The Extraordinary Customer Service Award is given annually to a UT Libraries faculty or staff member who exemplifies the libraries’ service philosophy. It is one of several awards endowed by friends of the UT Libraries that are presented at the Library Spirit Awards, an event that celebrates the accomplishments of the libraries’ faculty and staff over the previous year.
The UT Library Friends Service Endowment, which funds the prize, was established by W. Charles (Charlie) Kuykendall (UT ’58) and Sandra W. Kuykendall, to honor professor Al Keally, who taught Industrial Management in the College of Business Administration from 1948 to 1976. Professor Keally was well known — and beloved – for expecting each student’s best performance and was remembered by many of his students as the person at UT who most influenced his or her life. Keally was a keen supporter of the UT Libraries and of the librarians whom he acknowledged for their role in making the libraries a center of research, learning, and teaching.
The Extraordinary Customer Service Award is open to all UT Libraries faculty and staff who are nominated for being consistently optimistic and showing extraordinary initiative in serving the libraries’ customers, defined broadly as including patrons, faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community.
The recipient of the 2021 Extraordinary Customer Service Award is Olivia Kelley from the Libraries’ Administration and Human Resources Office. When university operations were impacted by the COVID pandemic, Olivia took on increased responsibilities. Participating in many campus COVID operations, she was proactive and creative when answering calls for the Emergency Call Center, and timely, attentive, and respectful while assisting Dean of Libraries Steve Smith in his role as Special Advisor to the Chancellor, Interim Dean of Libraries Holly Mercer, other library team members who were serving on various COVID-related task forces. Kelley’s new temporary responsibilities enabled her to interact with customers on a much broader level – from students and parents up to the Chancellor. She served not only library users but campus constituents with excellence and compassion. While the pandemic created additional customer service tasks for her, she didn’t let her library colleagues down. She maintained and created new relationships with individuals in the libraries, across campus, and outside of the university. Olivia Kelly was honored with the Extraordinary Customer Service Award at the Library Spirit Awards ceremony on May 19, 2021.
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