University Libraries Awards

By: Wendi Keeler

2018 University Libraries Award winners from left: Marry Murray, Sherry Lonsdale, Christopher Holobar, Eric Novotny and Emily Rimland.

2018 University Libraries Award winners from left: Marry Murray, Sherry Lonsdale, Christopher Holobar, Eric Novotny and Emily Rimland.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 University Libraries Awards!

The recipient of the Margaret Knoll Spangler Oliver Award — to honor and recognize outstanding service by employees at the University Libraries — is J. Christopher Holobar, manager of Lending and Reserve Services. Chris was nominated by Nadine Deitrich, who writes “Chris is the most calm, patient, and courteous person I have ever met. He treats everyone (and I mean everyone) with respect and is always offering to discuss problems with anyone; even when meeting under the most difficult situations.” Congratulations to Chris, who has been a full-time staff member of the University Libraries since 1993 and will receive his 25-year service award this year!

The Shirley J. Davis Staff Excellence Award — created in Shirley’s honor by faculty, staff, alumni, and friends as a tribute to her years of commitment to the University Libraries — was awarded to Mary Murray, Information Resources and Services Specialist at the John D. Vairo Library at Penn State Brandywine.  Going above and beyond what is expected was a common sentiment in Mary’s nomination packet. “While I can’t say enough about the quality of her work”, said Chris Avery, Sr. Director of Commonwealth Campus Libraries, “what has really impressed me about Mary over the years is the degree to which she always goes the extra mile to help a colleague out, cover the bases when no one else is on hand, and evens out the work environment to make sure everyone has a good day.”

the University Libraries Award recognizes a member of the University Libraries for professional contribution, service, leadership, and innovations, which have a significant influence on the operations of the University Libraries, earns respect of the Penn State community for the Libraries, or shows significant contribution to the library profession reflecting positively on Penn State and the University Libraries, and was awarded to History Librarian Eric Novotny. “Eric Novotny has been an invaluable and generous instructional resource. He graciously schedules library classes for my courses, tailoring them to meet the needs of the syllabus and the students,” wrote Dr. Lori Ginzberg, Professor of History and Women’s Studies, about Novotny. “Eric has been my primary, and most consistently innovative resource in the Pattee library, guiding me, my students, and my colleagues through technological changes that have transformed all our lives.”

the University Libraries Diversity Award rewards extraordinary commitment and/or contributions to enhancing our environment of mutual respect for differing backgrounds and points of view.  The Diversity Award rewards outstanding accomplishments and general impact in the area of diversity, and was awarded this year to Sherry Lonsdale, I-Tech database specialist, for ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion on the Commission for Women and throughout the University Libraries. In her nomination, Dace Freivalds, Department Head for Information Technologies says, “Sherry has worked tirelessly to ensure that Penn State provides a welcoming campus climate, recruits and retains a diverse workforce, and encourages organizational change to support diversity.”

The University Libraries Teaching Award honors an individual who has excelled in teaching and/or created an exemplary and innovative instruction program during the past year, and has a teaching component as part of their primary assignment. Emily Rimland, Information Literacy Librarian and Learning Technologies Coordinator, is the recipient of this year’s University Libraries Teaching Award.  In her nomination letter, Ellysa Cahoy, Education and Behavioral Sciences Librarian said that Emily “is a visionary library instructor and innovator who has created an exemplary and innovative instruction program that is rich with student impact. She is deeply committed to helping students become effective information consumers and information creators.”    

This year, 27 nominations were received for the five awards. The difficult job of choosing the winners from among the nominations was decided by the members of the award committee, chaired by Martha Ney and including Carmen Gass, Tara Murray, Karla Schmit, John Shank, and Ann Thompson.

In the words of Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, Barbara Dewey, who presented each award during the ceremony, “Congratulations to all of our award winners. I am very proud of your accomplishments, commitment, and dedication in making our library system one of the best in the nation.”