Library Clothing Sale – Orders due 10/23

By: Heather Ross

Miss the libraries?  I know I do, but now you can order library clothing to wear at home.

New this year:

Back by popular demand:

  • Old school” Simstitch hoodies!!  SimStich hoodies looks like the old fashion sewn on letters, but they are applique.  My kids have these sweatshirts and the letter has washed well.
  • Old favorites — Open House T-shirts, tie dye t-shirts, and puffy vests and more!!

Please order using our online store managed through the vendor:  

  1. You will need to create an account to place your order.  Please remember your userID and password for future orders.  (forgot your account?  Make a new one)
  2. Add items to your cart.
  3. Check out — You will receive a confirmation email with your total. 
  4. Make your payment outside of this site.  Payment by PayPal / Venmo or Zell is preferred.  
  • Campus orders will be sent via UPS with other mail to campus library.
  • UP orders can either be sent to your branch library, curbside pickup on Curtain Road (thank you Commons Services) or picked up at my house (I live 2 miles from campus.)  Please use this formto specify delivery.
  • If paying by PayPal – Click on Send or Request money –>Send money–>enter email–>sending to a friend.  Enter the amount and put your name in the notes field.  You may be charged a small fee if you are using your bank card to pay but it’s a small amount.  There is no fee if link your PayPal account directly to your bank account.
  • If paying by Venmo  – my account is @Heather-Ross-121.
  • If paying by Zell directly from your bank, please contact me.
  • If paying by check (please don’t if possible) – Please make the checks out to Heather Ross and send to Donna Dean, 3 Paterno Library
“SimStich hoodie” looks like the old fashion sewn on letters, but they are applique.  My kids have these sweatshirts and the letters has washed well.

All proceeds benefit the Centre County United Way.  Thank you for your continued support.

Thank you for supporting the United Way.
Heather Ross
Chair – United Way Committee



Libraries Health and Safety Committee: Virtual Halloween Party

By: Pembroke Childs

The University Libraries Health and Safety Committee presents: The Virtual Halloween Party!
Now on the Halloween 2020 channel in Teams.

Post your: Costumes, Creative seasonal displays, Recipes, Greetings, or Favorite Masked selfie! *This year’s safety topic is: Focused Driving. Deadlines for submissions: October 31, 2020.

Teams: UL-Libraries: University Park: Hidden channel: Halloween 2020. If you are not on the U-Libraries team already, you can join with this code: 40a1oo3. Or join us via the link.

Halloween party logo

Tech Tip: Tips to maximize Zoom performance at home

By Ryan Johnson

Home office desk and computer

Internet speed issues can be quite common when joining or leading Zoom sessions from home.  Here are some tips to mitigate performance issues:

  1. Zoom clients: It is strongly recommended to run the Zoom desktop program instead of the running Zoom through a web browser. Also make sure you download the latest version of Zoom. If you are working at home with a University Libraries machine, download the latest version of Zoom from Self-Service.   If you are using a Corona laptops, feel free to download and install the newest version here:
  2. Close other applications: Other equipment such as gaming or video streaming services used by other users in the home can compete for internet bandwidth.
  3. Turn off video entirely:  A virtual background or HD video is typically not as critical as audio. To turn off HD video in your Zoom desktop client:
      • Click on Settings (the gear icon).
      • Click Video in the left-hand menu.
      • In the My Video section, uncheck the box beside Enable HD if it is checked.
  4. Using your phone to join Zoom: If your available cellular internet is better than your internet/Wi-Fi at home, consider joining your Zoom session from your cellular device’s Zoom client. While this is not optimal for content sharing, it may provide an overall better video experience. Cellular data rates may apply. Use a landline or cellular phone for audio. Close the “audio conferencing” options window when it appears to avoid audio feedback.
  5. Connect on campus: If you need to share content from your device for a critical meeting, consider going on campus. The University Enterprise Network provides robust connectivity. A co-host who has a better connection or is on-campus can also assist in screen sharing.
  6. Use online collaborative documents: Certain services, like Microsoft Office Online Documents and Teams, Box Notes, and Google Apps allow multiple people to open and edit files in real time.
  7. Consider your VPN use: There are some instances when VPN use is necessary such as when you’re trying to share content from an asset only accessible from within the University Enterprise Network.
  8. Test your bandwidth via, including if you are using a VPN.  You should have at least between 1 and 3 Mbps of upload speed (depending on video format) for a reliable Zoom videoconferencing experience. Check out Zoom’s bandwidth requirements for full details.


Penn State – A Top 10 Research Library

By: Steve Borrelli

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released the 2018-19 Investment Index rankings. Penn State is ranked 9th, which moves us up a spot from the previous year, when we ranked 10th. For the past fifteen years, Penn State University Libraries has consistently ranked in the Top 10. The ARL Investment Index is a measure of relative size among the 114-member association, and is determined by the following four variables: total library expenditures, salaries & wages of professional staff, total library materials expenditures, and the total number of professional and support staff.

We’ve updated our visualizations which contain historical comparisons of Big Ten institutions on eight ARL metrics including: circulation, collections, expenditures, gate counts, inter-library loan, instruction, personnel, and reference. The historical BTAA ARL data is also available to download here, or to take a look.

Tech Tip: Adding an In Folder column to your Outlook Inbox

By: Ryan Johnson

Here’s a tip that was given to me concerning the Outlook Desktop client.

Adding columns to your mail inbox can be a helpful way to help sort your email when searching.  To add a column such as the “In Folder” column, follow the instructions below:

While in your Inbox, go to View > View Settings > Columns:

adding columns screenshot

Change the Select available columns from field to All Mail Fields, select In Folder, and click Add ->:

The In Folder column will now appear in the Show these columns list. I clicked the In Folder column and clicked Move Up to place it before the Categories field, and then clicked OK to save that selection:

show columns screenshot

Now when you do a search, you will get your my results along with information about which folder you can find the document in.

Customer Service Tip: Email tip — Find out what they really want

By: Jeff Toister (submitted by Carmen Gass)

Email can be very convenient, but it can also make it difficult to understand what a customer really wants without a lot of back and forth.

Here are two tips to avoid misunderstanding a customer’s needs via email:

Tip #1: Before responding, take a deep breath, slow down, and ask, “What do they really want?”

Tip #2: If it takes more than two emails to figure out a customer’s needs, pick up the phone and call.

One of my clients, a technical support team for a software company, regularly uses these techniques when troubleshooting problems for their customers. They’ve found it helps them avoid misunderstandings and allows them to solve issues faster.

Getting to Know You: Kelly Thormodson

By: Gale Biddle

In March, the pandemic closed our libraries. In the ensuing months, we planned how we would reopen safely. We tried to imagine what our libraries would look like with social distancing, disinfecting, and masking policies. Someone was going to need to be the brave one to go first. In July, Kelly Thormodson was that first brave soul and reopened the doors of the Harrell Health Sciences Library Research and Learning Commons at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. We learned a few things from her, and now we can learn a few things about

Kelly began working at Penn State on April 1, 2019. Yes, it was April Fool’s Day, but when you hear Kelly talk about how much she enjoys being at Penn State, it was anything but a trick. When I asked her what she likes about Penn State, she immediately said, “The collegiality. When I interviewed for the position, I had interviews at Hershey and University Park. I heard at Hershey how much everyone wants people to succeed and how much support people are given. The next day, I heard the same thing at University Park. When both places said the same thing, it really stood out.” She also says that she sees it every day with her colleagues across the University.

As Associate Dean for Library and Information Services and Director, Kelly says she “puts out fires,” collaborates with Penn State and Penn State Health, and communicates with her great
team through an open-door policy (that’s somewhat figurative now with safe work practices!). She serves on the executive councils of both Dean Dewey and Dean Black. In addition, she maintains the budget and administration of the department. Fresh out of college, Kelly spent two years as a corporate trainer for a hotel company. She traveled all over the country opening new hotels. In fact, she opened 22 hotels in those two years. Opening a hotel included training the new staff on how to clean the rooms, how to manage the front desk, and even how to clean the pool. It wasn’t unusual to have 18 hour days and sometimes even 36 hour days leading up to the opening. Kelly is glad she did that when she was young, but soon realized it wasn’t her life’s ambition and went on to grad school to become a Librarian.

Kelly grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota. (For you “Golden Girls” fans, the township where Kelly grew up was St. Olaf township.) Her first job was picking rocks out of the fields and feeding calves. She loved to help her grandma with the garden and chickens she raised. And, of course, with Minnesota being the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” there were three lakes on the farm. She has extended family who continue the back-breaking and underappreciated work of running it.

Felix and Callie, cats

Felix and Calli

When Kelly wants to find her moment of Zen, she enjoys painting. She typically works with acrylics and oils. Her subjects are usually objects, but someday she might venture into abstract
painting. After spending some time in Seattle, she became a self-professed “wine snob” by taking classes and seminars on wine. For the ultimate in fun, she combines her love of painting
with her love of wine and enjoys the popular “Sip and Paint” classes. Not surprisingly, like many of us in the libraries, she enjoys reading, especially mysteries. In fact, she’s a member of not one but four book clubs. And at the end of a long day, she likes to spend time with her cats, Felix and Calli….and maybe a little sip of Disaronno!

Ten Random Questions with Kelly Thormodson
1. One song you never get tired of? Alcohol by Bare Naked Ladies
2. App you wished someone would invent? An app that lets me know when things of interest are on sale around me (e.g. Disaronno, wine, steak)
3. Artist you always recommend when someone asks? Brandi Carlile
4. Last show you binge watched? Schitt’s Creek
5. Would you rather go to the past or the future? Future
6. Cutest animal? Penguins
7. What things do you miss the most since the pandemic began? Going out to restaurants with friends and traveling
8. What is something that you’ve enjoyed since the pandemic began? Working from home. Kelly would like to continue to have at least one day working from home for herself and her team once the pandemic is over.
9. What did you learn about yourself during the shutdown? An extrovert, Kelly had to learn how to find ways to get energy from sources other than people.
10. What one thing do you really want but can’t afford? A Hermès handbag. (For those like me who had never really heard of Hermès, their handbags cost thousands of dollars.)

Customer Service Tip: When surprise and delight becomes surprise without delight

By: Shep Hyken (submitted by Carmen Gass)

We’ve all heard the expression surprise and delight. The intention is that we surprise our customers with better-than-expected service.

The result is that they are delighted. But what happens when the intended surprise does not delight? Read more here.

When Surprise and Delight Becomes Surprise Without Delight

Tech Tip: Microsoft 365 now supports Plus Addressing

By: Ryan Johnson

Microsoft logo - tech tip

Microsoft now allows you to create custom (or disposable) email addresses based off your standard email address with Plus Addressing. This will allow you to add “tags” to your email address when signing up for newsletters, contact forms, and other online forms. You can use and the email will still be delivered to your personal mailbox. This also works with subdomains of

This is basically a way to create disposable email addresses that would link to your main email, and make it easier to sort through emails because you would have different “plus addresses” that you would add by putting in a plus sign and a suffix to your regular one, and you can assign different addresses for different tasks.

For example, can use the Plus Addressing feature when signing up for Starbucks rewards as If a spam email arrives from, I know Starbucks shared my email address. Or a rule can be created when a message is received from for special processing.

You don’t need to do anything with your Microsoft account to start using this feature. Simply add a “+tag” after your username (can be first.last, alias) and before the “@” sign & emails will arrive in your inbox with the unique address.

Customer Service Tip: What do you do for work?

By: Mat Patterson submitted by Carmen Gass

I have at least three different answers for that question, depending on who is asking:
– Soccer Dad at my kid’s game: “I work for a US software company”
– My Doctor: “mostly typing”
– Chatty seat mate at the start of a 15 hour flight: “insurance adjuster”

There is no single “best answer,” because so much depends on who you are talking to, and why. It’s just as true when delivering customer service.

Having the correct answer is only part of the job—delivering that answer in a way that the customer can understand and act upon is equally important.

High quality service comes from customer service folk who:
1. Have the necessary knowledge to answer the question correctly
2. Understand that answer deeply enough to be able to confidently explain it in several different ways
3. Can size up a customer and context and select the right approach to delivering that answer

Consistently doing all three takes skill, experience and ongoing company support to do well. It’s also why we’re so far from AI being a practical replacement for most human-powered customer

Tech Tip: New to Zoom — Live Transcription

By: Ryan Johnson

Penn State Zoom Service now includes a feature that uses automatic transcription that enables speech to text transcription in Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars. This feature is enabled by the host of the meeting or webinar once it begins. Participants will not see the Live Transcript option unless the host enables it.

Zoom screenshot for tech tip

Users must first enable the setting within their Penn State Zoom profile in order to use it within their meeting.  Closed captioning is on by default; however users must check the sub setting below to activate live transcriptions within their meetings.

  1. Navigate to
  2. Click Sign-in, and sign in using your PSUID and password (if necessary).
  3. Click the Settings tab in the upper left corner.
  4. Search for Closed captioning found in the In Meeting (Advanced) section.
  5. Check the sub setting: Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting.

To learn more about this new feature and how to use it, please visit the new Staff Site training page: Zoom Live Transcription

Fall 2020 Libraries Exhibitions

Fall 2020 — University Libraries Exhibitions

Earth Archives exhibition posterEXHIBITION: Earth Archives: Stories of Human Impact. To coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Earth Archives explores the intersection of the environment, human activity, and the documentary record. Highlights of the virtual exhibition include representations of varied print, manuscript, and art works that invites the viewer to consider a range of environmental-related topics and will serve as a growing, centralized resource.


buttons from INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY: Highlights From the Ken Lawrence Collection

EXHIBITION: International Solidarity: Highlights from the Ken Lawrence CollectionA virtual look at the visual culture of political protest in the late 20th-century, to provoke thought about international solidarity in our own time, including human and civil rights, immigration, and independence movements.

Image: Physical Plant series, Greg Grieco photographs, 07488

EXHIBITION: Celebrating the ADA: The Legacy and Evolution of Disability Rights & Lived Experience at Penn StateTo coincide with the 30th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, a new online exhibition, Celebrating the ADA explores the first 100 years of national disability rights legislation and the movement’s impact on the Penn State University community.

Please submit Libraries exhibit information — and all Library News submissions — to Public Relations and Marketing via its Staff Site request form and selecting the “Library News blog article” button.

Penn State University Press announces Graphic Mundi imprint

By: Cate Fricke

Graphic Mundi, a new trade imprint of comics for adults and young adults, will launch in Spring 2021. With the mission of “drawing our worlds together,” the imprint will feature both fiction and nonfiction narratives on subjects such as health and human rights, politics, the environment, science, and technology. Kendra Boileau, Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief of Penn State University Press, is the publisher.

About her vision for the imprint, Boileau says, “Graphic Mundi will represent a broad range of voices and experiences, including those of marginalized individuals and groups, or those whose
works have not been previously accessible to anglophone readers. These graphic novels will address serious topics, but they’ll do so in engaging, provocative, and sometimes humorous ways. They’ll have the potential to transform how we see ourselves, others, and the world. The imprint is thus an excellent fit for our mission as a university press.”

Graphic Mundi expands on the current list of critically acclaimed graphic novels published by Penn State University Press, in particular its Graphic Medicine series, which launched in 2015
with the Eisner Award–nominated Graphic Medicine Manifesto. The Graphic Medicine series currently includes twenty-two active and forthcoming titles that speak to the power of visual narrative to tell complex stories about personal and public health.

The Spring 2021 titles for Graphic Mundi are: COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology, a collection edited by Boileau and Rich Johnson of more than forty short works about the
pandemic from mainstream and indie creators, including Ignatz Award and Eisner Award winners. Three graphic narratives of personal trauma: a sudden diagnosis of quadriplegia in Twister, by Roland Burkart; an overwhelming eating disorder in Fat, by Regina Hofer; and a child’s account of living with a mother with bipolar disorder in The Parakeet, by Espé.
Crude: A Memoir, by Pablo Fajardo, Sophie Tardy-Joubert, and Damian Roudeau, recounts the fight for social and environmental justice in the Amazonian oil fields. Dirty Biology: The X-Rated Story of the Science of Sex, by Léo and Colas Grasset, and The Body Factory: From the First Prosthetics to the Augmented Human, by Héloïse Chochois, humorously explore the biology of sex and the history of human amputation and augmentation.

Award-winning cartoonist and graphic novelist Ted Rall notes that “the graphic novel revolution has brought comics out of the humor ghetto to the front of the store. The greatest potential
for the format is in serious, intelligent takes on nonfiction, fiction, politics, and memoir that treat comics as literature,which is why I believe in the mission of Graphic Mundi. Not only
will these books be an excellent addition to readers’ bookshelves; they’ll also make our world a better place, one book at a time.”

Graphic Mundi is an imprint of Penn State University Press. Founded in 1956, Penn State University Press publishes high-quality books, journals, and graphic novels of interest to
scholars and general readers, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences. Learn more at

Graphic Mundi can be found on Twitter (@GraphicMundi) and Instagram (@graphicmundi) and on the web at

Tech Tip: Designate an alternative host in Zoom

By: Ryan Johnson

When scheduling a meeting, the host can designate another Licensed user on the same account to be the alternative host. The alternative host can start the meeting on the host’s behalf. When you designate an alternative host, that user or departmental account will receive an email notifying them that they’ve been added as an alternative host, with a link to start the meeting or webinar.

 Alternative host vs. Co-host

Alternative host is a more powerful role than cohost.

Alternative hosts can be designated in advance, whereas cohosts must be assigned during the meeting.

Alternative hosts have full host privileges until the host account joins the meeting and automatically becomes the host.

Co-hosts have some additional privileges in a meeting beyond a participant, but they don’t have full host powers. A co-host cannot start breakout rooms or end the meeting, for example.

How to Designate an Alternative Host

Zoom screen shot for tech tip

Customer Service Tip: Be a professional

By: Shep Hyken (submitted by Carmen Gass)

What is a professional? Is it the opposite of an amateur? In the sports world, professional athletes are paid, while amateurs are not. In my business, the title “professional keynote speaker” implies that I’m paid to speak in front of audiences. So, does being a professional simply mean you’re paid to do whatever it is you are doing? Read more here.


Customer Service Tip: Free mini workshop — The 3R De-escalation Method

By: Myra Golden (submitted by Carmen Gass)

COVID-19 is making customers more hostile, and you need a strategy for quickly containing the situation and de-escalating the interaction. The 3R Method is battleground tested and easy to use – ideal for when you have to give bad news, enforce a mask requirement, or get an angry customer to calm down and listen to you. Learn about it here.