Daily Archives: January 14, 2019

Events: January 14

Spring 2019
Academic calendar information for all campuses is available online.

Into the Woods exhibit logo


Sept. 5-Feb. 11, Exhibit: “Into the Woods: Nature in Your Library” Diversity Studies Room, 203 Pattee Library, Explore the Eastern Forest, its wildlife and botanical wealth. Libraries’ resources, services, unique collections and course materials will guide you on the trails of nature education and exploration. Discover local environmental programs. Be inspired by the instrumental work of women conservationists. Check out the related books, maps, movies and more, and get … Into the Woods.


A Full Course: Encounters with Food exhibit flyer

Sept. 10-Jan. 19, 2019, Exhibit: “A Full Course: Encounters with Food” Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 102 Paterno Library, and Sidewater Commons, first floor Pattee Library. To survive and thrive, we must all consume food every day; eating is, therefore, one of the few universal human experiences. The exhibition will consider the more contested and continuing questions surrounding food: where does it come from, what and how do we cook and eat, and what role does food play in our collective imaginations? The books, manuscripts, posters, and ephemera on view will offer a feast for the eyes and food for thought!


Friday, Jan. 25, Pronouncing International Students’ Names. Learn a few key sounds found in Chinese, Korean and Arabic names in a workshop that presents practical strategies for interacting with multilingual students and scholars. Part of a lunchtime workshop series hosted by English  for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center (EPPIC). Register online HERE or email eppic@psu.edu if you would like to participate via Zoom. 12-1 p.m. at 322 Sackett Building, University Park campus.

Wednesday, February 13, Human Library. Open discussions and Q&As with “Human Books” who will tell their stories to raise awareness and foster diversity and inclusion. Bestseller Panel at 11 a.m. – noon, and “book” discussions at 1-5 p.m., various Paterno Library locations, University Park campus.

Monday, Feb. 18, Communicating with International Students & Colleagues: Tips for Understanding Each Other. Practice respectful techniques that improve your ability to understand and be understood.Part of a lunchtime workshop series hosted by English  for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center (EPPIC). Register online HERE or email eppic@psu.edu if you would like to participate via Zoom. 12-1 p.m. at 322 Sackett Building, University Park campus.

Please submit event information — and all Library News submissions — to Public Relations and Marketing via the Library News submission form. *Please note: The content submissions process may be changing soon; please stay tuned for updates.*

Customer Service Tip: Social interactions for multinational teams (Lynda.com)

By: Carmen Gass

“If a fear of unknown differences causes you to shy away from international collaborations, you can overcome such concerns by learning how to communicate respectfully across cultures. This
course explains how members of diverse workforces can effectively correspond. Learn how to avoid common communication mistakes, whether linguistic, written, verbal, or unspoken. Discover how different cultures view eye contact, gestures, personal space, and other body language.”

View course here.

Focus on Assessment: Spring 2019 Update

By: Steve Borrelli

As we ring in the New Year, I want to look back at some highlights from fall 2018 assessment projects and look forward to what we hope to accomplish in spring.

Ithaka Faculty Survey

In the spring, the Libraries conducted the Ithaka Faculty Survey. Over the summer, Assessment invested in Tableau data visualization software and through the summer months visualized the results with interactive graphs.  Throughout the fall, Assessment partnered with colleagues to present the results in brown bag sessions focused on focal areas of the survey. Our last one is scheduled for Jan. 10, from noon to 1:00 pm, in the Dean’s Library Conference Room, when we’ll review the results to the Scholarly Communications Questions with Copyright Officer Brandy Karl. It will also be broadcast over Zoom. Over 800 faculty across 24 campuses completed the survey. Key findings include:

  • 56% of respondents ranked their dependence on the University Libraries between an 8 and 10 (highly dependent), compared with 48% of their peers in the Ithaka National Survey.
  • The majority of respondents would be “fine” if electronic journals replaced canceled print journals
  • Respondents were in broad agreement that librarians contributed significantly to their students’ learning by helping them develop research skills, with 56% noting that this described their point of view very to extremely well

Informing the Message: Collaboration with Development and Alumni Relations

This fall, Assessment partnered with Development and Alumni Relations to inform messaging when working with potential donors by investigating emotional connections to the University Libraries. We ran focus groups with donors, alumni, parents of current students, graduate and undergraduate students (including subsets who identify as “non-library” users) to learn about their emotional connections, awareness of services and to solicit feedback on a draft “vision.” This was the largest focus group investigation to date for the Assessment Department which included nine sessions with over 50 participants. Since about half of participants were outside of State College, we experimented with “virtual focus groups,” conducting many of the sessions over zoom. This partnership resulted in rich data about what matters to different stakeholder groups and will inform Development Board practice. For instance, one alumnus discussed how in his time as a student, the Libraries were a great place to come on a Thursday evening if you didn’t have a date for the weekend. Other key findings include:

Emotional Connections

  • All stakeholder groups communicated a reverence for the Libraries. It was described as “a place for every student,” equalizing access to support and resources regardless of means
  • Parents, alumni, and donors envied the services and resources available to today’s students, describing the University Libraries as the type of library they wished they had as students

All stakeholder groups value the library for providing a conducive work environment

  • Students have plenty of options for finding noisy places to work and highlighted the conducive work environment above all other factors, valuing the Libraries as it “symbolizes learning”
  • Alumni recalled visiting the Libraries for the same reasons as current students, to escape from the distractions of their dorms and a place where they could be productive

Library as a service provider

  • Parents noted the convenience and usefulness of the Libraries as a center for co-located services, which enabled students to address multiple needs in one place. They supported services targeting “problem-solving” for early career students
  • Donors highlighted how the Libraries met students’ academic and future workplace needs through exposure to technologies and services that were transferable to workplace contexts

This spring, in addition to the projects we conduct annually we plan to:

  • Conduct the Ithaka Graduate Student Survey. We expect to administer the survey in March. This survey will complete our first cycle of user surveys (undergrad, grad, faculty) after which we’ll start the cycle again
  • Partner with Political Science Librarian Andrew Dudash to conduct a needs assessment investigating undergraduate research experiences of political science graduate students to learn how these experiences prepared them for graduate work. This project has received IRB approval and will launch in February
  • Partner with colleagues at the Abington Campus to investigate space improvements

Tech Tip: What are Office 365 Safelinks?

By: Ryan Johnson

safelinks screenshot image for tech tip 1/14/19

Office 365 at Penn State is equipped with a security feature known as “Safe Links.” This feature ensures that “links,” or web addresses and URLs, transmitted through emails, documents, etc., are safe to open and are not malicious. You may have noticed that links shared within Office 365 applications are displayed in a “long-URL” format, which appears longer than the usual site address.

When a message contains a clickable image or text, the original address of the link will be replaced with a “safe link”. The safe link directs your browser to an Office 365 service that tests to determine if the original address is potentially dangerous.

Safe links contain “safelinks.protection.outlook.com/” near the beginning of the link in Office 365. If you point your mouse at a link, you’ll see where the link points.

Any link that references a Penn State site (i.e. sites ending in “.psu.edu”) through Office 365 will not be shown in the longer format (i.e. https://na01.safelinks.protection…) and will retain the original URL.

Getting to Know You: Ann Thompson

By: Gale Biddle

As I was interviewing Ann Thompson, Manager of the Knowledge Commons in Pattee Library and mother of 4 active children, I thought of Professor Hinkle, the magician on the animated show Frosty the Snowman, saying “busy, busy, busy” because busy is exactly what Ann is, both at work and at home. Growing up in a town in Potter County so small that it doesn’t have a traffic light, Ann’s first job was using her grandfather’s riding lawnmower to mow lawns. A self-proclaimed “math nerd,” she received her bachelor’s degree in Math with a focus on Statistics from Penn State. This is where her long connection with Penn State started.

Ann began her career at Penn State Behrend in 1991 as a student before transferring to University Park in 1992. She took a brief break to work at another company but found that she didn’t enjoy it. So, she came back to Penn State and to the Libraries, where she says, “it gets in your blood and you stick around.” Overall, she spent seven years working part-time in the library including the Periodical Room and the Math Library. Once she became a full-time employee, Ann worked in several departments, including Serials, Microforms, and News and Microforms before settling into the Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS) Library for twelve years. During her tenure at the News and Microforms and PAMS Libraries, Ann saw each facility undergo significant changes. She had to coordinate her area of collections and resources with internal and external library services.

cake by Ann Thompson for blog postStarting about seven months ago, she became the Manager of the Tombros McWhirter Knowledge Commons. Ann oversees all the operations within the Knowledge Commons, including the services at the Welcome Desks at Pattee/Paterno and at the Search Bar. The position requires her to work with the IT department, Media and Maker Commons, and the Writing Tutors to create a successful partnership to assist students. Now that the Head of Knowledge Commons is on sabbatical, Ann is taking on additional responsibility as acting Head from January until June of this year. In addition, she’s the product owner of the Room Reservation system, LibCal, and the contact person for 25Live.

Ask Ann about her family, and you will immediately know how proud she is of them. Ann and John, her husband of twenty years, are parents to Julia, Amber, Laurie, and John. Her children (ranging in age from kindergarten to high school senior) are involved in figure skating, soccer, hockey, volunteering, plays, and much more. As a family, they enjoy being together and doing all sorts of outdoor activities, including skiing and canoeing. The family pets include Pumpkin, a cat, and Pi, a dog. Ann’s husband, a mechanical engineer, is also a pilot, and on occasion, he takes her to her favorite place–the beach. She’s a gifted cake baker and decorator and makes beautiful wedding cakes.  Some of her other hobbies include knitting, crocheting, and photography. And if all of that isn’t enough, she became a certified Scrum Master, too!

When it comes to Penn State, Ann says that the best part of working here is the people she’s met throughout her career. She says she’s “made some lasting relationships, met some great people, and learned some great lessons.” I think that statement rings true for most of us. And Ann is one of those great people you will meet here at Penn State.

Ten Random Questions with Ann Thompson

  1. Favorite Movie? Fried Green Tomatoes
  2. Favorite color? Blue
  3. Least favorite word? Freaking—if you’re going to swear, just say it!
  4. Last concert you’ve been to? Josh Grobin
  5. Place you’d like to visit that you’ve never been? Hawaii
  6. Best gift you ever received? My family
  7. Best gift you ever gave? 4 children
  8. Favorite food? Lasagna
  9. If you were on a desert island, what one thing would you have to have with you? My husband—he’s handy to have around
  10. First thing you would do if you won the lottery? Invest it to pay off my kids’ education

Library instruction reboot is under way!

By: Anne Behler

With the turning of the calendar page, Library Learning Services has begun work on its Library Instruction Reboot. We are extremely excited about this unique opportunity, and the results
our work will yield.

You can follow along with our progress on our blog, which will be updated weekly throughout the spring semester project. HERE or https://sites.psu.edu/libraryinstructionreboot/
This week, Anne Behler introduces the three focus areas for the reboot. Thanks for reading!

Questions about the Reboot? Please email ul-lib-learn-svs@lists.psu.edu

Penn State Harrisburg Library awarded PA Forward Silver Stars

By: Emily Mross

In recognition of programming and outreach efforts in the areas of basic literacy, health literacy, and civic and social literacy, the Penn State Harrisburg Library was awarded three
silver stars by PA Forward as part of the Star Library Program , an initiative of the Pennsylvania Library Association to highlight library literacy efforts in the Commonwealth.

Library programming in support of these literacy areas included Penn State Harrisburg Reads panel discussions on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a voter information session prior to the 2018 midterm elections, and a screening and discussion of the documentary Eating Animals.

PA Forward encourages Pennsylvania libraries to promote services and resources in five key literacy areas: basic literacy, financial literacy, civic and social literacy, health literacy, and information literacy. These literacies are instrumental in helping Pennsylvania citizens be productive members of society. Business Librarian Emily Mross is coordinating Star Library
efforts at Penn State Harrisburg in conjunction with librarians Bernadette Lear, Heidi Abbey Moyer, Andrea Pritt, and Joi Jackson, who have helped create, promote, and deliver  programming.

Penn State Harrisburg Library will earn its two remaining silver stars, in financial literacy and information literacy, this spring. After earning all five silver stars, the library will be eligible for Gold Star status.