March 16, 2018

Jennifer Hain Teper | Movers & Shakers 2004


The Perfect Career


For Jennifer Hain Teper, it all began with a simple question: ‘If you could do anything at all, regardless of pay, what would it be?’ This was posed by a friend when Hain Teper was a volunteer at the wildflower research center in Austin, TX. ‘I said I would like to fix old books,’ she recalls, ‘not knowing then that there was a whole profession of people who do just that.’ From that realization, Hain Teper’s career blossomed.

She earned her M.S. with a certificate of advanced study in conservation and preservation and has since gone on to distinguish herself, in just a few short years, as a highly regarded conservationist. ‘Jennifer represents the best of a new generation of conservation librarians,’ says Paula Kaufman, Hain Teper’s boss at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. ‘At the University of Illinois, Jennifer is a critical part of the library’s stewardship mission.’

In 2003, the library celebrated a major milestone–its ten millionth book. It did so in style, creating a handmade volume, a collection of anecdotes and remembrances about the library entitled Unlocking Our Past, Building Our Future. Hain Teper was the architect and creator of this landmark production, working high-quality, handmade paper and binding the book with leather and wood. As one observer noted, Hain Teper’s expert work on the volume perfectly evoked ‘the beauty of this library, its buildings, collections, and people.’

The University of Illinois is just the third academic library in the country to hit the ten million–volume mark, and it’s only fitting that the library commemorate this remarkable achievement with what Kaufman calls a ‘crowning achievement’ from a talented and promising young librarian.




Current Position: Head, Conservation Unit, Main Library, and Assistant Professor of Library Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degrees: M.S., University of Texas at Austin, 2000
Hobby : Leather-working