Annual University Libraries awards celebrate staff members

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Each spring the Penn State University Libraries honor selected staff members for their outstanding contributions toward the success of libraries’ operations and the morale of colleagues. Award recipients are chosen from a pool of applications submitted by the libraries' faculty and staff members who use the nomination process to express their appreciation for the talent, dedication and character of their peers.

This year’s recipients include:
Bonnie Osif, acting head of the Engineering Library, was awarded the University Libraries Award that recognizes outstanding contributions to the University Libraries, based on professional contributions that affect the operations of the libraries, elevate respect among the University for the libraries, reflect achievement in librarianship and demonstrate leadership and innovation.

Osif has been with the libraries since 1989. She received a bachelor of science degree in science from Penn State, an a master of science degree in library and information science from Drexel, and a doctorate from Temple University. In nomination letters Osif was described as the quintessential librarian — a ceaseless teacher and humanitarian, dedicated to the profession and to helping library patrons. A scholar, Osif has more than 100 articles, well-over 100 presentations and three books, including a book on the nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island.

Frank Hall, the overnight supervisor for Lending and Reserves Services, the area comprising the 24-hour operation for the popular Knowledge Commons in Pattee Library, was awarded the Margaret Knoll Spangler Oliver Award. A co-worker remarked that Hall “creates a culture of diversity, civility, respect and efficiency that makes going to work a pleasure.” Another person mentioned his team building abilities and yet another said, “He manages by being present, aware and active.” Hall’s corporate background and new management style has helped him to build a vibrant service model.

The Margaret Knoll Spangler Oliver Award was created in 1995 by Eleanor Smith and other family members of Oliver, as an endowment to honor her memory and her long service to Penn State Libraries. Oliver was a staff member from 1945-1965, and she continued activity in library circles until her death in 1994. The award recognizes outstanding service by the libraries’ employees, who demonstrate successful job performance by combining competence of skills, knowledge of subject matter and successful interaction with others.

The University Libraries Diversity Award, created in 2012, recognizes individuals and teams that demonstrate extraordinary commitment and contributions to enhance mutual respect for differing backgrounds and points of view. Two recipients were chosen this year: Dawn Amsberry, assistant librarian in Library Learning Services, and Matthew Ciszek, head librarian, Lartz Memorial Library, at Penn State Shenango.

Dawn Amsberry has a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, an master of library science degree from San Jose State and an master of arts degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages. She joined the libraries in 2006. Her many achievements in outreach and scholarship include the World in Conversation Diversity Discussion, an ongoing series co-sponsored with Information Technology Services, and a revival of the Libraries Diversity Research and Programming Colloquium. She also works with adaptive technologies to provide services for people with disabilities. Amsberry has a strong array of peer-reviewed publications that focus on international students as well as entries in books and numerous presentations at national venues.

Ciszek has been with Penn State since 2007. He received his bachelor of arts degree in English literature and a master of library science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the faculty adviser to the Shenango Campus’ Gay/Straight Student Alliance and has a number of publications and presentations on diversity-related issues. One administrator noted, “He has a keen devotion to engendering a tolerant and informed campus environment.” Another faculty member noted, his “involvement in advocacy for LGBT issues has contributed to Shenango’s ability to serve a diverse student body.”

For more about the awards and a list of past participants, see

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Last Updated January 09, 2015