Profiles of Parkland: Eric Sizemore
Parkland Librarian and part-time comic Eric Sizemore has been a townie for most of his life.
“I was born […] in Champaign and have lived here ever since except for a brief stint in Southern California when I was 20 years old,” he said. “I went to Centennial High School and Parkland College and eventually got my master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illin
ois at Urbana-Champaign.”
Sizemore recalls his years as a student at Parkland fondly.
“One of my favorite memories of attending Parkland was a ‘free speech forum’ that used to take place in the X[-wing] lounge on a weekly basis,” he said. “They would set up a podium with a microphone and amplifier and let anyone speak. There was an election coming up one year and the crowds got larger and larger the closer we got to election day. Hearing so many impassioned thoughts on politics, culture and world events from fellow students felt really empowering and hopeful. I loved every minute of it.”
Sizemore has been on staff at Parkland for four years, and he is excited to see many of the new things that are happening in the library this semester.
“Some of the most important new things in the library are the increasing amount of materials and resources that are now online and accessible through our website, our digital collections, including e-journals, videos on demand, and e-books,” he said. “Our growing collection is easily over half electronic at this point; all librarians also have a working knowledge of our hardware for student use: laptops, iPads, Chromebooks and a 3D printer. Ask in person at the library; we’ll be happy to show them to you and tell you all about whatever you need.”
When he isn’t busy teaching library information classes or answering any of the many reference questions he gets each day, Sizemore has been known to take the stage at various Champaign-Urbana clubs to practice his love of stand-up comedy.
“When I was a kid I used to check out comedy on vinyl record albums from the Champaign Public Library,” he said. “By the time my friends and I were in middle school we had listened to and tape recorded every single one of the albums the library had. We’d memorized all the routines of Steve Martin’s and George Carlin’s performances and would recite them on the bus to school.”
Soon after participating in some talent shows during his junior and senior years in high school, Sizemore set his sights higher.
“I performed stand-up at the Alley Cat which is now Fat City,” he said. “Recently, comedy open mics started again here in Champaign, and I got the bug to do it again.”
Sizemore has the luxury of loving what he does at Parkland. “My absolute favorite thing to do as a librarian is instruction,” he said. “If I instruct a class and I can get one raised eyebrow, one gasp of surprise or one chuckle, I feel like I’ve succeeded wildly. Often the students are very gracious and come up to me later and actually tell me things that they remember that I taught. That is probably my absolute favorite thing. I am looking forward to more of that in the future.”