Penn State Lehigh Valley employee retires after 28 years

August 18, 2015

Judy Mishriki, reference librarian at Penn State Lehigh Valley, will retire on Sept. 30 after 28 years of service.

Mishriki, of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, began as Penn State Lehigh Valley’s reference librarian in 1987. She served both the library and continuing education from 1990-2010 in the dual roles of reference librarian and program coordinator. During that time, Mishriki developed technology programs for underserved groups, including inner-city girls, older adults, and the mentally challenged. In 2001, she received the Award for Excellence from the University Continuing Education Association for an inner-city youth program.

Since 2010, Mishriki has focused on her role as reference librarian, helping faculty and students find the information they need.

Mishriki said, “I look back on my time in the library as a wonderful adventure. When I began working, I never could have imagined the total transformation of libraries and research that lay ahead. In 1987, there was no such thing as the Internet for research. When someone asked me a question, I had to find the answer in one of the books on the shelves. If a student needed an article on a topic, we first used periodical indexes and then filled out a form to order a photocopy. It was a tedious process!”

In 1992, she read that the Library of Congress had an exhibit of previously top-secret Soviet documents that could be seen on computers via something new called Internet. Mishriki followed cryptic directions to go to a numerical address, view a list of files and transfer a file back to her computer. She wound up finding personal letters exchanged between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After that, she was hooked.

“Penn State librarians were encouraged to be early adopters and we were given access to any tools we needed to explore technologies. So as the Internet opened up to the public, we explored sites, did online searches using pay services like BRS, created webpage guides, and kept our students up-to-date on the amazing developments. It was so exciting to be an active part of this incredible new phenomenon.”

In those early years of the Internet, before search engines like Google, it wasn’t easy to find sites on the Internet.  In 1995, Mishriki created her first website called Teens in Trouble designed to help parents of struggling teenagers find information, resources and support. Another website, Runaway Lives, launched in 2001, invites runaways and their families to post their stories. More than 200 personal accounts have been submitted to the site.

When asked about her future, Mishriki said she wants to keep busy and keep learning. She hopes to join efforts to bring books into prisons, spend more time with family and friends and explore some new creative outlets.  And, if her husband gets his retirement wish, her next big adventure may be raising goats.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 26, 2015