University Libraries 'Thank You' video wins award for diversity

May 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A short video, created almost entirely by Penn State University Libraries student staff and interns, was honored at the 2019 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Film Festival.

Maryam Abed photo

Maryam Abed, a Penn State senior studying computer science and cybersecurity, participated in the University Libraries “Giving Tuesday Thank You” video project. She was invited to join the project through Global Engagement Initiatives and is represented in the video with a thank you message written in Arabic, her native language.   

IMAGE: Jennifer Cifelli

The University Libraries’ film submission, “Giving Tuesday Thank You,” won the ARL Film Festival Award — or ARLie — for best reflection of diversity, for its “reflection of the diversity of Penn State's student population, offered in their own words.” The award was accepted during the event by Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications Barbara I. Dewey.

The ARLies Film Festival is celebrated annually at the ARL Spring Meeting, held this year on May 7 in Minneapolis. According to the ARL website, it was created “to highlight and share multimedia products developed by member institutions to increase knowledge and use of libraries, their spaces, services, collections and expertise.”   

The idea for the "Thank You" video was conceived by Sarah Bacon, administrative support coordinator for Libraries Development and Alumni Relations, following the enormous success of the Libraries 2018 Giving Tuesday campaign, which supports the Libraries' Textbook Fund, lowering students’ costs by putting required textbooks on reserve for student checkout. Bacon reached out to the Global Engagement Initiatives office to invite the help of students who had utilized the Libraries and the Textbook Fund in their studies.

Global Engagement Initiatives supports and co-sponsors a variety of global citizenship and intercultural communication events, organizing cooperative efforts in support of faculty, staff and students working and studying abroad, and addressing the library/information needs of international students at Penn State.

“I loved how the project grew organically and invited conversations about diversity,” said Bacon. “On Giving Tuesday, we displayed the 'Thank You' posters in the library, and international students looked for their languages and enjoyed talking about the project. One student commented that her language wasn’t represented, so I invited her to create her own poster. Dalia Batuuka was thrilled to be a part of the film and have the opportunity to say thank you to our donors in Luganda (Uganda).”

Sixteen students — representing 13 countries — created posters in their native languages for the project, which became the "Thank You" video. The students were then photographed holding their posters and compiled into a video by Colin Gallagher, a graphic design student employee from the Libraries Public Relations and Marketing office, with organizational help from Megha Tuladhar, Marie Bednar Development Intern, and Daniela Rojas Medina, Marie Bednar Global Outreach Intern.  

“It was so special to create a project that highlights the Libraries’ incredibly diverse student population and showcase ‘thank you’ in their native languages,” said Bacon. “I believe those two little words have incredible power when spoken from the heart.”

For more information about Global Engagement Initiatives or its programs, contact Mark Mattson, global partnerships and outreach librarian, at or 814-863-2480. For more information about University Libraries Development and Alumni Relations or Giving Tuesday, contact Bacon at or 814-865-2258.

Last Updated June 24, 2019