By: Gale Biddle
Amid the banging and clanging of renovations at the Lofstrom Library at Penn State Hazleton, you will find Shannon Richie continuing to field reference questions and instruct students on
library databases and services. He’s been a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Penn State since September 1999. Being part of the academic community and having academic conversations is the most rewarding part of his job, and it’s what he enjoys most about Penn State. In addition to teaching and providing in-person reference services, Shannon also volunteers to provide virtual reference help through the Ask-A-Librarian program. In fact, he was part of the pilot program and is the only one currently serving on the live AAL service from the original six members of the program.
Shannon grew up near the small town of Sunbury, just 50 miles north of Harrisburg. Sunbury is the location for the Weis ice cream plant, where Shannon had his first job (and a dream job for
many!) and spent his college summers working there before he went to library school. It was also here at the community library where he found a book, Carrier War in the Pacific, that would
create a lifelong passion in naval history. Years later, he tracked down the exact book he used to borrow, but unfortunately someone had purchased it before he could do so.
Shannon spends his free time with his wife, Sandra, and their two cats, Nita and Snicker. They rescued them as part of a pet adoption program. When they adopted them, they were told that
Snicker was the shy one. Time has proven that to be somewhat incorrect. Shannon describes him as a “holy terror” who likes to destroy things and bite toes. Nita is the docile one. However,
they still love them both and are happy to have adopted them!
Shannon enjoys building ship models, although these days he tends to collect them more so than build them. He also enjoys collecting major league sports cards, and for the last 10 years,
he has participated in the National History Day competition as a judge in the website category. In addition, he’s a devoted member of his church.
As part of my interview, I like to ask 10 random questions. One of the questions I asked Shannon led to an answer that I think deserves more space than a brief sentence, and I think it says a lot about him. He told me the story of a snowy Christmas Eve night when he was traveling with his family to church services. Along the way, they saw a man huddled in in the doorway of a building. They stopped to talk to the man and discovered that he had family in Pittsburgh but not enough money to get home to them. Shannon’s mother, who he calls the “real hero of this story,” gave him $20. After they returned home, Shannon and his family kept thinking about the man. They called the police and told them the story. After the police found the man, they chipped in to buy him a ticket to Pittsburgh. It may not have seemed like much to Shannon and his family what they did that night, but their actions probably meant everything to that man.
10 Random Questions
1. Favorite Movie? Gettysburg or Lord of the Rings
2. Place you’d like to visit that you’ve never been to? New Zealand
3. Is a hotdog a sandwich? No
4. Talent you wished you had? Being able to do woodworking
5. Dream job? Teaching naval history or systematic theology in seminary or grad school
6. Favorite cartoon? Tom & Jerry
7. Three people, past or present, you would like to have dinner with? Jesus, Abe Lincoln, and C.S. Lewis
8. If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be? Tom Brady on Super Bowl Sunday, which won’t be happening this year! **Note: The joy expressed by this fact is solely the
9. Best gift you’ve ever given? See last paragraph of article
10. Favorite Color? Navy Blue