Penn State receives pioneering gift for library innovation

May 31, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State soon will name two librarians to positions intended to keep the University Libraries a leader in the evolving information world, thanks to a commitment from Librarian Emeritus and alumna Sally W. Kalin and her husband, State College, Pa., attorney Richard L. Kalin. The Sally W. Kalin Early Career Librarianship for Technological Innovations and the Sally W. Kalin Early Career Librarianship for Learning Innovations are the first positions of their kind at any U.S. research library, and the funds will support the efforts of librarians in the first decade of their careers as they develop new resources and services for Penn State students and faculty.

“Throughout her distinguished Penn State career, Sally’s leadership has been instrumental in building one of the finest library systems at any institution,” said Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. “Now the Kalins are leading the way for future generations of Penn Staters with a gift that underscores the critical role of libraries and librarians in creating a vibrant and innovative academic community.”

Sally Kalin retired in summer 2011 from the post of associate dean for University Park Libraries after more than three decades of service to Penn State. In 2006, she launched the initiative that culminated this spring in the dedication of the Tombros and McWhirter Knowledge Commons in Pattee Library. This state-of-the-art collaborative learning center offers access to a wide range of technologies and services, including the assistance of staff specializing in new media and new educational approaches. The Kalin Early Career Librarians will focus on the integration of the Knowledge Commons and other resources with research and learning across the University.

“For many people, the ‘brand’ for libraries continues to be books, but academic libraries are now playing a critical role in demonstrating how new technologies can help to transform information into knowledge,” said Kalin, who serves as an honorary co-chair of the Libraries Faculty Staff Campaign. “We hope that our gift will advance the promise of the Knowledge Commons and lead, as the names of the positions suggest, to innovations that will enhance the relationship between technology and learning. As someone who began her career in an entirely print world, I’m excited that, through this gift, I can continue be a part of this transformation.”

The Kalin Early Career Librarianships will also help the University to recognize and retain rising stars in the field. The positions will be available for three-year terms to librarians in the first ten years of their careers who hold faculty positions in the University Libraries at the rank of assistant librarian or higher. Kalin said that the creation of these positions was guided in part by her experience at the memorial service held in January for longtime Penn State head football coach and leading University Libraries supporter Joe Paterno.

“When I heard Joe’s former players speak about the impact he had on their lives, I was inspired to reflect on the importance of support and mentoring,” said Kalin. “I hope that the Early Career Librarianships will encourage new and younger librarians to explore and experiment in ways that will help them to progress in their careers, even as they positively shape the educational experience Penn State offers.”

For more information, contact Catherine Grigor, manager of public relations and marketing for the Penn State University Libraries, at 814-863-4240 or


  • Librarian Emeritus and alumna Sally W. Kalin

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 05, 2012