Category: Staff

In Memoriam, Gary C. Barlow

Image of Gary C. Barlow
Gary C. Barlow

Wright State University Libraries and the Friends of the Libraries lost a dear friend on April 25, 2024. Dr. Gary C. Barlow, was one of two faculty members to arrive in 1964 at what would become Wright State University. He began as a professor in Art Education at Miami University, training their Teacher’s Ed students enrolled in the Dayton extension program to become teachers in the Arts. After coming to Wright State’s College of Education, Gary developed the art therapy program for people with disabilities, one of the first of its kind in the country.

As one of the founding faculty of Wright State, Gary was here from the beginning, and in an interview with professor Lewis Shupe for the WSU Retiree’s Association’s Oral History Project, he shared many interesting stories and reflections about the early development  of Wright State University from a small branch campus of the Ohio State University and Miami University to a vibrant state university of its own. 

Gary was a lifelong supporter of the Wright State University, the University Libraries, and the Wright State Friends of the Libraries. He served many years in various capacities on the Friends of the Libraries Board of Directors, was an advocate for the Libraries, and a strong supporter of our Special Collections and Archives. He will be missed by many.

To read more about Gary see the exert from the Dayton Daily News in the Wright State NewsRoom.

University Libraries Staff Honored at Annual Recognition Ceremony

On May 1, 2024, the University Libraries held their annual Staff Recognition Ceremony. Six library staff were honored for their years of service and four for the Staff Achievement and Recognition (StAR) Award, including one honorary recipient. The StAR award is a peer recognition program designed to honor excellence among library staff through individual awards. The Friends of the Libraries provide finance support for the awards.

Library Staff Years of Service Awards

Image of Library Staff Recognized for Years of Service
Left to Right: Phil Flynn, Toni Vanden Bos, Shannon Michalak, Adrienne Savage, Donna Bobb, Not Pictured: Deberah England

Phil Flynn, Head of Instruction & Research Services – 35 Years of Service

Phil Flynn is a graduate of Wittenberg University and received his master of Library Science from the University of Kentucky. He began his career librarian at Wright State University in 1988. Over the years, Phil has served as the primary contact for the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Mathematics and Science. He has taught many classes from Art to Biology to Engineering to Motion Pictures. He has also taught many sections of EDT 110 and this year he co-taught a class in the Chemistry department.

Phil serves the library well through committee work. He has been a member or is currently a member on a variety of teams and committees, i.e. the University Libraries Web Advisory committee; chair of the Assessment Team; Diversity Team, Collection development, and the libraries’ Professional Development Team. He has also served the library profession very well as a member of ALA (American Library Association); American Association of Engineering Educators; ALAO (American Library Association of Ohio); Collections Management Interest Group, and OhioLINK committees.

Last year, Phil stepped into the role of department head managing the day-to-day operations of the Instruction & Research Services department and is doing great with these new responsibilities. To quote from I&RS staff, “Phil lends a kind and understanding ear to us in the department. He is also 100% focused on helping students in any capacity he is able.

Congratulations Phil, for 35 years of service and thank you for your dedication and commitment to the library and Wright State University.

Deberah England, Electronic Resources Librarian – 25 Years of Service

Deberah England was hired in 1998 to oversee our print serials operation and to manage the Current Periodicals Room, where staff maintained recently-received loose issues of hundreds of journals and provided assistance to patrons using them.

As the publishing landscape has shifted toward electronic, Deberah has shifted her skills as well. In 2004 her title as changed to Electronic Resources Librarian, and she is now responsible for shepherding new online resources through the entire acquisition process, including setting up trials and collecting feedback, reviewing license terms, coordinating license negotiations between vendors and WSU’s legal counsel, and receiving and routing invoices.

She also participates in review of existing licenses, and provides troubleshooting assistance to patrons and staff who have issues accessing or using our electronic resources. Deberah has been active throughout her career in the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG), and her contacts with the publishing and distribution side of the industry have been a great asset to her work here at WSU.

Deberah is an extremely dedicated member of our team, and is always thinking of ways to improve the services we offer to our patrons.

Congratulations to Deberah on your 25 years of service with Wright State University.

Toni Vanden Bos, Archivist, Cataloging & Preservation Manager – 20 Years of Service

Toni Vanden Bos received her undergraduate degree from Gustavas Adolphus College and her MLA in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to coming to Wright State University, she served as an intern for the national parks service and worked at the Wisconsin Historical Society in various roles including public records archivist and as an archivist at the University of Texas.

Toni began her archivist career at Wright State University Libraries in 2003 – the year of the Anniversary of Flight, an exceptionally busy time in the archives but she jumped right in giving presentations, providing tours for dignitaries from around the world, and handling an exorbitant amount of reference and photo reproduction requests. Over the years her archivist position has changed. She has served in a variety of capacities from outreach manager, exhibit coordinator, and media request manager to her current role of preservation and cataloging manager. In her current position you may see her processing a collection, doing preservation work on an at risk item, as well as assisting researchers with reference requests.

As an adjunct professor in the public history program, Toni has taught classes on archival preservation and has supervised Capstone projects and internships.

She has also served the library well through committee work as a member of the Social Committee; Disaster & Emergency Committee; Professional Development Team; StAR Committee; Web Team; Marketing Team; and Diversity Team. She also served on the OhioLINK EAD (Encoded Archival Description) Taskforce.

Toni has also served the archival profession as a member of the MVAR (Miami Valley Archivists Roundtable); SOA (Society of Ohio Archivists); SAA (Society of American Archivists); and several committees including Emerging Leader subcommittee and the Donald Peterson Scholarship Committee where she served as chair.

Thank you, Toni for your dedication and service to the University Libraries and congratulations on your 20 years at Wright State University.

Shannon Michalak, Library Operation Specialist 2 – 15 Years of Service

Shannon is a master of Course Reserves and Interlibrary Loan. She also helps out at the circulation desk and can fill in to either open or close the building, as needed. She volunteers at campus functions, representing the Libraries well and making connections with students. Shannon has exciting, fun ideas on the social committee and looks to build bridges, not burn them. Her fire comes from a desire to help students in a fair, efficient, and friendly way. Shannon can handle so many different roles, and she maintains a positive attitude throughout. She has adapted to such chaotic times as Covid-19 and the Sierra-to-Alma migration. She gives great advice on policy and procedural questions, keeping others from drifting astray. Shannon is a pivotal player in the Libraries’ mission.

Congratulations, Shannon, on 15+ years with WSU! 

Adrienne Savage, Library Associate – 15 Years of Service

Adrienne works nights and weekends, having the invaluable task of opening the building on Saturday and Sunday mornings, while the rest of us are watching cartoons! She is the type of employee where if I have a big project to work on, I can do so knowing that Adrienne has everything covered. She is super reliable, steady under pressure, good natured, and confident in her work. She deals with holiday shift changes, clock changes, technology changes—while providing great input on the Web Advisory Team—and money changes. Adrienne also hires, trains, schedules, and supervises our student workers in RDS. She is supportive of them, patient with them, and gives students a chance to prove themselves. She had to really adapt this role during Covid-19, and there will be future opportunities for innovation in this area after transitioning to Alma. Furthermore, thanks to Adrienne for suggesting the perfect book to add to the Libraries’ collection in memory of Ed Trentman. Check it out!

Congratulations, Adrienne, on your 15 years! 

Donna Bobb, Administrative Specialist – 10 Years of Service

In 2021, when an archivist departed the library, Donna was moved to the Archives to help provide administrative support. She is the friendly smiling face that greets all visitors. She helps them set appointments to use the archives and guides them on how to find materials on site and on the web. Donna sets up the desk schedule and helps with SCA (Special Collections and Archives) student employees to ensure they know the operations of the reading room. She loved working in Admin and she loves her role in SCA. Donna support the University Libraries by serving on committees including the Assessment and the Social Committee.

Congratulations Donna on 10 years of dedicated service to Wright State University and thank you!

2024 StAR Award Recipients

Image of 2024 StAR Award Recipients
Left to Right: Brian Olesko, Leigh Duncan, Desiree Loewit, Barbara Conklin

Barbara Conklin, Office Assistant 2

Barb Conklin exemplifies everything a StAR should be. She goes above and beyond her job description to make this a fun and comfortable work environment for library staff and students. Her heart is in every event she plans with the Social Committee and every treat bag she prepares to appreciate our student workers. As a part-time employee, she is flexible and rearranges here schedule to facilitate these events. Barb is the friendly voice who takes library staff facilities requests and ensures we get toilet paper when we run out and exterminators when we have bugs – these are just a couple of the MANY maintenance requests in a day. Barb is a whiz when it comes to find hard to find supplies – her super power! As the Library Student Assistant liaison, she welcomes student workers and helps them navigate paperwork, policies, and procedures. She makes the library an inviting place to be. Barb is a pleasure to work with and we all benefit from her roll in Administration and as Fun Committee Chair. Thank you, Barb, for all you do!

Leigh Duncan, Head of Library Technology Services – Honorary StAR Award

Unfortunately, Management Advisory Council (MAC) members cannot be nominated for the StAR award, but staff wanted to recognize Leigh Duncan and all the work she engages in. First and foremost is her taking the lead on the Alma project. Her organization and project management skills are paving the way for a smooth transition to what very well could be chaotic and unmanageable if not for her proactiveness in working with OhioLINK folks but also pre-training our own staff. She has thoroughly immersed herself in this so that we can be successful. And, all this is being done while she single-handedly runs the Library Technical Services department. Leigh is always willing to step up and take on extra tasks for the good of the organization. It is hard to realize or notice all these things that just get taken care of behind the scenes. Thank you, Leigh, for your caring dedication for a friendly working environment, and your commitment to Library success. 

Desirée Loewit, Acquisitions Coordinator

Desirée has two very distinctive jobs in the Library, the second of which she took on when we lost a position in Special Collections and Archives (SCA). Desirée’s attention to detail is uncanny which is very helpful in her Content Acquisition Management (CAM) accounting position. She makes sure our materials bills get paid. She tracks expenditures down to the penny in Banner and makes sure out acquisitions funds are error free. Desirée has been doing this job for so long it is easy to take her for granted, but this job should not be taken lightly. It is definitely an important piece. For her to do a complete turnaround each morning at 10:00 a.m. and do scanning work in SCA is remarkable. Although there was a learning curve involved, her persistence and attention to detail paid off and made her an invaluable member of the SCA services team. Desirée is flexible with her time and also spends part of her work day at the SCA information desk, fielding questions and helping patrons. We are so thankful that Desirée’s loyalty to the Library has helped us keep our service levels high while the budget has been cut low. Her work ethic and desire to succeed have made her a “STAR” employee. Thank you Desirée for all that you do.

Brian Olesko, Psychology & Social Sciences Librarian

Brian Olesko serves as the subject librarian for both social science and health science disciplines, and there are a lot of them! He is also an experienced and valued member of Wright State’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). One of his major IACUC duties is to perform comprehensive literature searches to identify humane practices or alternatives for using live animals in specific research. The process of performing and reporting on these searches requires numerous iterations in multiple databases, which takes time and attention to detail. The lab animal site reviews in which he participates require serious dedication as well.

Brian earned an M.S. degree in Psychology before earning his M.S in Library Science. His experience with and understanding of the scientific research process is particularly clear when he consults with graduate students and faculty in Psychology and Professional Psychology. Investigating the availability of research instruments (Tests and Measures) is also very time-consuming and complex, but Brian readily assists patrons (and even colleagues) with this challenge in his normal affable and unassuming manner. These are just a couple of examples of Brian’s consistently stellar service, not just to the University Libraries, but also to the wider university community!

Congratulations to all our award recipients and thank you to all our staff for their continued dedication and service to Wright State University and the University Libraries.

Karen Wilhoit, University Librarian is Retiring After 32 Years of Service to Wright State University

Image of Karen Wilhoit
Karen Wilhoit, University Librarian

Karen Wilhoit, University Librarian will retire from Wright State University Libraries effective February 29, 2024. Karen has served the libraries in many capacities since March 1992 when she joined our staff as the Head of Cataloging. Prior to her appointment as University Librarian in 2021, she served as Associate University Librarian for Collection Services since 2004. In her various roles in the Libraries, Karen managed the streamlining and automation of technical services operations, guided the merger of the Fordham Health Sciences Library and Dunbar Library collections, and the merger of two units in the Libraries as cost savings measure for the University, helped with the formation of Digital Services which managed the University institutional repository and oversaw the transition of the Libraries’ collections from primarily print to primarily online.

As University Librarian she worked closely with Libraries’ staff to focus on how the various departments within the Libraries can continue to work together to support initiatives focusing on student success and outreach to faculty. She worked with the Division of Inclusive Excellence to prioritize the Libraries’ commitment to being a welcoming and supportive unit for all members of the campus community. Most importantly, she has been committed to ensuring that the Libraries continue to provide outstanding service to Wright State students, faculty and staff.

During her tenure at Wright State, Karen has been active in representing the Libraries in state and national committees and consortia, serving on and chairing the OhioLINK Database Management and Standards Committee and the OhioLINK Cooperative Information Resources Management Committee. She has also been active in the Academic Library Association of Ohio, serving at various times as Chair of the Technical Services interest group, Treasurer, and Vice President/President/Past President. Karen has also served on several technical services committees of the American Library Association.

We thank Karen for her 32 years of dedicated service to Wright State University and wish her all the best in retirement.

University Libraries’ Staff Honored at Annual Recognition Ceremony

The University Libraries’ annual Staff Recognition Ceremony was held on May 4, 2023. At this ceremony seven library staff were honored for years of service and two were selected for the Libraries’ annual Staff Achievement and Recognition (StAR) Award. The StAR award is a peer recognition program designed to honor excellence among library staff through individual awards. The Friends of the Libraries provide financial support for the awards.

Library Staff Years of Service Awards – 30 Years

Karen Wilhoit, University Librarian

Image of Karen Wilhoit
Karen Wilhoit, University Librarian

Karen Wilhoit came to Wright State in March 1992. Before coming here she had worked at the Music Library at the University of Louisville; the Indiana State Library; and the Law Library at the University of Dayton. She began here as head of the department then known as Bibliographic Control. Later in the 1990s her department absorbed the Acquisitions functions and she became Head of Technical Services. In 2004 she was promoted to Associate University Librarian for Collections and Technical Services. In 2004 she was promoted to Associate University Librarian for Collections and Technical Services, and in 2021 was named University Librarian.

She has been an outstanding mentor, supporter, advocate, and friend to her colleagues. There are many admirable qualities in Karen. One mentioned in particular is that she never wastes a conference presentation. No matter what the session, Karen will find something instructive to take away from it. That’s a real gift!

Karen exemplifies what a webinar promotion recently described as quiet leadership. She doesn’t make big splashes or flex her status, but she is an eloquent and powerful advocate for the Libraries on campus. She continues to work hard to effectively serve the Libraries’ staff and the campus as a whole.

Congratulations to Karen on her 30 years of service to Wright State.

Marty Jenkins, Head of Content Acquisitions and Management

Image of Marty Jenkins
Marty Jenkins, Head of Content & Acquisitions Management

Marty is the head of the Libraries’ Content Acquisitions and Management Department which is responsible for purchasing and making available all of the materials (both print and online) in the Libraries’ collections. If you check out a book, look at a newspaper, search a database, watch a video or download a journal article, Marty has played a part in getting that material to you. Marty came to the Libraries in 1992 as the music librarian and has served as Electronic Resources Librarian and Humanities Team Leader before assuming his current role. He has continued to maintain his close ties to music, both by selecting music materials for the collection and by professional affiliation with the Music Library Association. As a long-term member and current chair of OhioLINK’s Database Improvement and Discoverability Policy Team, Marty’s expertise is shared with academic libraries throughout the state of Ohio.

Thank you, Marty for your 30 years of service to the Libraries, the University and OhioLINK.

Library Staff Years of Service Awards – 25 Years

Leigh Duncan, Head of Library Technology Services

Leigh Duncan, Head of Library Technology Services

As the Head of Library Technology Services, Leigh’s work enables everyone in the library to do their jobs. Leigh is collaborative and forward-thinking. She is persistent and patient. The term “team player” gets used a lot but Leigh truly embodies that ideal. There are countless examples of Leigh pitching in to help, or suggesting a solution to a problem, or just letting her colleagues know she’s available for whatever was needed. With all of the work on her plate, Leigh is incredibly good at prioritizing and adapting.

Leigh has a great sense of humor, is supportive, and is a wonderful person to be around. Leigh, thank you for 25 years of making the library a great place to be.

Brian Olesko, Psychology and Social Sciences Librarian

Psychology & Social Sciences Librarian

Brian is the Psychology and Social Sciences librarian. Colleagues comment on his patience and generosity. In addition to his liaison, instruction, and collection responsibilities, Brian is an active member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which includes conducting literature reviews for best or humane practices and participating in or writing up site reviews.

Brian can often be found working with students individually in the group study room or appointment station, guiding them through the research process. Those around him have described his remarkable ability to give students space and to think through complex research problems, gently guiding them through the process of learning to do research.

Brian, thank you for your 25 years of expertise and service to the Wright State Community.

Edward Trentman, Library Associate

Ed Trentman
Ed Trentman, Library Associate

Ed is our billing specialist, and a vital member of our night and weekend staff. He often goes well beyond basic customer service to spend sometimes up to an hour helping a single student get what they need. Over the years, Ed has been involved with the centralization of library holdings as well as library staff. He was one of the first staff members back in the building during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ed has been a reliable presence, a connection to the tried-and-true ways of providing services in RDS, and a willing partner in adjusting to the new normals. Those around him appreciate Ed’s collaboration on countless projects from shifting physical materials, to collecting data for reports, and partnering with Special Collections and Archives on accessibility. 

Congratulations to Ed on 25 years!

Library Staff Years of Service Awards – 15 Years

Barbara Conklin, Office Assistant

Image of Barb Conklin
Barb Conklin, Office Assistant

Barb is the first face to greet visitors to the Libraries Administration Office and she always does so with her smiling face and professional demeanor. She is a vital part of keeping the office and the Libraries as a whole operating efficiently. Barb oversees our student employment processes by posting vacancies, working with students to ensure all paperwork is completed and processed correctly, and working with student supervisors on their student employees start dates. She also keeps the supervisors informed on work study status and works with them on all aspects of student employment.

She also keeps the Libraries in supplies. Placing and distributing orders and researching for the best deal for the Libraries.

Barb has served on the Libraries Social Committee since its inception. She has been the Chair of the committee for many years and has worked with the committee to provide fun activities for staff to participate in, i.e. Dragons games, staff game nights, Cinco De Mayo celebrations, Pi Day, and so much more!

Thank you, Barb for your 15 years of service to the Libraries and your commitment to Wright State University.

Library Staff Years of Service Awards – 10 Years

Lisa Rickey, Archivist and Collections Manager

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Lisa Rickey, Archivist and Collections Manager

Congratulations to Lisa Rickey on 10 years at Wright State.  Lisa serves as an archivist and collections manager for Special Collections and Archives. In this role, she has many responsibilities including social media manager, working with donors, processing collections, answering reference requests, helping to manage our e-archives and ArchivesSpace, and so much more.  Lisa is also an excellent project manager guiding student workers, graduate interns, and staff on projects. Lisa has served her profession well by being on the Society of Ohio Archivist Council, Chair of the Miami Valley Archives Roundtable, and a member of the Society of American Archivists Committees.  She has also written a number of articles and book chapters and has presented at conferences. Lisa also serves as an adjunct professor for the Public History Program teaching Archival Arrangement and Description guiding many current and future archivists. Lisa is truly an asset to Special Collections and Archives, the Libraries, and Wright State University. 

2023 StAR Award Recipients

Donna Bobb, Administrative Specialist

Image of Karen Wilhoit and Donna Bobb
Karen Wilhoit and Donna Bobb

After working in our Administration office for many years, Donna Bobb transitioned to the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room when they reopened with new hours and an appointment-based schedule. Donna’s stellar organization provides continuity at the Reading Room desk and gives patrons a consistently positive experience. She’s worked hard to learn the ins-and-outs of a new department and quickly made herself indispensable. In addition, Donna readily assists with special projects and helps student assistants learn how to manage tasks at the desk. Donna is the perfect fit for Special Collections and Archives and she is deserving of a StAR Award.

Phil Flynn, Engineering, and Science and Mathematics Librarian

Image of Karen Wilhoit and Phil Flynn
Karen Wilhoit and Phil Flynn

Phil always goes out of his way to help Wright State students, faculty, and staff as well as his library colleagues. Since the subject reorganization in Instruction & Research Services, he is responsible for many of the disciplines for the College of Science and Math, in addition to continuing his duties for the entire College of Engineering and Computer Science.  Despite the major demands on his time, he never fails to take more time to make his already excellent teaching even better.  He consistently develops new activities to develop his students’ information literacy skills.  Chemistry is just one example. In the CHM 3190 course, the librarian teaches numerous topics and creates and grades all of the library and information literacy assignments. To name a couple of the many ways Phil worked to engage these students in his very first time co-teaching the course:  He designed a citation relay to help students develop familiarity with ACS style. He also developed a lesson in which he used the East Palestine disaster as a topic.  Phil has repeatedly taken it upon himself to meet with walk-in students who expect immediate help from a librarian. These have included students in general education courses and engineering students who are at a loss about how to format their thesis.  Not only is he extremely generous with library users, but he is equally generous about sharing his time and expertise with his colleagues.  Many have benefitted from his answers to the “quick questions” from colleagues over our cubicles, but he is also ready to go beyond a quick answer if he can help anyone with questions about GOBI, Excel, LibGuides, the website, Wright State or Dunbar Library history, etc. Despite his vast knowledge and skill, he always treats everyone with respect and never makes anyone feel badly for asking a question.  In summary, Phil is awesome!

Congratulations to all our award recipients and thank you to all our staff for their continued dedication and service to Wright State University and the University Libraries.