Category Archives: Getting to Know You

Getting to Know You: Dawn Oswald

By: Gale Biddle

Have you ever met someone for the first time and you just knew that you were going to like them? Dawn Oswald is that kind of person. I met her at a Tech Liaison Retreat a few weeks ago,
and it didn’t take long to see that she’s a fun and nice person. So, I was very happy when she agreed to do this interview. I expected the interview to be fun, and Dawn didn’t disappoint.

Dawn is the Information Resources and Services Supervisor/Manager at the Penn State York campus. Initially, she began working part-time, and in September 2002, she became the
manager. Her job entails supervising the staff and Circulation area and overseeing the daily operations of the library. Since it’s a small staff at her library, she needs to be a “jack of
all trades,” meaning she needs to be well versed in multiple systems, such as Circulation, Interlibrary Loan, and even Course Reserves, and the procedures and policies for each.

Raised in the small town of Havre De Grace, Maryland, which is located at the mouth of the Susquehanna River and the top of the Chesapeake Bay, Dawn graduated and went on to a school outside of Boston. She majored in Clothing and Textiles, which led her to a 10-year career in costume design. For a time, she worked in a regional theater in Connecticut where some future stars would go to try out shows before they made it to the big time. It was a lot of work, especially dealing with directors, managers, and the artists themselves, but she enjoyed it. Although she may have technically left the costume design world behind, it still sometimes finds its way to her. When Dawn’s daughter was recently in a play, she may have volunteered her mom to create a costume for Cinderella!

Speaking of family, Dawn is married to Joel, an 8th grade math teacher. Together, they have 2 children—a daughter, Corinne, and a son, Christian. They also have 2 rescue cats named Terry
and Mordecai. But family can be more than just those genetically related to you. The best part of being at Penn State for Dawn is the family she’s made with her co-workers. Especially with a
small staff, she says it’s almost impossible not to get involved in each other’s lives. Just like our own family, there are good days and some, well, less than great days. But in the end, it’s that family-like bond with a little bit of humor thrown in that makes it all worth it.

For fun, Dawn likes to play mini golf, cook, cheer for the Steelers, read, and sew. But do you know what is her favorite hobby? Napping. She loves a good nap and will take one wherever
and whenever she can. Sitting up. Laying down. It doesn’t matter. Any place is a good place for a nap. So, if you ever get the chance to meet Dawn, be sure to say hello. You won’t regret it. But if she happens to be napping, let her sleep.

Ten Random Questions with Dawn Oswald:
1. Favorite Color? Purple
2. Best gift you ever received? A George Seurat mug
3. If you deserted on an island, what one item would you have to have with you? A pillow!
4. Is a hot dog a sandwich? Yes
5. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? “Sentimental Reasons” by Sam Cooke
6. Talent you wished you had? To be able to sing opera
7. Favorite food? Maryland steamed crabs
8. Favorite movie? The Sound of Music
9. Caramel—pronounced like care-a-mel or car-mel? Care-a-mel
10. If you could trade places with any person for a day, who would it be? My husband–he seems organized and ready, and I would love to experience that!

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

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
child.

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

Getting to Know You: Jenny Cifelli

“Just so you know, I’m boring.” These were the first words Jenny Cifelli, assistant editor for Public Relations and Marketing for the Libraries, said when I called her for this interview. I assured her that many people may think that about themselves, but it’s rarely true. We’ve all got interesting stories to tell. That’s certainly true of Jenny’s case. From massage therapy to the oil business to public relations, Jenny’s career path has some fun twists and turns that has led her here to Penn State.

Jenny grew up on the Lakeshore area of Chicago. She loved living there, but she wasn’t crazy about the weather. During high school, she worked at a bath store where she would blend the customer’s choices from the perfume bar to create their unique shampoo, conditioner, or lotion. Let’s just say that some patrons’ choices were a little more “unique” than others! But she loved the job, and it would influence her later career choices. A friend would eventually purchase the store, and sometimes Jenny gets to go back and run the it for a bit. From there, she went on to become a massage therapist and lived in New Jersey, California, and Oregon. She also spent some time working in the oil business.

It was in September of 2017 that Jenny joined the Penn State family. She was already familiar with the State College area since her father had grown up around there, and she had visited as a child. She began working in the Public Relations and Marketing Department where she provides promotion, public relations, and communications from the all the libraries to the faculty, staff, and students via press releases and social media. When I asked her what part of working for Penn State she enjoys most, she said she loves being able to hear and tell all the stories that people create. She feels like she gets to know people based off the classes and work that they produce. She said, “There’s a lot of excited librarians around. I love it!”

When she’s procrastinating from something she doesn’t want to do, Jenny likes to organize. She says there’s nothing like cleaning out a closet! But her biggest passion is all things wellness. She teaches yoga classes, and although she gave up her massage therapy license, she still enjoys giving massages for fun. She’s a member of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, which aims to integrate aromatherapy into complimentary healthcare practices. With a little bit of luck, Jenny will hopefully have a little pet therapy soon, as well. She’s searching rescue sites with the hope of adopting an Australian Shepherd dog.

So, when you need to get the word out about your class or event, let Jenny know. And if you need a nice, relaxing massage while the sweet smell of lavender wafts through the air, maybe let her know that, too! (I can’t make any promises but it’s worth a try, right?!)

Ten Random Questions with Jenny Cifelli

  1. Favorite Color? Aqua & Orange
  2. Best gift you ever received? A car from her aunt—it gave her the opportunity to travel.
  3. Favorite food? Salmon… but better yet, lobster & champagne!!
  4. First thing you would do if you won the lottery? Take a world tour. Travel to every continent.
  5. Talent you wished you had? To sing
  6. Least favorite word? Tummy
  7. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin
  8. Toilet Paper—Over or Under? Over
  9. If you left on a desert island, what one item would you have to have with you? Headphones & music
  10. Last concert you attended? Dead & Company (The Grateful Dead with John Mayer)

Getting to Know You- Anne Belden

By: Gale Biddle

As we walk into our respective libraries, our eyes are flooded with shelves full of books, CD’s, DVD’s, vinyl albums, games, and so many other fantastic items to use. It seems like each day there’s something new. But, did you ever stop and wonder how those items make it to the shelves? Who’s behind the scenes, pulling levers, pressing buttons like the Wizard of Oz,
and making our libraries’ needs and wishes a reality? If you peel back the curtain, you will find it’s awesome people like Anne Belden, Information Resources and Services Support Specialist in the Acquisitions Department, who are responsible.

Anne’s first job at Penn State was working in a hot dog stand at various sporting events. She began working in the libraries as a student in 2007. Then, in August 2012, she became a part of the Monograph Acquisitions Team, which is responsible for purchasing all types of materials. When your library needs a specific book or a vinyl album, it’s Anne and the team who places the order. She says the best part of her job is getting to view all the new titles that come in to the libraries. However, that can be both a blessing and a curse. Seeing so many interesting items has led to checking out so many items, and Anne says she has checked out more than her share. I think many of us can relate!

cameo photo of Anne Belden in costume (Captain Ahab)A native of State College, Anne is accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the city, especially during football season. She says she and her family have learned to time grocery shopping trips
during halftime in order to avoid the traffic. But don’t expect to see her cart full of unnecessary items. Anne calls herself “a real cheapskate” and likes to stick to a budget. In fact, she even enjoys creating budgets for her friends. In her free time, Anne enjoys going to the gym, practicing yoga, gardening, and, especially, houseplants. Ironically, the reason that she became so interested in caring for houseplants is because she killed the first plant she was given. From then on, she saw it as a challenge to keep and grow them. Now, her house is full of them. She says her favorite thing is to give and get cuttings from plants because that means “each plant has a story behind it.” Recently, she found a fish tank along the side of a road and has decided to take on the challenge of growing aquatic plants. And if Mother Nature will cooperate this year, she also wants to try her hand at container gardening.

When I asked Anne “What’s the best thing about working for Penn State?”, she echoed what so many others have said before her—the people. She says she’s met a lot of her good friends here. Anne also says that Penn State offers so many activities and opportunities to learn about almost anything. One of her favorite things are the lunchtime presentations where you get a chance to hear from all kinds of people on all kinds of topics.

So, the next time an interesting book on a shelf catches your eye, take time to appreciate the people who bring it to you: Amazing, fun, sweet people like Anne!

Ten Random Questions with Anne Belden:

1. Favorite Color? Pink
2. Last concert you’ve been to? Dolly Parton & Lady Gaga
3. If you were on a desert island, what one thing would you have to have with you? Sunscreen
4. If you could listen to only one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? Can’t pick just  one song but anything by Sam Cooke would be great
5. Favorite movie? White Christmas
6. Place you would like to visit that you’ve never been to? Italy for the art
7. What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery? Buy a farm and rescue animals
8. Favorite food? Pretzels, especially Snyder’s Snaps
9. Is a hot dog a sandwich? Yes, because it’s between bread
10. What talent do you wish you had? To sing

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

Getting to Know You: Alessia Zanin-Yost

By: Tracy Reilly and Gale Biddle

Vincenza, Italy Photo

Dedicated. Enthusiastic. Go-getter. These are just a few of the words to describe Alessia Zanin-Yost, one of Penn State Altoona’s Reference and Instruction Librarians. Born and raised in Vincenza, Italy, which is nestled between Venice and the Alps, Alessia is the 5th of 7 children in her family. Her first job was as a pastry chef for a bakery, and later, she taught history at a community college before becoming a librarian. She came to Penn State Altoona in January 2014 and began providing collection development and instruction for 8 departments on campus, as well as reference help for students and faculty. She’s a member of ALA, ACRL Arts, and ACRL EBSS.

Alessia has presented several projects and papers in Italy and at IFLA. She says she enjoys learning how  people use information resources in other places, especially in underdeveloped countries with limited resources. She’s very grateful for the opportunity to present a Penn State perspective to other countries and has had library professionals implement some of her ideas.

This year, Alessia has the prestigious honor of leading a team in assessing the outcomes for the Navigate Project, a collaboration between the University of Parma in Italy, the University of Gvale in Sweden, and the University of Sofia in Bulgaria. The project, sponsored by the European Commission, entails creating a common curriculum for students in Humanities & Social Studies and embeds information literacy into the programs through game-based learning. This year will be the first time that the project will involve multiple countries. Alessia is honored to be a part of the project and proud to have Penn State’s name attached to such an ambitious undertaking.

Alessia’s favorite part of working at Penn State? The students. She loves getting to meet the students as first-year students and watching them develop and grow during their time at Penn State. She especially enjoys the small campus atmosphere at Penn State Altoona since it gives her the opportunity to really get to know the students and faculty. She works closely with the faculty on projects and finds it rewarding to see them being implemented successfully.

When she’s not busy with her work, Alessia enjoys spending time with her 2 daughters, Monica and Sonia, her husband Mike, and their three dogs. She’s also an avid gardener and loves to paint and draw. Cooking is another way for her to wind down after a busy day. And as her co-workers can attest, she makes a delicious tiramisu!

Welcome Megha Tuladhar: Fall 2018 Marie Bednar development intern

By: Sarah Bacon

Megha Tuladha headshot

Megha Tuladha

Meet inspiring, rising senior Megha Tuladhar, who joins the Libraries as our Marie Bednar Development Intern. Megha is from Nepal, and during her high school years helped support victims of human trafficking and was a strong advocate for economic development and human rights. After Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake, Megha went to work as a fundraiser and led efforts to provide an entire village with essentials like clothing, proper sanitation, food, and housing.

Megha will graduate this December with a B.A. in Economics. She came to Penn State with a desire for knowledge and learning beyond the known and sought out this University to have the
“ultimate American college experience”. She wasted no time getting plugged into her new Penn State community and is an executive board member for Ascend, the largest Pan-Asian
professional business organization.

After receiving her B.A., Megha will follow her passions for economic development, micro finance, sustainability, and international relations by pursuing a post graduate degree and
ultimately moving back to Nepal to help advance her country and its people. Megha will use her Penn State education and experiences to build bridges within and between communities in
Nepal and across the globe.

 

 

 

Getting To Know You: Victoria Rose Raish

By: Jen Cywinski and Tracy Reilly

Victoria Raisch

If you’re a student or instructor in World Campus, you may know Victoria Rose Raish, or “Torrie” as she’s known by her friends and colleagues.

Torrie received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Mercyhurst University before earning her Master’s degree in Secondary Science Teaching in USC’s online graduate program through the
Rossier School of Education. Hired by Penn State in 2016 for Library Learning Services, she is the Online Learning Librarian where she collaborates with World Campus. Torrie also assists
with teaching campus courses. Prior to being hired for the Libraries, Torrie was a graduate assistant for three years.

Sometimes people say librarians are “lifesavers”, so maybe it’s no surprise that Torrie was a lifeguard at the Sandcastle Waterpark in Pittsburgh while growing up outsidethe city limits.
Another fun fact is that Torrie went to school with Cameron Thomaz, who is better known as the rapper Wiz Khalifa!

Victoria Raish

Torrie and her husband, Adam have a very busy personal life raising five little girls. Emma, Ella, Elsa, and Elka are ages eight through one, and the fifth is Etta, who arrived after we interviewed Torrie! When she has free time, she loves to run in the mornings and used to compete in a collegiateathletics team for running.

When you ask Torrie what she likes about working for Penn State she says, “Everyone is very supportive and wants to help you to be successful”.

Getting To Know You: Linda Ferriss

By: Jen Cywinski and Tracy Reilly

If you’ve ever visited the Kelly Library at the Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport then you’ve probably seen Linda Ferriss behind the service desk. Linda started there in January
of 2012 as an instructor for reading specialist classes. In August of the same year, a position opened up for an Information Resource Specialist so she applied and the rest is history.

Like many of these positions on smaller campuses, Linda wears many hats. She is in charge of interlibrary loan, cataloging, collection maintenance, weeding, processing new materials, as
well as overseeing student workers’ hours and payroll.

Linda attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelors in Elementary Education with a concentration in reading. Her love of books and reading later inspired her to go on for a Masters specializing in Reading Literacy. What you may not know about Linda is that when she first joined the job force after college, she attended a job fair and decided to teach English in a foreign country, including Venezuela for two years and Spain for one year!

Having grown up in Williamsport, PA, her family always had season tickets for Penn State Football, so family and PSU go together for Linda. Speaking of which, she and her husband Ed have a 14-year-old Lab mix named Jasper, and she has two sons, James and Daniel.

Though Linda was hired for the Kelly Library specifically, she loves being part of the big picture at Penn State- “I have to know people throughout the system and across the state!”

 

Getting To Know You: Amanda Peters

Photo of Amanda Peters and her dog, Teddy, a border collie/brittany mix and her two cats.

By: Jennifer  Cywinski

Amanda Peters has always had a love for history. It may have started when she
began working at The Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, where she
was introduced to the history of the coal and coke industry back in
Pittsburgh and she has loved the subject ever since.

In 2016 Amanda became the Archivist at the Coal and Coke Heritage Center
located at the Fayette campus and is in charge of overseeing the collection,
which includes over 1,200 oral histories on the coal industry. These are
stories of people whose lives were intertwined with the coal industry and
their experiences. Amanda also gives presentations, sets up displays, and
provides outreach for the museum.

Amanda received her Bachelors’ Degree in History at the University of
Pittsburgh in Johnstown and went on to receive a Masters of History at IUP
(Indiana University of Pennsylvania). She was exposed to archiving and
museums while going for her Masters and she decided to go back for a Library
Science degree to make her History Degree more marketable. The decision
definitely paid off!

Amanda lives near Pittsburgh and she and her partner Joe live within walking
distance to the downtown area. She has 2 cats and a dog named Teddy. Teddy is
a two-year-old Border collie/Brittany mix and he keeps Amanda on her toes!
She has also decided to train for a half-marathon this year in Pittsburgh!

Amanda loves working at Penn State and even though she is far from
University Park, she feels that she is still well connected to the main
campus and that her work still matters. Everyone is nice and very accessible.
Penn State has a great network of people and we are fortunate to work here!

Getting To Know You: Yumi Rudy

By: Jen Cywinski and Megan Donnelly

Photo of Yumi Rudy and her 4 children

Yumi and her children, wearing her homemade outfits

Originally from Japan, Yumi Rudy has been a part-time Information Resources and Services Specialist at the Penn State Harrisburg Library since 2016. However, she isn’t new to Penn State! She first worked at Harrisburg’s library in 2003 as a graduate student, where she met her husband Glenn, also a graduate student. She has also worked part-time for Fredricksen Library in Camp Hill for the last 13 years.

Yumi graduated from Soka University in Tokyo with a B.A. in Education and earned her M.A. in American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg. She is also certified to teach the Japanese language to non-Japanese speakers and, along with her husband, translated all of the dialogue from the video game Wachenroder for fun.

Yumi has always been interested in life outside of Japan and in 1996 studied at Oxford University Hartford College for the summer. The next year she spent six months in Tennessee where she learned to make quilts by hand. She says of her experience, “Those two places were very much different. I enjoyed the British atmosphere yet still I loved the southern culture in Tennessee and I felt very much comfortable being there.”

In her free time, Yumi enjoys sewing, knitting, and reading biographies or historical books, particularly about the U.S. Civil War. She’s also considering combining her interests by creating a quilt using Civil War reproduction fabric. You might be wondering how she makes time for work, her husband, her four kids, and her hobbies. The answer is that Yumi wakes at 3 a.m. every morning to enjoy her interests, even when she closed the Harrisburg library at 11 p.m. the previous night!

Getting To Know You: Stephanie Jakle Movahedi-Lankarani

by Jennifer Cywinski and Tracy Reilly

Stephanie Jakle Movahedi-Lankarani is a pillar at the University Park campus, having worked there since the mid-80s. She began her PSU career as a part-time reference desk assistant at the Life Sciences Library in Pattee/Paterno where she spent 12 years. In 2000, she began working full time in the newly formed Schreyer Business Library as a library assistant and in the spring of 2003 moved over to the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library as the unit’s supervisor, which includes managing two architecture-related digital image collections.

During high school summers, Stephanie scooped ice cream at the local Baskin-Robbins and while going to the University of Illinois, she worked various retail jobs until getting a position shelving books. While it’s obvious that Stephanie has a passion for everything related to libraries, you may not know that as a child she spent almost a decade studying piano and in her late teens briefly studied at the National Academy of the Arts in Champaign, Illinois.

woman with glasses resting her head on her hand

When Stephanie isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her husband and their three adult children. She also has a passion for traveling to cities in the U.S. and abroad where she takes pictures of cityscapes and urban areas. Stephanie says, “I’m interested in how different cultures arrange their urban and suburban spaces and in how these spaces relate to cultural belief systems and reflect a society’s priorities.” She added that she takes too many photos on these trips!

Stephanie is also a member of the Visual Recourses Association which is a “multidisciplinary organization dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of image and media management.”

 Stephanie’s favorite thing about working for Penn State is that she gets to work with people from places all across the country and around the world!

Getting to Know You: Brett Spencer

The Star Wars' franchise character Yoda holding a book for a promotional "Read" campaign posterby Jennifer Cywinski and Tracy Reilly

Brett Spencer has been a part of the social fabric at the Penn State Berks Thun Library since 2014. He is the Reference and Instruction Librarian for the Social Sciences and also the liaison to the Humanities and Art Sciences.

Brett originally worked in a public library while in graduate school and earned his degree in Library Sciences in 2000 from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was then hired at the University of Alabama and left his native home of Mississippi. However, living in the south had some drawbacks, and eventually, Brett’s family began looking for better opportunities for their son Trent, who has autism.

After doing some research, Brett and his wife discovered that Pennsylvania was supportive of families who have children with autism. Brett applied for his position at Penn State Berks Thun Library while looking forward to moving and helping his son prosper. Now Trent attends The Vista School in Hershey, which boasts wonderful staff and state-of-the-art facilities to address the special needs of children.

When Brett isn’t working he enjoys spending time with Trent and their little rat terrier dog “Nemo.” Both he and his wife, Danielle, are big Star Wars fans and Brett actually owns a homemade lightsaber!

Brett says that working for Penn State has been a great opportunity for him and his family. He says “the co-workers, faculty, staff, and students, you could not ask for a better work environment!”

Getting to Know You: Tricia Super

dark-haired woman smilingby Tracy Reilly and Jennifer Cywinski

Tricia Super is the type of employee that most supervisors want on their staff. She started working for the libraries as part-time, nighttime staff in 2005. Over the years she has had other full-time positions, but she’s remained dedicated to the library where she spends her nights and Saturdays. She especially loves working with faculty and students to get the materials that they need for success!

Great Valley’s graduate professional studies courses are held in the evening, which means that the library is busiest when Tricia is on the clock. Tricia also helps many of the local residents who visit Great Valley for a place to research and work. She has worn many hats including working with serials, databases, circulation, and reference. When you work at a smaller campus library, you tend to learn all aspects of the job.

Something you might not know about Tricia is that she and her family are long-time members of the Mummers in the Fancy Brigade Division! The Mummers Parade takes place every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia and is believed to be the oldest Folk Festival in the United States, having begun in 1901. It’s a local tradition that shouldn’t be missed!

Tricia is a current member at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church where she is a Eucharistic Minister, a volunteer with Cabrini University’s Alumni Office, and a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in Chester County. To top it all off, Tricia spent 12 years in the Girl Scouts and earned the Gold Award, which is the association’s highest achievement.

Getting to Know You: Binh Le

by Tracy Reilly and Jennifer Cywinski

If you want to talk about library science with someone, you might choose a person with extensive experience like Binh Le. He’s had more than 25 years in the field. Between him and his wife, Christine, they combine for more than 50 years of experience! As Le says, “The library Gods have been very good to us,” and he just might be right!

man with glasses wearing a coat and tie standing in front of a building

Originally from Vietnam, Binh started out in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a busboy at a Chinese restaurant in the late 1970s, which was his very first job. Fast forward to 2017 and you’ll find him working at Penn State Abington as an associate librarian and is a liaison to the Division of Social Sciences. Some of his responsibilities include coordinating reference and library services for ELS and international students. Binh is a member of the American Library Association, he is on the board for the Library and Education Foundation for Vietnam (LEAF-VN), and he is also very active in the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Binh doesn’t have any pets, but he has plenty of critters that live in his backyard including deer, foxes, raccoons, and lots of birds, but no bears … yet!

When Binh is not working, he enjoys being active in the outdoors doing activities such as skiing, hiking, walking, cycling, playing tennis, and, of course, he loves to travel.

Binh says that his favorite thing about working at Penn State is “working with colleagues in various disciplines and campuses/colleges.”

Getting to Know You: Tom Reinsfelder

by Tracy Reilly and Jennifer Cywinski

If you work in a PSU library, you may have a story similar to Tom Reinsfelder’s.

In 2002, he started out at the Penn State Abington Library working evenings and weekends part time and a year later went full time. During this time, Tom worked on his MSLS degree from Clarion University. He then secured his current position as Reference and Instruction Librarian at Penn State Mont Alto in 2004.

One of Tom’s many jobs is to coordinate the “Ask A Librarian” service, which Tom says “is a great example of how we operate as “one library, geographically dispersed.” It involves many people working together from all of our locations to serve our users. In addition to monitoring a few hours a week, most of Tom’s involvement revolves around troubleshooting, communicating with support and sales representatives from the vendor SpringShare, adding/removing user accounts, and configuring settings and features in LibAnswers and LibChat. To top it all off, Tom is on the Board of Directors for the PA Library Association and is also co-editor of the journal, Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice.

side-by-side portraits of woman and man and a girl, boy and dog

Tom currently lives in Shippensburg with his wife Jessica, their two children, Megan (13) and Brandon (10), and Jack (2), his golden retriever. Tom keeps himself very busy as he is an Eagle Scout, and in keeping with tradition, his son is in the Cub Scouts. Tom volunteers as a Cubmaster (and webmaster) for Cub Scout Pack 251. When he is not being Cubmaster, Tom enjoys kayaking on lakes such as Long Pine Run Reservoir, Letterkenny Reservoir or in Codorus State Park. He also loves to hike, bike and watch baseball. In addition, he likes to play the piano and occasionally helps with the music at his church.

We asked Tom what his favorite thing is about working for Penn State and his answer was, “I enjoy being connected to such a large and diverse organization. Penn Staters are doing so many interesting things and it’s great to be a part of that!”

Getting To Know You: Carla Rapp

woman wearing Penn State clothing standing at the beach

Carla Rapp

by Tracy Reilly and Jen Cywinski

If you’ve ever had Media Commons come to your campus for instruction, and you live on the Eastern side of the state, then you probably had a chance to meet Carla Rapp. As the Media Commons campus consultant for Penn State’s eastern campuses, Carla travels often to work with faculty in creating
multimedia projects that can be used for classroom instruction. She also provides in-classroom training for students, including demos of software, guidance in creating scholarly multimedia projects, best practices, and project critiques. Carla also supports campuses through the Media Commons
website.

Carla received her undergraduate degree in Communication and Public
Relations from La Salle University and a master’s in Learning Design and
Technology from Penn State. Her first job after graduation was a position at
Bucks County Community College.

Before she settled at Penn State, she enjoyed a diverse range of jobs,
including seven years of filming behind the scenes at the high school football
show “The Big Ticket” for WFMZ in Allentown. She was also involved with
production work and public announcements for “Musikfest,” which is one of
the nation’s largest 10-day music festivals. She also worked for the Lehigh
Valley Iron Pigs, a minor league baseball team and a Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies where she did video production and also worked the scoreboard.

As you can probably imagine, Carla is a big sports fan. She loves to watch the Philadelphia Flyers, and, of course, she is a big Penn State fan! She also loves to cook and try new recipes she finds on Pinterest. She especially loves to cook for her fiancé who she is going to marry this fall, her favorite time of the year!

Carla loves her position at Penn State. She likes working as a team, and Penn State gives her the freedom to come up with new ideas – and new ideas can lead to big things.