Category Archives: Staff Profiles

What We’re Reading, part 1

Highlights from the winter reading lists of the Fort Wayne Library staff. Click on the titles to borrow.

Carol Gibbs, Library Assistant & ILL Extraordinaire

The Joy and Light Bus Company is the 22nd installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, but don’t let that fact discourage you from diving into this happy novel. Precious Ramotswe is the founder and boss of the business located in Botswana, Africa, and each book soon has the reader up-to-date about her daily life and acquaintances. Although ‘detective’ is part of the series title and cases are solved, the joy of reading is found in the gentle backdrop of normal life in the town of Gaborone, not from some gruesome murder. Being welcomed into a world where there’s always time for a cup of red bush tea while pondering everyday moral dilemmas is a perfect antidote for real-life stress!

The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz is one of those books that won’t let you rest until the last page is turned. Twisty and quirky, this mystery bonds you with best friends Luna and Owen as they navigate through the days after Owen’s wife is murdered. The tale alternates between that tragedy and something similar that forever changed their lives years before, during their college years. Their absolute allegiance to each other over spouses, families or any other obligation sends up red flags to the police and everyone else. The dialogue is pitch-perfect and there’s plenty of humor found throughout the pages as the mysteries evolve.

Anna Brinegar, Librarian

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf. If you still think comics are only for teens and kids, this heavily researched graphic novel will change your mind. The harrowing first person accounts from Kent State students make a compelling and informative book. Also available in eBook

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell. This book isn’t an overview of cults, but a study of language and how groups use words for control and power. This book made me ask, “How does cultish language show up in my daily life?”

Summer Reading at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne

As we near the end of our summer term, a condensed semester that can be stressful for students and teachers, remember that Intersession break is coming! Here are some light reading recommendations from your library staff. Any of our staff can help you check them out. We wish everyone a relaxing, enjoyable break.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. Fort Wayne General Collection F294 .S2B48 1994

I’ve been immersed in True Crime recently while creating displays on our forensics resources, and decided to try this old bestseller in the genre. It is perfect for summer reading, as it takes place in sultry Savannah, Georgia. There is nothing remotely gorey or scary about the story, even though it centers on a fatal shooting. The real-life characters are fascinating, and richer than many fictional people. (Ann Spinney)

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. (Available at four Ivy Tech libraries)

While delayed in an airport recently, I picked up this 1970 book, which has been reissued to capitalize on the Amazon Prime TV series. What a total delight! It is full of clever jokes, from the props – an angel eats deviled eggs while a devil eats angel food cake – to the dialog, the footnotes, and even the fonts. The story is one of the most goodness-affirming I have ever read, imagining how a child thwarts the Apocalypse. It centers on the power of friendship and kindness, through several subplots. The authors are giants of fiction and together they made a masterpiece while having a lot of fun. (Ann Spinney)

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Baker & Taylor leased books

Don’t let the lack of umbrellas and sand on the front cover fool you – this is totally a beach read! The entire book is formatted as a transcript from one of those “Where Are They Now?” shows. Daisy Jones was once the epitome of the beautiful, fearless Hollywood princess, and when she merged her voice with up-and-coming rockers The Six, they exploded onto the music scene in a way that’s never been forgotten. This book is a fun read, especially for those of us who remember the 70s fondly. (Carol Gibbs)

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. Baker & Taylor leased books

Linda Holmes of NPR fame has written her first novel, and it’s well worth a read. Yes, it’s a romance, but it’s so much more than just waiting for the gal and the guy to finally realize they’re the perfect couple. This gal and guy come off as real people with flaws and problems and hey, guess what – what passes for true love isn’t enough to fix them. They have to dig a little deeper in order to do that. The book deals with emotional abuse, abandonment, the “yips,” and how to start over. A wonderful, heartwarming, satisfying read. (Carol Gibbs)

The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith. Baker & Taylor leased books

McCall Smith writes multiple book series, and this is the first title in a new one he’s recently launched. His writing is quietly humorous and full of meandering thoughts as his characters interact. This series is a parody of the Scandinavian Noir genre, such as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s called Scandi Blanc, and no crime is too insignificant to investigate by the Sensitive Crimes Division. Why was someone stabbed in the back of the knee? Who do you call when an imaginary boyfriend goes missing? And of course: vampires. The fun isn’t found in solving the ‘crimes’ as much as following the preposterous conversations needed to crack the cases. (Carol Gibbs)

Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes) by Lorna Landvik. Baker & Taylor leased books

This is the story of a long-time columnist for a small-town newspaper. When a stroke sidelines Haze Evans, the newspaper decides to rerun some of her columns written throughout the decades of her employment. What follows is a nice historical retrospective, reminding the reader of how many cultural changes this country has weathered. The people surrounding Haze read her words again and are sometimes able to use them to change their perspectives or see their lives differently. Fun to see how many people were connected through Haze and her words. (Warning: this book does slant to the left. If you’re a curmudgeon like Joseph Snell, one of Haze’s critical readers, this isn’t the book for you!) (Carol Gibbs)

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker. Baker & Taylor leased books

College students attending college in a small California town begin to fall asleep. They can’t be awakened. Some of them die. And then the sleeping sickness spreads out to the rest of the community. The news media descends to cover the crisis, complete with special terminology and logos. Some think it’s all being faked. Everyone is terrified that they could be next. For such an alarming premise, the writing is amazingly soothing. It’s gentle, even calming. Maybe even dream-like. One of my favorite things about this book was the way the lives of the different characters were shown to be interwoven, even if they weren’t aware of it. I read this book months ago and still sometimes find myself thinking about it. (Carol Gibbs)

Our non-fiction recommendation comes from Elina Puckett, who writes: “This got exceptional reviews. I am listening to it now and have a hard time putting it down.”

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray. Baker & Taylor leased books

National Poetry Month at the Library


We are celebrating National Poetry Month with our annual poetry contest, Ink Cloud. Entries of original poetry and artwork are due by April 19th.

This year we are sponsoring an open mic poetry reading featuring the contest winners, on April 25th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Anthony Commons. You can participate by reading a favorite poem – written by you or someone else! Or just listen to others read.

To inspire you, we are displaying books from our poetry collection. (There is more in our online ebook collections, and in these journals.)

Meet David Rudny Winn, who coordinates our Poetry contest and offers us general  literary guidance.


What do you do at the Library?

I am the clerk at the library desk every weekday morning.  I’m there to help you check out books, navigate library resources, and assist with using our technology.  I also help with some research questions that aren’t involved enough to need a librarian’s assistance.

In addition to running the annual Ink Cloud Poetry Contest, I process and curate the library’s Baker and Taylor book collection, which are popular new books that we lease for a limited time.  This collection can include anything from the latest popular thriller to a must-read memoir, up-and-coming YA fiction or even graphic novels. [Editor’s note: we are thrilled by the selections David captures for us. Our wait lists are not long, either!]

How did you gain your expertise?

I received my B.A. in English from the University of St. Francis in 2012.  I have been employed at the Allen County Public Library since 2012 and here at Ivy Tech since 2014.

Please tell us a little about your personal life.

I live on the south side of Fort Wayne with my wife Alex.  We have been together for seven years and married for two.  I play bass and share vocals in the grunge/hard rock band Withered Veins. We are just finishing up our first EP, and we’d love to see you in the crowd as we play shows around the area.

What is a favorite book you would recommend?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a book that will leave you feeling exhausted, but it is well worth reading.  While post-apocalyptic stories are more popular than ever, the core of the father-son relationship and the relentless bleakness of this tale makes it something uniquely potent, especially when delivered in McCarthy’s terse, but hauntingly beautiful style.

What is a favorite website you would recommend?

If you’re looking to waste some time dipping into the weird, you can’t go wrong with Atlas Obscura. It’s a collection of short articles detailing the weird and wonderful from around the world that can also function as a travel guide if you’re looking for something off the beaten path.

Staff Profile: Ellie Puckett

Librarian Elina Puckett is the organizer of our Edible Books event, and the subject of our Staff Profile this month.

Ellie with a visiting Therapy Dog
Ellie with a visiting Therapy Dog

What do you do at the Library? I am your evening and Saturday librarian. In this capacity, I am here with one purpose in mind – to help you succeed academically, whether you need help with research assistance, citation guidance, technical issues, Library resources and so forth. You name it and I will be happy to help! My other responsibilities include providing Library instruction classes in the evening, assisting with the website maintenance and serving as a liaison librarian for the School of Business, Logistics, & Supply Chain, as well as the School of Health Sciences. I am also in charge of the Library events, such as the Edible Book Festival, Finals Week Refreshments, and the visiting Therapy Dogs.
How did you gain your expertise? 
I draw my professional experience from several academic libraries where I worked previously. Ivy Tech Library has been my home for the last 14 years. My educational background includes a BA in Education, and a Master of Library Science from IUPUI.
What is unique about your background that could be of service to the Ivy Tech community? Family, friends and coworkers would probably describe me as a “health nut”, because my true passions in life are holistic green living, nutrition, exercise, attachment parenting and so many more health and wellness topics. I am constantly doing research, so if you have a topic in mind, I will surely have a good resource to recommend for reading or watching.
What is your favorite thing to do outside the Library?
 As some of you may know, I am married to my colleague Jonathan (hint: same last name) whom I met 14 years ago, when we both started working at Ivy Tech within a few months of each other. Together we raise our four beautiful children! Working for many years on numerous collaborative projects prepared us for parenting challenges better than any parenting books!
What is a favorite book you would recommend?
 I have way too many, all non-fictional. So instead, here is my latest obsession, about to become part of our collection: Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson. (Amazon review: “Ever since farmers first planted seeds 10,000 years ago, humans have been destroying the nutritional value of their fruits and vegetables. Unwittingly, we’ve been selecting plants that are high in starch and sugar and low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for more than 400 generations. Eating on the Wild Side reveals the solution–choosing modern varieties that approach the nutritional content of wild plants but that also please the modern palate” Read more)
What is a website you would recommend? I subscribe to and follow quite a few health-themed YouTube channels. One of my latest favorites is Pick Up Limes

Staff Profile: Jean Adkins

Jean is one of the friendly faces at our Information desk during the afternoons. Her computer expertise is particularly valuable to us.

Jean and her dogs

What do you do at the Library?
I am a Library Assistant. I help patrons find the resources they need, or get them with a librarian for further assistance. I also assist patrons with the computers, software, and printers. My extra duties include working on the libraries financial accounts and maintaining usage statistics for our various databases.
How did you gain your expertise?
During my military career, I was exposed to various computer systems and a wide range of people. This background helps in my interactions with our patrons. Since my retirement from the Air Force, I have worked with maintaining computer systems and as support staff for a university’s online program, which gave me experience in the educational environment.
What is uniquely helpful to your work here? 
I attended college courses pretty much my entire military career. So, I can relate to students who are juggling work, school, and other responsibilities. This experience also taught me how important it is to keep the mind active and always learning.
What is your favorite thing to do outside the Library?
Outside the library, I enjoy playing with my dogs, reading, and getting involved with church activities.
What is a favorite book or website you would recommend?
I do not have a favorite book. I read a wide variety of books, but tend to like mysteries the most. Since I like needlework projects, I check out the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center website a lot.

Welcome to Spring term 2018!

bigstock-Merry-Christmas-and-happy-New--211732684 copy
Yes, it is spring — in the academic calendar at least.

The Library’s mission is to help you have the most successful semester ever! We would like to extend a special invitation to Dual Credit students (and teachers) to use our resources. Research assistance is just part of what we offer:

Do you need computer access? Read more

Do you need help navigating IvyLearn or MyIvy? Our staff will guide you. We also assist with using Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint; using different browsers; email; printing and scanning documents.

Looking for a quiet place to read or study? Read more

Looking for a tutor? We host the CAE English and Math tutoring on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Waiting for your textbooks? You can read Reserve copies in the Library. If you don’t see yours listed, use the online form in the link above to request it be added. Professors can add books to course Reserves at any time during the semester. Having a reserve copy available means all students can do the assigned readings.

We have several dozen new books on current issues. Each is shelved in the area relevant to the issue covered, but you can search the series titles in IvyCat: Thinking Critically, Issues in Society, Digital Issues, Cell Phones and Society.

We have over 150 databases that our vendors update, so instructors should check the resources and links you have used in the past. Our librarians are skilled in searching and a consultation will save you time. If we don’t have a book or article, our Inter-Library Loan clerk will request a copy you can borrow.

Have time for some recreational reading? Browse our local and national newspapers, popular magazines, or new bestseller print books. This month’s titles include poetry, mysteries, and science fiction.

Staff Profile: Meet Stress Relief

Hands Sticking Out from under pile of Books
Finals are upon us, so this month’s staff interview focused on stress relief strategies. I asked everyone to share their favorites.

Nicole Treesh, Library Director: Doing word puzzles on my iPhone, using free apps like Words with Friends, Word Crossy, and Infinite Word Search.

Ann Spinney, Afternoon Librarian: Blowing soap bubbles. It makes you take deep breaths, the bubbles are pretty, and they don’t make too much of a mess. (Please don’t try this inside the library!)

Elina Puckett, Evening Librarian: There is nothing more easily accessible, free and relaxing for me as a walk outdoors. I call it my “internal shower”, as it does exactly that – it cleanses your system inside out, by pumping freshly oxygenated blood through your veins. It gets you de-stressed and gets your head straight. Don’t be afraid of the weather – there is no bad weather for a walk. Hot or cold your body will adapt to it in just 5 to 10 min of walking. And guess what, it doesn’t have to be only at home – a lunchtime walk increases your learning and working productivity. Best nearest spot to Ivy Tech – Johnny Appleseed park.

Carol Gibbs, Library Assistant: My number one stress reliever as of late is holding a baby. There’s nothing better than cuddling a squishy little body, especially if you get a big toothless smile back. Everything stressful melts away. I realize not everyone has access to a baby, but maybe I could talk my daughter into some sort of rental agreement? I have some stress relief available in my office, too – I have lots of bubble wrap!

We are united in recommending petting a dog or cat for stress relief, and as usual we will have therapy dogs in the Library during exam week. Check our library website for the schedule.

November: Fly by the Library

Fly by the library this month and check out our display of aviation books. We won’t tell you to buzz off! We’ve got over 300 books on all aspects of flight technology, and children’s books too. Books are just the tip of our resources, which include access to 100 journals presenting and analyzing the latest in motor and aircraft designs, fluid dynamics, atmospheric experiments, and so forth. Search in our databases using the subject phrase “Aerospace sciences” or key words Astronautics or Aircraft.

November is National Aviation History Month, designated to celebrate the many accomplishments of our nation in these fields. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s online exhibits are a rich resource. Currently posted are stunning photographs of the moon, along with collections highlighting how aeronautics changed our lives – and our minds.

If you search the library’s Indiana Memory database using the key word aviation, you will find that many pioneering aviators and aviation technologies were born in Indiana. Our Aviation Technology and Aviation Maintenance Technology programs will no doubt be hatching more!

Speaking of high-flyers, this month’s staff profile is our full-time Librarian Liz Metz.

What do you do at the Library?
I have been the Full-time Librarian for almost a year now. My main goal as Librarian is to make the Library accessible to students, faculty, and staff. I do this by helping people who visit the Library, creating guides for Library resources, and teaching classes about how to use the Library. I am responsible for collection and resource development for the School of Information Technology and the School of Arts, Sciences, and Education. I am also the cataloger here at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, which means I get all of the new books in the computer so that they can be searched for and checked out.

How did you gain your expertise?
I completed my BS at Purdue University, focusing on Elementary Education. When I graduated in 2009, I ended up working two part-time positions in the same elementary school – one in the Library, and one as a Title I instructor. At the end of the school year, the funding for the Title I program was cut, and I was on the search for a new job – which is how I got my start here at Ivy Tech! I started as a circulation aide and between the two positions, I realized I really enjoyed working in a library, and I started working on my MLS online through IUPUI. Luck was with me, because shortly after I completed my MLS, the part-time librarian positon opened up. That position eventually turned into the full-time position I’m in now!

What is unique about you that could be of service to the Ivy Tech community?
My Elementary Education background has been beneficial when students come looking for children’s books – I can almost always find one that works. I’m also fascinated by tech and computers, and while I’m not an expert, I can usually figure out solutions to the problems students bring in.

What is your favorite thing to do outside the Library?
My husband and I are both gamers, and we really enjoy playing together. Right now I’m working my way through a re-play of the Kingdom Hearts games in anticipation of the tentative 2018 release date of a new game! I also have a bit of a zoo at home, and love snuggling with my four cats and 6-month-old German Shepherd, who I hope to train as a therapy dog.

What is a favorite book you would recommend?
When I’m looking for something fun to read, one author I always enjoy is Neil Gaiman. I love how he usually mixes in a little mythology to his writing, and presents a mixture of fantasy and suspense. I got to meet him a few years ago when he was on his signing tour for The Ocean at the End of the Lane and was extremely excited to have him sign my copy of Sandman Volume I.

What is a favorite website you would recommend?
I love puzzles and brain teasers, so I spend a lot of time on Conceptis Puzzles ( Many of the puzzles need to be purchased, but they publish a new free puzzle in each category every Friday, and some of the categories are available as apps with even more free puzzles.

Don’t forget to check out our list of new releases – they are all fiction this month.

Celebrate October

October feels like a month of holidays! This year October encompasses Sukkot, Diwali, and Samhain/Hallowe’en among others. We have cookbooks with recipes for these holidays, and children’s books about them too. Come on in and browse!

As the leaves fall, you can use the online TreeFinder to identify the tree species they are from. And of course you can find many uses for colorful leaves, and leaf-themed designs, in our Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center.

Don’t forget to observe All Hallows Read by giving someone you love a scary book that they would like. Our new favorite for children is I Want to Be in a Scary Story. Check it out!

Other new books received this month include:
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies, by Jason Fagone.
George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl, the acclaimed debut novel by NPR books commentator.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a young adult novel of which Kirkus Reviews says: “This story is necessary. This story is important.”
Sleeping Beauties, another novel with topical overtones, from horror master Steven King and his son Owen King.

Meet Your Library Staff
There is no better illustration of talent hiding behind a job description than Library Director Nicole Treesh. (That’s her on the left)

What do you do at the Library?
I have been the Library Director for almost a year.  The synopsis of what I do is oversee the Fort Wayne, Wabash, and now Warsaw library services, resources, and staff while supporting the mission and goals of the College particularly related to student success.  I can’t do what I do without the amazing staff on my team.  I represent the library on several committees and consortia including the Statewide Library Director’s Committee, our Regional Academic Affairs Team, and the Regional Extended Cabinet.
I develop, manage, and evaluate the library budgets, the library collections, and our online resources.  My brain is always working, thinking, and learning about trends in information technology, library services, and community college completion and retention.  I’m always striving to tell the story of the library and our mission to serve the students, faculty, and staff in more ways than just offering books and resources.

How did you gain your expertise?
I have a BS in Counseling and worked several years in community mental health organizations.  My passion for wanting to help people overcome adversity and obtain their goals in life started when I was in elementary school.  I’ve also always loved libraries, books, and technology.  I got a part time job at a library and quickly realized that my passions for helping people and information technology go hand in hand.  I decided to get my MLS and started pursuing full time library jobs.  I spent a couple years working in secondary schools in both IT, media centers, and as a Computer Programming Teacher.  My first MLS job was as a librarian here at Ivy Tech!  Soon after I started, the library director resigned and I became interim director until hired officially in November 2016.  My library career path isn’t traditional and certainly moved rapidly, but I couldn’t be happier or feel more blessed.

What is unique about you that could be of service to the Ivy Tech Community?
I believe that my background in mental health is invaluable, but also my personal experience with mental illness particularly as it relates to suicide prevention and awareness having lost my dad to suicide when I was just 17.  I’m compassionate and empathetic, can relate to the struggles of many of our students, and have the strength to move mountains for our students to succeed.

What is your favorite thing to do outside the Library?
I should say reading, right?  But truthfully, I’m a Netflix addict.  I love gardening, spending time with my husband, my kitty Maggie, and family.  I also dance obnoxiously to Kelly Clarkson 24/7 who I’ve seen 4 times in concert.

What books would you recommend to readers?
The Watersong series by Amanda Hocking who is a terrific YA author, I also have loved anything by Jandy Nelson, Jodi Picoult, or Ellen DeGeneres who is my favorite person/philanthropist.

What website do you recommend just for fun?
Everyone needs a account!

Spotlight on the Library Staff

What do you do at the library? I assist students at the Circulation Desk by answering basic computer and research questions, locating and checking out library materials, and helping with anything else they may need.  I also help our Materials Clerk by processing the new Baker & Taylor fiction books.  B&T books are a leased collection, ensuring that we have the newest popular fiction available to students and staff.  We receive new books every month by authors such as James Patterson, Sue Monk Kidd, John Grisham, Danielle Steel, J. D. Robb, Janet Evanovich, and manymore.  You can search the B&T collection by visiting our blog:
I am also working on revamping our puppet collection.  We have over 400 puppets, finger puppets, and stuffed animals in our collection, several of which correspond to books that we have in the children’s section.  Our puppets are often checked out by Early Childhood Education students, but they can be checked out by all students and staff.  Look for an updated blog showcasing our puppet collection, coming soon!  In the meantime, you can search our puppets here:

Where does your expertise come from? I have my BA in English Literature from Indiana University.  I have also worked in public libraries in Bloomington as well as here in Fort Wayne.  I am very familiar with how libraries operate because I love visiting libraries and I do so very often!
What is unique about you that could be of service to the Ivy Tech community?  I graduated in December from Ivy Tech with a degree in nursing, so I know what it’s like to be a student at Ivy Tech.  I’m able to answer questions about Blackboard, Campus Connect, and even questions specific to nursing school.  I have the student and staff perspective, which has come in handy when helping students in the library.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside the library? I love spending time with my friends and family.  I also enjoy reading, watching movies, and going to shows and events around Fort Wayne.
Recommend a book to us that you enjoyed. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey.  I’m sure it would be a great read, but I actually recommend listening to the audiobook.  It’s read by Tina Fey (bonus!) and it’s hilarious, smart, and relatable. (We have it in our collection, too! Call #: B FEY)
Share a website: For life’s tough questions: