Tag Archives: Retirement

Professor Kris Kern Retires


Professor Kern teaching research skills to students, spring 2017

Professor Kris Kern, Fine and Performing Arts Librarian at Portland State University Library, is retiring after over 40 years of service.

Kris Kern began her library career before she even knew she wanted to be a librarian. The library at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor was hiring for a cataloger to work with Middle Eastern materials. As a student majoring in Arabic, Kris was the perfect candidate for the position. Working at the library as a student worker would also help her in her studies, and pave the way for a new career. She graduated with a degree in Arabic in 1972 and continued to blend her background in Arabic with libraries.

She moved back home and attended Portland State University. At PSU, she worked as a lecturer teaching English as a Second Language, and also as a cataloger at the library working with Middle Eastern materials. While juggling two jobs on campus, Kris continued on in her education at Portland State. Professor Kern received a certificate for Teaching English as a Second Language in 1975. In 1982 she received a Master’s degree in Speech Communication in 1982.

Professor Kern’s role at PSU Library continued to evolve as time passed. She received her Master’s degree in Library Science in 1997, shortly before becoming the Preservation and Cataloging Librarian. Kris served as Head of the Preservation Unit while she continued to work with Middle Eastern materials and cataloging. She also worked in preservation, a vital side of maintaining all of the information inside a library. Kris developed workflows to ensure the continued preservation and safety of the millions of items within PSU Library.

In 2009, she began working as the Fine and Performing Arts Librarian, where she taught research instruction and provided support for people studying the arts. In addition to teaching and research support, she continued to support Middle Eastern studies researchers as well as preservation at the library throughout the rest of her career. Throughout her career, Professor Kern took on multiple responsibilities in growing and preserving the library’s collection and teaching.

Professor Kern is looking forward to traveling with her husband and enjoying time with her family in Portland.

Assistant University Librarian Claudia Irla Retires


Claudia Irla, Assistant University Librarian (AUL) for Public Services and Government Information Librarian, is retiring after 16 years of service at Portland State University Library.

Before she started at PSU Library, Professor Irla studied Russian language at University of Maryland. She used her language background to catalog Russian materials at the National Agricultural Library beginning in 1978. As she moved up in her career at the National Agricultural Library, Professor Irla pursued her Master’s degree in Library Sciences.

At the National Agricultural Library, she held various positions including Slavic Cataloger, Assistant to the Associate Director for Technical Services, and the Head of the Information and Management Branch. This led to memorable experiences, such as training librarians in Latvia and participating in the development of the Egyptian National Agricultural Library. After several decades working for the National Agriculture Library, Professor Irla decided it was time to move on in her career and be closer to her family in Oregon in 2001.

Professor Irla embraced the energy and excitement of working in an urban campus. During her tenure at PSU, she served as the Library’s AUL for Technical Services, Government Information Coordinator, Reference Coordinator, and the AUL for Public Services. While on sabbatical in 2011, she toured libraries in Uzbekistan and presented on various library-related topics. Professor Irla has seen many changes over time and led the Library’s efforts in a number of them.

Professor Irla is looking forward to helping family at their organic ranch and orchard in Sweet Home, and traveling to spend more time with her children, grandchildren, and her mother.

Head of Acquisitions Mary Ellen Kenreich Retires


Mary Ellen Kenreich, Head of Acquisitions at Portland State University Library, is retiring after 25 years of service.

Professor Kenreich worked at several libraries across country. One of her first jobs was at Tennessee Technological University, where she began working with purchasing and processing periodicals. Her career began during a time of fundamental change in libraries. Libraries were moving from card catalogs to online catalogs, and computers were automating repetitive tasks that had previously been done by hand. Kenreich’s early career was built around continually improving library purchasing and processing, something she was ready to continue doing when she began at PSU.

After she joined PSU Library in 1992, Professor Kenreich led efforts to streamline behind-the-scenes work done by library staff. She also made practical improvements such as consolidating vendors, as well as moving the barcodes so that the books are easier for library staff to check out to patrons. Additionally, she helped guide PSU Library during the transition to make more electronic resources available for patrons. With her improvements, the library moved from purchasing books, journals and electronic resources when they were needed, rather than ‘just in case.’ In addition to spending money more wisely, these changes ultimately make it easier for students, faculty and staff at PSU to find the items they need.

Professor Kenreich’s goal has always been to make sure PSU Library patrons have easy access to print and electronic resources at the Library. According to Kenreich, “the best thing that could happen is someone comes in and immediately finds what they need on the computer and shelves.”

Professor Kenreich is looking forward to enjoying her retirement. Her plans include traveling, birding, gardening, cooking, volunteering, and of course, reading.