Unsung Hero: Timothy Leonard


MLIS student Timothy Leonard browses historical
comic book collections at Hill Memorial Library.

Timothy Leonard, a Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) student, received the Unsung Hero Love Purple Live Gold award from LSU Campus Life for re-activating the LSU Sigma Tau Delta (STD/Σ Τ Δ) chapter (Omega Zeta) English Honor Society.

Leonard's receipt of the award encompasses several elements: re-activating a student organization on campus is no simple task.

Both his work with Σ Τ Δ and his efforts as a School of Library & Information Science (SLIS) student are...


"If you are capable to help someone else, you should," Leonard said. 

The reactivation of Sigma Tau Delta at LSU was based on encouraging a variety of people to get involved. 

"No matter what your specialization is, you are serving the patrons," Leonard said. "Raising money for literacy is a great example of service, and that is what Σ Τ Δ is all about."


"Every project I've ever been a part of required encouraging others to get involved," Leonard said. "...and an English honor society is not just for English students. It's for any course of study that contributes to the fostering of literacy." 

One collaborative project Leonard contributed to was a ComicCon-type event at the Student Union called SigmaCon 2017. He helped to facilitate special guest appearances of Derek Donovan, an illustrator for DC Comics; Victor Gischler, a writer for the comic Deadpool, and Roland Paris, an illustrator for Marvel. 

To reactivate the Omega Zeta chapter of Σ Τ Δ , Leonard worked with faculty and staff and Σ Τ Δ to complete the paperwork process, find funding, and recruit members for the organization. Throughout, he raised nearly $5,000 to support members' participation in an international Σ Τ Δ conference in March 2017 where they presented original research and advocated for children's literacy.

At the conference, Leonard received the International Student Advisor Award for leadership demonstrated during his two-year term (2015-2017) as the International Student Advisor. During his term, he created an international philanthropy project raising money for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which mails books to children's houses. 

Keep reading for a Q & A with Leonard

Q: Why did you choose LSU?

A: I chose LSU because the Library & Information Science program is highly ranked and respected, and because of the hospitality I felt when talking on the phone with faculty members here during the selection process.

Q: Why did you pick the archival studies focus?

A: There is so much cool stuff! Even though it's all behind glass or in boxes, archiving isn't about "You can look, not touch." I'm trying to develop a new mechanism for scanning items without having to open the book, sort of like a dome scanner that rotates and uses 3D scanning. Very futuristic, I know.

Q: What is your favorite class related to your program?

A: LIS 7702, Seminar in Advanced Archival Appraisal with Dr. Ed Benoit. When people think about appraising, they think money, but in academics appraising is a scholastic value. You ask questions like, "What value does this letter by Abraham Lincoln hold?" Besides the name on the letter, the value of information in the letter could include events, names, and other historical content. History should not be based on a monetary value, rather an information value. 

Q: What is an interesting fact about yourself?

A: A copy of my master's thesis for English is kept at the Charles Dickens Museum & Library in London. I found original contracts and letters from the Trans-Atlantic Partnerships in Periodicals during the 19th century. I also hold five gold medals in adaptive sports!


Timothy Leonard at Hill Memorial Library with his service dog, Ginger. 


The Love Purple Live Gold Unsung Hero award


A comic book collection at Hill Memorial Library.