UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jennie Levine Knies, associate dean for Commonwealth Campus Libraries and head librarian for the Scranton Campus Library at Penn State Scranton, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC). MARAC is a nonprofit, volunteer-run association of archivists and cultural heritage professionals throughout the mid-Atlantic region — encompassing seven states and the District of Columbia — whose work is centered on the administration, preservation, and use of archival records and related historical research materials.
Awarded annually in the spring, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals whose service to MARAC has contributed to the success of the organization as well as the broader profession of archival preservation. Recipients are recognized with a $250 honorarium.
Tara Wink, historical librarian and archivist at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and chair of the MARAC Distinguished Service Award committee, said that during nearly 20 years of active membership in MARAC, Knies has held nearly every office on the steering committee for at least one term, presented at multiple meetings, served on numerous committees, and undertaken the difficult task of overhauling the operations and meetings manuals.
“Through these different leadership roles, (Knies) has led with compassion and empathy and found ways to make both longstanding and new members feel heard and welcome,” said Wink. “Nominators have described her as as calm during difficult times, generous with her time, insightful and pragmatic. One described her as follows: ‘She is passionate about library leadership and the important contributions of mid-career librarians and archivists. I have watched her mentor other librarians and archivists, both formally and informally, and have always been impressed with her generosity and honesty.’ She is a pleasure to work with and keeps colleagues smiling and laughing.
“During times of great tumult, Jennie has led and worked as part of a team to innovate and change MARAC’s culture, which is never an easy task,” Wink said. “I personally am so thankful for her steadfast mentorship, positivity, strength and humanity.”
“I joined MARAC when I started graduate school in 1994, and it has been my professional home ever since,” said Knies. “I have gained so much from membership, presenting at conferences, and being a part of the leadership over the years. Regional organizations provide such value to their members, and I believe that MARAC is true to its mission to be affordable and provide education and support to archival professionals. I have made many wonderful friends there over the years, in addition to receiving much mentoring throughout my career. And I even met my husband through MARAC.”
Past MARAC Distinguished Service Award recipients from Penn State include the late Susan Hamburger (2015) and Leon Stout (2006).