Job announcement: Prairie Research Institute Librarian — Clinical Assistant or Associate Professor, Funk ACES Library

Application deadline: June 23, 2023
Read the full job announcement and apply

The University Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks a dynamic and collaborative individual to serve as the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) Librarian.  The Prairie Research Institute comprises five state scientific surveys and conducts transformative research in numerous scientific disciplines, including geology, ecology and biodiversity, hydrology and water, and weather and climate.  

Reporting to the Head of the Funk ACES Library, the Prairie Research Institute Librarian will be primarily responsible for coordinating library services offered to the Prairie Research Institute. These services include collection development, liaison activities within the Institute and the University Library, reference services, and engagement with the university community and beyond. The successful candidate will also be involved in strategic initiatives to enhance and measure the impact of the Institute’s research output. The Prairie Research Institute Librarian will be based in the Funk ACES Library and work closely with other subject specialists and units across the University Library to provide robust research support for the Prairie Research Institute.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serves as the primary liaison between the University Library and the Prairie Research Institute.
  • Provides research support and instruction for PRI staff.
  • Actively participates in PRI’s committees and leadership teams and collaborates with appropriate University Library groups to promote Institute researcher data and information stewardship, scholarly communication and publishing, professional/organizational identity and impact assessment, as well as data and institutional repository services.
  • Develops strategies for increasing access, visibility, and impact of PRI’s publications, including those in conference proceedings, journals, reports, and data publication. These strategies may involve print and digital platforms, as well as other relevant and emerging technologies.
  • Performs collection development and manages natural history materials funds, working collaboratively with other subject specialists within the University Library on collections related initiatives as needed.
  • Participates in reference, outreach, and other user-focused services and initiatives, as well as Graduate Assistant training and mentoring, as part of the Funk ACES Library and the Library’s Life Sciences Division.
  • Contributes to Library-wide information, instruction and research support services, with emphasis on services related to research data, scholarly communication, and digital repositories.
  • Participates in Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) initiatives through the University Library’s BHL membership.
  • Represents the Library in consortial, national, and international committee work as needed; for example, the opportunity to participate in the Data Curation Network.
  • Engages in research and professional service activities at an appropriate level for clinical specialized faculty in the University of Illinois Library.



  • Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited institution or advanced degree in a relevant subject area.
  • Experience providing research and/or reference service in an academic or research library.
  • Experience with applications and resources used in academic library and research environments (e.g., citation managers, LibGuides, research impact and metrics).
  • Experience in creating and maintaining web content.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collegially and cooperatively with others in a team environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively.


  • Bachelor’s degree or professional experience in a discipline relevant to PRI’s research.
  • Experience in collection development, analysis, and management.
  • Experience with database development or management.
  • Familiarity with data and/or research repositories.
  • Knowledge of curation principles for digital objects, including documents, maps, photographs, and data.
  • Experience with instructional design, library instruction, and creating lesson plans and learning objects.
  • Record of participation in relevant professional organizations and continuing education.

Minimum starting salary for clinical faculty positions in the Library is $60,000 and is commensurate with credentials and experience. The University of Illinois Library is committed to competitive salaries and attending to equity in compensation within the organization. The successful candidate will join the University Library as a Clinical Assistant or Associate Professor.

This position is available as soon as possible and eligible for a hybrid work schedule; for more information, consult the Library’s Guidelines and Workflows. This is a regular, 100%, twelve-month, specialized faculty appointment, in the University Library. Clinical faculty are primarily engaged in librarianship and do so from the perspective of a practitioner. Includes 24 annual vacation days; 12 annual paid holidays; 12 annual sick-leave days (cumulative), plus an additional 13 sick-leave days (non-cumulative) available, if needed, each year; health insurance requiring a small co-payment is provided to employee (with the option to purchase coverage for spouse and dependents); required participation in State Universities Retirement System (SURS) (8% of annual salary is withheld and is refundable upon termination), with several options for participation in additional retirement plans; newly-hired employees are covered by the Medicare portion of Social Security and are subject to its deduction.

To ensure full consideration, all required application materials must be received by 6:00pm (CST) on June 23, 2023. Please create your candidate profile, upload a cover letter, your curriculum vitae, and the names and email addresses of four professional references by the close date. Applications not submitted through will not be considered.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Statement: The University Library of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign values diversity of thought, perspective, experience, and people, and is actively committed to a culture of inclusion and respect. We are dedicated to the practices of social justice, diversity, and equality, and we strive to overcome historical and divisive biases in our society and embrace diverse points of view as assets to the fabric of our community. All positions will be called on to contribute to building this environment in the Library and throughout the campus community, and we encourage candidates who share these values to apply. Additional information can be found on the Library’s DEIA webpage:

Half of US West out of drought, but not fully recovered

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Nearly half of the U.S. West has emerged from drought this spring, but the welcome wet conditions haven’t entirely replenished the region, scientists said Tuesday.

Hydrologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said deep snowpack across much of the West will bring short-term relief, but the equally deep “bathtub rings” at Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs are a reminder of the long road to bringing supply and demand in balance.

This winter brought bountiful and persistent snow from the Sierra Nevada to the Rocky Mountains, stranding residents in their homes while setting accumulation records and pulling a large swath of the region out of drought. The quantity of precipitation is impressive, but the fact that snow stuck around this late in the season is perhaps more rare, said Joseph Casola, NOAA’s western regional climate services director.

Minnesota poised to close state park, return land to Dakota tribe

Read the full story from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A Minnesota state park built on a notorious site of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 would be closed and transferred to the Dakota under a proposed state law.

The 1,300-acre Upper Sioux Agency State Park, composed of rolling prairies and wetlands at the confluence of the Yellow Medicine and Minnesota rivers, would be returned to the Upper Sioux Community that was forced out after the war. It would mark the first time in decades that the state of Minnesota relinquished a state park.

DOE directs $26M to PG&E, ConEd and other projects testing how clean energy can support a resilient grid

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The Department of Energy this week announced it will offer $50 million for community-based clean energy projects in rural areas and $26 million for projects “to demonstrate how solar, wind, storage, and other clean energy resources can support a reliable and efficient U.S. power grid.”

The $50 million for projects is being disbursed to increase energy affordability and bolster climate resilience in rural or remote areas with fewer than 10,000 people, DOE said in a Thursday news release. Projects qualify if they cost between $500,000 and $5 million, with pre-applications due July 13 and full applications due Oct. 12.

Adidas plans to sell some of its Yeezy inventory and donate the money

Read the full story at Retail Dive.

What to do with the 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of product has been a debate ever since Adidas cut ties with Kanye West, also known as Ye, in October. The retailer faced pressure both at the concept of burning the products and at the concept of selling the products. Now, it appears the retailer is leaning toward the latter option, with the aim of donating the proceeds.

Extreme heat will take an unequal toll on tribal jails

Read the full story at Grist.

In any given year, thousands of people are incarcerated in dozens of detention facilities run by tribal nations or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Often left out of research on climate and carceral facilities, the tribal prisoner population is one of the most invisible and vulnerable in the country. 

Now, climate change threatens to make matters worse. 

According to a Grist analysis, more than half of all tribal facilities could see at least 50 days per year in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century if emissions continue to grow at their current pace. Ten facilities could experience more than 150 days of this kind of heat. Yet many tribal detention centers do not have the infrastructure, or funding, to endure such extreme temperatures for that long. This kind of heat exposure is especially dangerous for those with preexisting conditions like high blood pressure, which Indigenous people are more likely to have than white people. 

In the turbulent Drake Passage, scientists find a rare window where carbon sinks quickly into the deep ocean

The Drake Passage, seen from Antarctica, is one of the most turbulent ocean regions on Earth. Lilian Dove

by Lilian (Lily) Dove, California Institute of Technology

Looking out across the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, I can see whales and seabirds diving in and out of the water as they feed on sea life in the lower levels of the food web. At the base of this food web are tiny phytoplankton – algae that grow at the ocean surface, taking up carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, just as plants on land do.

Because of their small size, phytoplankton are at the mercy of the ocean’s swirling motions. They are also so abundant that the green swirls are often visible from space.

Typically, phytoplankton remain near the surface of the ocean. Some may slowly sink to depth because of gravity. But in the turbulent Drake Passage, a 520-mile-wide (850 km) bottleneck between Antarctica and South America, something unusual is happening, and it has an impact on how the ocean takes carbon dioxide – the main driver of global warming – out of the atmosphere.

A satellite image shows green swirls off the South American coast.
A satellite image captures a green phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Argentina. The Drake Passage is at the country’s southern end. NASA Aqua/MODIS

The Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is notorious for its violent seas, with waves that can top 40 feet (12 meters) and powerful converging currents, some flowing as fast as 150 million cubic meters per second. Cold water from the Southern Ocean and warmer water from the north collide here, spinning off powerful and energetic eddies.

New scientific research I am involved in as an oceanographer now shows how the Drake Passage and a few other specific areas of the Southern Ocean play an outsize role in how the oceans lock up carbon from the atmosphere.

A map shows the underwater ridges and continental shelves.
A topographic map of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica. NCEI/NOAA

That process is crucial for our understanding of the climate. The global ocean is a massive reservoir of carbon, holding over 50 times as much carbon as the atmosphere. However, it is only when water carrying carbon gets to the deep ocean that carbon can be stored for long periods – up to centuries or millennia.

Photosynthetic phytoplankton are at the heart of that exchange. And in the Drake Passage, my colleagues and I have found that undersea mountains are stirring things up.

The role of ocean layers

The ocean can be visualized as having layers. With constant surface waves and winds, the upper layer is always stirring around, mixing waters. It’s like mixing milk into your morning coffee. This stirring mixes in solar heat and gases, such as carbon dioxide, taken up from the atmosphere.

Water density generally increases as the waters get deeper and colder and saltier. That forms density layers that are typically flat. Since water prefers to keep its density constant, it mostly moves horizontally and doesn’t easily move between the surface and deep ocean.

A graphic shows the typical ocean density layers, with phytoplankton in the upper layers.
In most of the ocean, water stays within a density layer and doesn’t mix with colder, saltier water. Lilian Dove

Yet despite this physical barrier, water testing shows that carbon dioxide produced by human activities is making its way into the deep ocean. One way is through chemistry: Carbon dioxide dissolves in water, creating carbonic acid. Living creatures in the ocean are another.

A view into the Drake Passage

Oceanographers have long pointed to the north Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean as places where surface waters are moved to depth, taking large volumes of carbon with them. However, recent work has shown that this process may actually be dominated by only a few areas – including the Drake Passage.

Despite its being one of the most famous stretches of the ocean, scientists have only recently been able to observe this window in action.

The main flow of the Drake Passage is created by the effect of strong westerly winds across the Southern Ocean. Scientists have found that the westerly winds create a slope in the water density, with dense waters shallower closer to Antarctica, where colder melt water caps the surface, but sloping deeper into the ocean farther north toward South America.

Side-by-side graphics show (1) the typical ocean density layers and (2) the sloped density layers in the Drake Passage.
Unlike in most of the ocean, density layers in the Drake Passage slope downward, allowing phytoplankton to mix downward as well as sideways. Lilian Dove

With advances in autonomous underwater robots and computer modeling, we have been able to show how the flow of the Southern Ocean interacts with an underwater mountain in the Drake Passage. This underwater interaction mixes up the ocean, enhancing that coffeelike stirring process.

The stirring along the sloped density levels provides a pathway for water from the upper layer of the ocean to move into the depths. And phytoplankton at the surface ocean are carried along with this stirring, moving to depth much faster than they would by gravitational sinking alone.

In a less energetic region, these phytoplankton would die and respire their carbon back to the atmosphere or slowly sink. However, at the Drake Passage, phytoplankton can be swept to depth before this happens, meaning the carbon they’ve taken up from the atmosphere is sequestered in the deep ocean. Carbon dissolved and stored in the deep ocean may also vent out in these locations.

Three people bundled up in winter gear work on a large seagoing drone.
Author Lilian Dove, at right, works with oceanographer Isa Rosso and marine technician Richard Thompson to prepare an oceangoing autonomous vehicle to take measurements in the Southern Ocean. Linnah Neidel

Scientists have estimated that the deepest ocean waters directly interact with the atmosphere through only about 5% of the ocean’s surface area. This is one of those special places.

Investigating the Drake Passage and other oceanographic windows allows science to home in on better understanding climate change and the workings of our blue planet.

Lilian (Lily) Dove, Ph.D. Candidate in Oceanography, California Institute of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Hasbro reintroduces plastic windows on toy packages, this time with plant-based content

Read the full story at Packaging Dive.

Toy and game maker Hasbro is reintroducing plastic windows and blisters to the packaging for its 6-inch fan figurines, following a previous decision to eliminate plastic packaging. The new windows and blisters will be made from bio-PET or recycled PET, a spokesperson confirmed via email.

The changes will be phased in starting later this year and into 2024 for certain products. Eventually, all new 6-inch figurine releases will be housed in the new packaging.

Hasbro decided to make the change based on fan feedback and to “achieve our priority of meeting our fans’ expectations for extraordinary packaging and superior design while still developing packaging that minimizes waste and the use of virgin plastic.”  

Firefly partners with TerraCycle to recycle toothbrushes

Read the full story at Recycling Today.

Firefly Toothbrush, a La Palma, California-based provider of children’s oral care solutions, has partnered with TerraCycle to divert its waste from landfills.

The Firefly Free Recycling Program provides consumers the opportunity to recycle battery-powered toothbrushes, replacement brush heads, empty toothpaste tubes and caps, floss packaging and outer plastic packaging.

Precision feeding, methane suppression strategies proposed under UK net zero plan

Read the full story at Dairy Reporter.

The UK government unveiled a raft of proposals last week with the goal of meeting carbon budgets. Precision animal feeding and diverse livestock-linked methane emission reduction approaches form part of the plan.