Hunter, Riehman-Murphy share national Innovation in College Librarianship Award

CHICAGO — Jennifer Hunter and Christina Riehman-Murphy, Penn State University Libraries reference and instruction librarians at Penn State Abington College Library, are being recognized for their inventive, student-centered programming as co-recipients of the 2017 Innovation in College Librarianship Award. The national award is presented annually by the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) College Libraries Section (CLS).

The annual award honors ALA members who have demonstrated a capacity for innovation in their work with undergraduates, instructors and/or the library community “through a new idea, method, project or device that enhances student learning and/or faculty development” and also “works to promote the library as integral to the achievement of the college's mission.”

“It is fitting that Jen and Christina are sharing this richly deserved recognition for their highly accessible models of student outreach and instruction, as they started working at the Penn State University Libraries’ Penn State Abington Library on the same day just 18 months ago,” Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said. “In that short time, they have been making significant contributions to its campus community of instruction, in appreciably innovative ways that have inspired others, and are exemplars of the Libraries’ mission and vision for innovation. We at the University Libraries are thrilled for their national recognition and couldn’t be prouder to call them part of our community.”

Hunter and Riehman-Murphy are being honored for their Research Parties and TED Talk as Research Inspiration programs.

Award chair Leah Dunn, university librarian at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, noted, “The project was chosen because it represented a new model of instruction composed of two programs: Research Parties and TED Talk as Research Inspiration. The program offers a more interactive model of instruction and promotes the library as an integral part of the college’s mission by helping them ‘forge their own success as productive, responsible, and discerning citizens of a global society.’ The nominees created low-tech, high-impact methods of relationship building that are easily replicated.”

Research Parties are drop-in, social research consultation sessions. Serving a function similar to a library reference desk, librarians provide in-person help to students from different classes at different stages of the research process, but like the hands-on portion of instruction sessions, librarians help multiple students at once, acclimating some students to the databases and then helping others to brainstorm topics or with citations.

TED Talk as Research Inspiration blends a book-club-type environment with instruction. Students view a pre-recorded TED Talk, short lectures delivered by some of the world's most innovative speakers. The librarians facilitate a discussion about the talk’s themes, incorporating how students can approach the topic from various disciplinary viewpoints. The group then brainstorms how students might transform the topic of the TED Talk to a topic for their papers or projects.

“Jen and Christina highlight library faculty as integral to instruction at Penn State Abington. Their work reflects the college’s commitment to accessible and creative high-impact learning practices,” Damian J. Fernandez, chancellor of Penn State Abington, said.

Hunter received a master’s degree in library and information science from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in English literature from Rutgers University-Camden. Riehman-Murphy received a master’s degree in library science from Clarion University.

Hunter and Riehman-Murphy will be presented a $1,000 award and plaque, donated by CLS, during a CLS event in late June at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

For more information regarding the ACRL CLS Innovation in College Librarianship Award and for a complete list of past recipients, visit the awards section of the ACRL website.