Hunter and Riehman-Murphy receive ACRL CLS Innovation in College Librarianship Award

For Immediate Release
Fri, 02/17/2017


Chase Ollis

Program Coordinator


CHICAGO – Jennifer Hunter and Christina Riehman-Murphy, reference and instruction librarians at Penn State-Abington, have been named the 2017 recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) College Libraries Section (CLS) Innovation in College Librarianship Award for their work on the Research Parties and TED Talk as Research Inspiration programs.

This annual award honors ALA members who have demonstrated a capacity for innovation in their work with undergraduates, instructors and/or the library community.

Their $1,000 award and plaque, donated by CLS, will be presented during a CLS event at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

“The project was chosen because it represented a new model of instruction composed of two programs: Research Parties and TED Talk as Research Inspiration,” said award chair Leah Dunn, university librarian at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. “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. Like the 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, and the librarians facilitate a discussion about the talk’s themes, and 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.

Hunter received her M.L.I.S. from Rutgers University and her M.A. in English Literature from Rutgers University-Camden. Riehman-Murphy received her M.S.L.S. from Clarion University.

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


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing nearly 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.