Penn State names Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Tom Reinsfelder distinguished librarians

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Ellysa Stern Cahoy, education librarian and director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and Tom Reinsfelder, head librarian at Mont Alto Campus Library, have been named Penn State University Libraries’ newest distinguished librarians.

Credit: Penn State University Libraries

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ellysa Stern Cahoy, education librarian and director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and Tom Reinsfelder, head librarian at Mont Alto Campus Library, have received the title of Distinguished Librarian in the University Libraries for their outstanding academic, research and service contributions.

Cahoy and Reinsfelder were nominated by University Libraries colleagues, reviewed by a University Libraries Distinguished Librarian Selection Committee and approved by Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi following a recommendation by Executive Vice President and Provost Justin Schwartz.

“Ellysa and Tom both have lengthy and exemplary records of academic research achievement and service to the field of librarianship at Penn State, in Pennsylvania and beyond,” Faye A. Chadwell, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said. “The distinguished librarian title was created to recognize scholars of their caliber, and I’m so pleased their faculty colleagues have chosen to honor them in this way.” 

Distinguished librarians and distinguished professors are special academic titles “intended to recognize a limited number of outstanding [faculty] for whom endowed chairs or professorships are otherwise unavailable,” according to its academic policy. They are considered “recognition that can be awarded to qualified faculty members upon recommendation of their peers and the administration.” These titles are made for a period of five years and subject to a performance review process at five-year intervals.

Cahoy joined the University Libraries in 2001 as information literacy librarian. In 2013 she received the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries Instruction Section, the nation’s highest recognition in instruction librarianship. Her record of research has been honored multiple times nationally, including receiving the portal: Libraries & the Academy 2015 Best Article Award for her co-authored work with Smiljana Antonijevic, “Personal library curation: An ethnographic study of scholars' information practices.” She now serves as that journal’s editor. She also was awarded two Andrew W. Mellon Foundation research grants, both centered on exploring and optimizing faculty and graduate students’ information management workflows. After serving as its assistant director from 2011 to 2022, she recently was named director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress sponsored by the University Libraries. 

Reinsfelder joined Penn State in 2003 and was named head librarian of the Mont Alto Campus Library in 2018. In 2012 he co-founded the open access journal Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice and served as co-editor through 2020. In 2013 he began coordinating and expanded the University Libraries’ Ask a Librarian service, a role he continues to hold as the current co-director of reference services. In 2021 his research co-authored with Jacob Moore was awarded Best Publication Award from the Engineering Library Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. Reinsfelder earned a doctoral degree in administration and leadership studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and served as president of the Pennsylvania Library Association in 2021. 

Cahoy and Reinsfelder join Linda Musser, head of the Fletcher L. Byrom Earth and Mineral Sciences Library, as the University Libraries’ three faculty members holding distinguished librarian titles. Musser was named a distinguished librarian during the 2008-09 academic year.