Daily Archives: April 15, 2019

World Campus Embedded Librarian Strategic Action Plan Update

By: Victoria Raish

One of the strategic action teams for the 2019 year is looking at embedded librarianship specifically within World Campus courses. There is embedded librarianship happening all over Penn State so narrowing it to the World Campus context gave us a clear focus from which to build our work as a strategic action team. The team consists of Emily Mross, Rachel Perry, Stephen Woods, Kat Phillips, Jeff Knapp, Dolores Fidishun, Lori Lysiak, and Victoria Raish.

Everyone on the team has some experience being embedded in some capacity for either World Campus courses or other courses. The motivation behind forming the team is that we all faced similar challenges, concerns, and successes in embedding for an extended period of time in online courses. These include:
• Creating valuable and meaningful learning objects
• Balancing scale with quality and relationship building
• Ensuring full web accessibility of resources created
• Adding embedded librarianship to a portfolio of services while still maintaining other responsibilities
• Discussing impact from boutique-type practices in documentation
• Assessing the quality and value of interactions with librarians

As a team, we have so far identified four main stakeholder groups with an investment in embedded librarianship and formed subgroups to tackle relevant information and questions with each of these stakeholder groups. These group subgroups are librarians, participants (embedded librarians), administration/heads, and instructional designers and faculty. From a holistic perspective, the decisions made as a team have the potential to impact the perceptions and involvement of each of these groups in an embedded librarian environment. Thus, you might see a request for participation with some focus groups or quick questions to guide
our work!

One of the amazing things about Penn State is the vast amount of resources and expertise we have for our students. Embedded librarianship is one way that this is accomplished for World
Campus students. As our group continues to do work we hope to generate more conversation and understanding over what is involved in this type of work and where you might find the value and impact.

If you have any questions or input on what the group is doing make sure to contact me at victoria@psu.edu!

Virtual Reference Services: Current Practices and Future Recommendations report

By: Ellysa Cahoy

The Virtual Reference Services (VRS) Strategic Action Team was charged in fall 2018 with optimizing virtual reference services now and for the future. Our Team looked closely at VRS and asked the following of our current service provision:

Do we have sufficiently qualified personnel to effectively run VRS?
Are the Libraries providing the needed hours of coverage for VRS users?
Is the current VRS software effective for service and statistical assessment needs?
Are additional marketing efforts needed to promote VRS effectively?
What is the place of VRS in the wider reference environment at Penn State?

The latest draft of the Team’s report is available here.

Your feedback is welcome and encouraged! If you would like to share comments on the report, please email the team here: ul-vrs-team@lists.psu.edu

With thanks,

Virtual Reference Services Strategic Action Team
Ellysa Cahoy, Education Librarian, Chair
Carmen Gass, User Services Training Coordinator
Janet Hughes, Biological Sciences Librarian
Meg Massey, Manager, Interlibrary Loan
Tara Murray, Arts & Humanities Librarian
Tom Reinsfelder, Head Librarian, Penn State Mont Alto
Claire Salvati, Reference Librarian
In consultation with Ann Snowman, Head, Access Services

Summer students offer digital art history workshops

By Emily Hagen and Keri Mongelluzzo
submitted by: John Russell

As Digital Art History (DAH) assistants at the University Libraries for the summer of 2018, we began to engineer a workshop series for our fellow graduate students on digital methods and
tools for humanities scholarship. Having recognized the growing influence of digital methodologies in the humanities, we sought to provide an opportunity for dialogue with our colleagues on the benefits of digital scholarship. As co-organizers, we envisioned a workshop series that would serve as a forum for graduate students to gain hands-on experience with digital tools.

A survey of graduate students in the Department of Art History guided the development of the content and format of the proposed workshops. The feedback received from the survey indicated concentrated interest in data visualization and digital mapping. From June to August 2018, we outlined a series of three workshops to address an introduction to the field, data collection and management, and digital mapping. Taking advantage of our collaboration, we divided responsibilities. While Emily consulted key resources to compile a digital resource guide, Keri completed a sample dataset on gallery sales from the Betty Parsons Gallery for workshop participants to use and subsequently gain a working understanding of best practices for data collection and metadata organization.

The first workshop, held on Sept. 28, 2018, introduced the values and best practices of DAH, engaging students in a broader discussion of trends in the field. This introduction was followed by a workshop dedicated to data collection and management as well as metadata organization on Oct. 22. In this data-driven workshop, we discussed the process of creating an in-progress dataset of the historical locations of  pigments—begun during our tenure as DAH assistants—and allowed time for hands-on experience with the data visualization tool, RAWGraphs. The series culminated on Nov. 9, when participants focused on digital mapping. Using the test dataset compiled by Keri (available through ScholarSphere: The Betty Parsons Gallery Sales and Purchases, 1946–1981), participants practiced uploading data as a map layer nd performed analysis using the ArcGIS Online tool. For a similar tutorial, see Emily’s ScholarSphere page for the Roma a piedi: A Digital Itinerary.

Attended by graduate students in Art History at the master’s and doctoral levels, the workshops supplemented traditional methods training and challenged participants to reformulate their
own research questions in terms of data. One participant, Olivia Crawford, noted the ways in which the workshop series “helped to demystify the burgeoning, and sometimes intimidating, field of digital humanities by providing attendees with crucial resources and practice exercises.” A doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant in art history, Crawford stated “The fall
2018 series reaffirmed my understanding of DAH and its lexicon, and I am more confident in pursuing or collaborating in interdisciplinary projects. As a young professional, I appreciate campus programs that help prepare students to become stronger researchers and employees.”

In concert with the University Libraries and the Department of Art History, we hope to further digital scholarship initiatives by connecting graduate students with resources at Penn State and

Getting to Know You: Meg Massey

Bye: Gale Biddle

Meg Massey has a confession to make; she never used Interlibrary Loan as an undergrad. Like many students, she felt she could find all the materials she needed at her university. It’s a bit
ironic given that she’s now the Manager of Interlibrary Loan at University Park and an enthusiastic promoter of the service. But, like many of us, she learned along the way that Interlibrary Loan is an invaluable resource, and she’s committed to showing others what it can do for them.

Meg grew up in the small town of Richland, Pennsylvania, just outside of Lebanon. It’s the kind of town where everyone knows each other, and you can leave your doors unlocked (just don’t
tell Meg’s dad that since he’s a locksmith!). It’s also in the middle of Amish country, and on a typical Sunday night, 15-20 horse-drawn buggies would be at her neighbor’s house for a
gathering. One of Meg’s favorite memories is when she and her father were outside and heard music coming from an unknown place. They turned to see a buggy go by with a boom box blasting rap music.

Meg Massey and family, photo

A lover of reading, Meg initially thought she wanted to be an English professor. While attending Kutztown University as an undergrad, she worked at her first job as a student assistant in the library. She continued working in a library during grad school, and it was around that time when she began to question if she really wanted to be a professor. Her manager suggested that maybe she should become a librarian. This was Meg’s “a-ha” moment because she realized that she truly loved the work and felt engaged. So, she changed course and became a librarian. After spending a couple of years working in marketing and working at another college, Meg came to Penn State in September 2017.

As Manager of Interlibrary Loan, she’s responsible for coordinating activities, supervising staff, troubleshooting problems, running statistics, and generally making sure that the wheels keep turning. And keeping the wheels turning is no easy task. Interlibrary Loan supplied 65,000 items and received 45,000 items last year alone! I don’t know about you, but those numbers sound mind-boggling. Meg also represents the department on various committees, task forces, and other working groups. But, when you talk to Meg, you can tell immediately that she loves her job and the challenges that must come with it. For her, Penn State has provided so many opportunities to learn and to meet interesting people from different backgrounds. She says that
she’s “been inspired by the people here” and is impressed with how kind and welcoming the community has been to her.

Need help with ideas for some home improvement projects? Are you completely and totally decorationally challenged like myself? You might want to look to Meg for inspiration. In her free time, she and her husband are real DIYers and are currently working on fixing up their new home. He likes to build furniture, and she likes to paint it. They’ve even helped other people flip
houses. And now that they have a place of their own, Meg is really looking forward to making her daughter, Nora, happy by getting her the cat she’s been wanting. When she’s not working on her home or doing something creative like painting and drawing, Meg likes to sing in her church worship team. Singing is something she loves to do and has been doing since she was

So, the next time you or someone you know needs an item that Penn State doesn’t have, give Interlibrary Loan a try. It’s a fantastic service that the libraries provide. And appreciate the
fantastic people who bring that service to you. Fantastic people like Meg Massey!

Ten Random Questions with Meg Massey

1. What song best describes your life? “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack (especially the P!nk version)
2. Cereal– Soggy or crunchy? Crunchy
3. If you could trade places with a person for one day, who would it be? My husband. I would love to understand how he thinks!
4. Favorite Movie? Any of the Star Wars movies but especially Return of the Jedi
5. Favorite food? Tacos
6. First thing you would do if you won the lottery? Put it in the bank, pay off debt, and maybe invest in real estate
7. Talent you wished you had? To play an instrument so I could sing and play together
8. Top 3 people, past or present, you would like to have dinner with? My paternal grandmother because I never got to meet her, Jane Austen because I love her, and George Lucas because I want to know how his mind works
9. Last concert you’ve been to? Will be seeing John Mayer in July
10. Is a hot dog a sandwich? No

Article Category: Other

Green Tips: What’s compostable?

By: J. Harlan Ritchey

Food waste is Penn State’s largest waste stream, so nothing makes a bigger contribution to sustainability than composting your food waste. Did you know that sorting your compost is as
important as sorting your recycling? Let’s look at what we should and shouldn’t put in the green composting bins.

Food waste: YES
This includes fats, oils, fruit pits, shells, dairy, meat, bones, peels, and coffee grounds. You may have heard that things like meat and bones aren’t compostable. That’s true for little compost piles like the ones in home gardens where there isn’t enough mass and heat to break down tough organic materials. But Penn State’s enormous composting facility handles them with
ease. Put them in the green bin.

Paper plates and paper cups: IT DEPENDS
If they have a coating of wax or plastic: NO. (Milk and dairy cartons fall into this category.)
If they are made of more than one material: NO.
If they are uncoated, then YES, compost. (You can test the item by scratching it with your fingernail to see if any coatings scrape off.)

The Green Team gets asked about these a lot. The clear plastic Starbucks cups are 1) Not compostable and 2) Not recyclable—they are the wrong kind of plastic. They have to go
in the trash.

Utensils marked as “biodegradable” (made from bio-plastic or “eco-plastic”): YES
Bio-plastics are made from plant materials like corn starch instead of petroleum. You may see websites warning you that “biodegradable” does not mean the same thing as “compostable.” But similarly to the case of meat and bones, this warning mainly applies to small composting piles at home. Penn State’s industrial-scale composting operation will break them down with no problem. Just make sure they’re marked as such.

Paper towels, paper napkins, paper tissues If it has food waste on it: YES
If someone blew their nose on it: YES (I know it’s gross, but someone once asked. Yes—you can compost your tissues!) If they are soiled with cleaning chemicals: NO.

Pizza boxes made of paper/cardboard: YES
It’s OK if the box is greasy or soiled. Of course pizza crusts are compostable too. But throw away any little sauce or condiment containers. They’re not compostable.

Food containers with coatings, or food containers of mixed materials: NO

Coffee filters and tea bags: YES

Newspaper: NO (dry newspaper goes in the recycling bin for mixed office paper)

Wooden stirrers, toothpicks, etc.: YES

Here’s the official website from the Sustainability Institute:  https://sustainability.psu.edu/recycling-and-composting
That’s a lot! Still have questions? Email the Green Team at UL-GREEN@lists.psu.edu and we can answer it. We can also let you know how to purchase compostable items for your next event. A
representative can even come to your event to show your guests how to compost!

Harlan Ritchey
Engineering Library
Co-chair, Green Team

Customer Service Tip: Creating positive conversations with challenging customers (lynda.com)

By: Carmen Gass

What do you do when faced with a customer who’s fuming over a delay, cancellation, or objection to a policy? How can you adequately address their issue when your interaction
starts off on such a sour note? In this course, Myra Golden shares approaches that can help you reframe such conversations, and use your words and actions to put a positive slant on an
otherwise negative situation. Learn more here.

Events: April 15

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

promotional poster - Secret Lives of Girls and Women


Jan. 28-Sept. 1, 2019, Exhibit: “The Secret Lives of Girls and Women” Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library. Through the examination of books, letters, hand-written diaries and other archival materials, The Secret Lives of Girls and Women exposes a wide spectrum of feminine mysteries. The exhibition includes many hidden or concealed aspects of female life found within beauty secrets, secret languages created by women, literary secrets, social taboos and more throughout history. On display during Special Collections Library hours.


The Future is Now, exhibit graphic


Mar. 11-Sept. 26, 2019, Exhibit: “The Future is Now.” Diversity Studies Room, 203 Pattee Library. Highlights from current and forthcoming equipment and assistance available to support students’ academic success from the Libraries’ Media and Technology Support Services and Adaptive Technology and Services departments.


Tuesday, Apr. 23-Friday, May 3, Destress Fest. Extended hours throughout University Park Libraries locations, including activities, free coffee and snacks, and games to help relax and de-stress studying students during finals week. All locations have varying activities and hours, more information here.

Wednesday, Apr. 24, International Write-In. Open to Penn State students, faculty, and staff, offering quiet writing spaces and areas for small-group collaboration, as well as support from reference librarians and writing consultants. Snacks, coffee and tea provided throughout the event, as well as free pizza midway through the evening. 3-10 p.m., Mann Assembly Room, University Park campus.
Thursday, Apr. 25, MediaTech Open House. Stop in to see how MediaTech can help you; learn about the many equipment and technologies options are available for student use, plus register for prize giveaways. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Wagner Annex, behind Wagner Building on Curtain Road. For more info, call 814-863-3202.
Friday-Sunday, May 3-5: Spring Commencement, University Park.

Technology Expo 2019 graphic, Monday, May 6 11 A M to 3 P M Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in Innovation Park


Monday, May 6: Technology Expo 2019. The annual Technology Expo hosted by Media Technology Services and Support (MediaTech) to bring vendors and state-of-the-art technology equipment to regional I.T. specialists, facilities managers, and others interested in the latest multimedia and related devices and products available for educational, nonprofit and commercial use. 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Presidents Hall, The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, Innovation Park, State College, Pa. 

Please submit event 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.