you with this really invaluable collection,’” she added.

Along with the head librarian and Illinois Road Scholar, Jaime Poorman, Thompson, and her team have made significant progress for both the library and the surrounding community.

Thompson will be recognized at the Illinois Public Humanities Awards on Wednesday, May 17 in Chicago, Illinois. The Illinois Public Humanities Award is designed to highlight those in the state who have made a significant impact through their work in and support of the humanities.

For those interested in learning more about the award, visit the Illinois Public Humanities Award event page.