Daily Archives: June 17, 2019

Walk 1,000 miles in your shoes

On July 1, 2018 a small group of library employees embarked on an ambitious goal:  traverse (run, hike, walk, bike, swim) 1,000 miles in one year. It sounds unattainable, but broken down into small chunks, it’s only 2.74 miles per day. For the last two years, Heather Ross has participated in a group of fellow Syracuse University alums where a group leader maintained a weekly log of miles and posted the results weekly. She didn’t think she could do it, so she watched from the shadows for a year, and then in January of 2018 she jumped in with two sneaker-clad feet and started walking. In October 2018, she surpassed her 1,000th mile with the Syracuse group.

1000 miles: Weekly wrap-up image

Things were going so well that Heather decided to start a 1,000 mile group here in the University Libraries. She talked with a small group of people in the Libraries in late June and we started tracking in July 2018. We use Slack to post our mileage and every week the mileage keeper posts pretty charts that show progress and help with encouragement! Heather’s life got crazy in January and Andrew Gearhart took over as mileage keeper and cheer captain. However, he couldn’t do it alone, as there was a lot of encouragement flying on the channel between the members of the group. As of May 21, 12 of our members have walked 1,000 miles with three more in the running (no pun intended).  Cumulatively, our group has covered over 20,000 miles!

We have people of all sorts of abilities. Heather’s not a runner but loves to walk. Rachel runs 1/2 marathons. Albert walks EVERYWHERE!  To others, each step is a precious thing to be celebrated. Some weeks are good weeks and some weeks aren’t.  It’s not a race to see who gets to 1,000 miles the fastest.  It’s accountability and encouragement from and for the group. While most of us have a goal of 1,000 miles, many have their own personal goals.  It’s really about the long-term effort and in the end, we did it together.

Want to join us in our next epic trek?  Email Heather Ross (hdr10@psu.edu or @heather_ross on Slack) or Andrew Gearhart (andrew@psu.edu or @AndrewGearhart on Slack).  You can also join our Slack channel #1000-miles.

We count Monday through Sunday so our first day (for 2019-2020) will be Monday, July 1.  On Monday, July 8, you post your mileage in the Slack channel.  It helps to have a fitness tracker of some sort (Fitbit, Garmin, Apple/Android watch), but many smartphones can also be configured to work as a pedometer. Accuracy of pedometers varies significantly, but remember, it’s about the effort … not the distance!

2018-19 Group members:
Albert Rozo
Ally Laird
Andrew Gearhart
Ann Thompson
Anne Behler
Ashoo Kumar
Diane Sawyer
Ellysa Cahoy
Emily Rimland
Heather Ross
Paul Burnell
Rachel White
Sandy Confer
Sandy Morgart
Stephanie Gates
Theresa Tarves

Getting to Know You- Ryan Johnson

By: Gale Biddle

Chances are you’ve already met Ryan Johnson in at least some capacity. I’m sure we’ve all taken a training course on how to use Kaltura, to navigate the maze of Office 365, or, quite frankly, to make heads or tails out of a new tech change here at the Libraries. Most likely, Ryan has been your instructor in those sessions. As the IT Training Coordinator for the Libraries, it’s his job to provide documentation and training for the entire University Libraries’ staff. With the rapid changes in technology every day, that’s a lot to keep up with, but Ryan manages to do so with a calmness that makes even the most technophobic person feel relaxed.

Ryan was born in the small town of Amsterdam, NY, but spent most of his childhood growing up in Saratoga Springs, NY, a town very similar to that of State College. His first job was as a
dishwasher at the Saratoga Springs racetrack. As a student at SUNY Albany, he studied meteorology and had ambitions of becoming an on-air meteorologist. Upon graduation, he worked at AccuWeather in their IT systems. This was where his career veered from meteorology into ITech. And he never looked back!

It was 11 years ago that Ryan came to Penn State. He began as an IT training specialist and eventually became the IT Training Coordinator. This requires him to be up to date on new technology and its applications. Every time there’s a change on the horizon, he researches it so that he can effectively communicate to us what those changes will be and how it will affect what we do. But that’s what Ryan loves about his job. He loves the changes in technology and the new students, staff, and faculty that arrive each year. He’s always learning and teaching new
things in an atmosphere that’s relaxed. “Penn State’s always trying to evolve,” he says.

Ryan Johnson, photo

Two weeks from now, you’ll find Ryan basking in the Caribbean sun on the beaches of Aruba. Traveling is one of the things he loves to do with his wife of nearly 20 years, Angelita, whom he
met while working at AccuWeather and followed to Penn State, and his two sons, Cody and Jordan. They have 2 dogs, Max and Molly. If you’re a fan of hard rock bands like Metallica, Breaking Benjamin, or Alice in Chains, you might spot Ryan at one of their concerts. He’s a big sports fan (the Oakland — soon-to-be Las Vegas– Raiders and the New York Yankees are two of his favorite teams) and a movie buff. In fact, he even has a small movie room in his basement.

So, if you’re ever sitting at your desk in a cold sweat, fearing some new bit of technology heading your way, there’s no need to panic. Ryan is always patient and willing to help you
learn. But, if you want to know why it’s raining outside when it was supposed to be sunny, don’t blame the (one time hopeful) weatherman!

Ten Random Questions with Ryan Johnson
1. Favorite Movie? 12 Angry Men
2. Least Favorite Word or Phrase? I can’t do that (Ryan believes there’s always a way)
3. Place you’d like to visit that you’ve never been to? Europe, especially Spain
4. First thing you would do if you won the lottery? Build a huge movie room and a bowling alley in his basement
5. Talent you wish you had? To fix a car or things around the house
6. If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be? A musician and go onstage to perform
7. Top 3 people, past or present, you would like to have dinner with? Abe Lincoln, Jimi Hendrix, and Theodore Roosevelt
8. Cereal- Crunchy or Soggy? Soggy (Thank you Ryan, for being the rare person like myself who prefers soggy cereal!)
9. Favorite food? Meatloaf
10. Song that best describes you? “Hail to the King” by Avenged Sevenfold

Customer Service Tip: Fall in love with your customer’s pain points—not with your solutions

By: Michael Hinshaw (submitted by Carmen Gass)

It’s human nature to fall in love with your solutions. It’s also a common pitfall for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and those responsible for improving customer experiences.

Don’t. Because the implications of this mindset are significant. Remember New Coke? Qwikster, from Netflix? And what about Barnes and Noble’s Nook? In each case, well-intentioned leaders made a bet on a solution to a problem they didn’t fully understand. Read more here.

Events: June 17

Summer 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.

Monday, June 3-Tuesday, Aug. 13  Summer Scholarly Communications Workshops. Students, faculty and staff, join Ana Enriquez, scholarly communications outreach librarian, for communications workshops that cover topics such as open access, copyright and fair-use policies.Workshops take place via Zoom and in various locations across Penn State’s campuses. Registration is free but required for all workshops by clicking on the links provided.
Tuesday, June 18, Public Tour: Secret Lives of Girls and Women. Curated free tours of the Special Collections exhibit “The Secret Lives of Girls and Women” will offer background information and provenance to the books and objects on display, as well discussion about the their meaning and importance. Registration requested. 10:30-11:30 am, 104 Paterno Library on the University Park Campus.
Thursday, June 20-Friday, August 23, 2019 Research Travel Awards winning “brown bag” presentations. Seven informal, one-hour lunchtime presentations offered by traveling researchers on a variety of topics, hosted by the Eberly Family Special Collections Library.  All presentations are open to the public and take place in Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library.
Thursday, July 18, Public Tour: Secret Lives of Girls and Women. Curated free tours of the Special Collections exhibit “The Secret Lives of Girls and Women” will offer background information and provenance to the books and objects on display, as well discussion about the their meaning and importance. Registration requested. 2-3 p.m., 104 Paterno Library on the University Park Campus.
Tuesday, August 13, Public Tour: Secret Lives of Girls and Women. Curated free tours of the Special Collections exhibit “The Secret Lives of Girls and Women” will offer background information and provenance to the books and objects on display, as well discussion about the their meaning and importance. Registration requested. 10-11 a.m., 104 Paterno Library on the University Park Campus.

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.