Tennessee Tech colleagues join librarians statewide in honoring former TTU librarian

Regina Lee_for_Deanna_Nipp-KientzThe life’s work and friendship of Tennessee Tech University librarian Deanna Nipp-Kientz continue to inspire her colleagues one year after her death.

Nipp-Kientz, former coordinator of Collection Management and Development at TTU’s Angelo & Jennette Volpe Library, died June 21, 2012, of cancer.

This spring, the Tennessee Library Association marked her distinguished career with the TLA Honor Award as colleagues at TTU looked to honor her on campus as well.

“Her sense of organization and dedication to the library and to Tenn-Share was her true calling, and her enthusiasm for her work was evident,” said Regina Lee, who nominated Nipp-Kientz for the honor. Lee is head of Government Publications, Maps & Microforms and an engineering reference librarian at TTU.

“Her eagerness to learn – new databases, new and better services, and what others thought about ideas and issues – and her encouragement of others allowed her to make friends easily. Deanna exemplified what it means to be a true professional librarian.”

Lee had worked with Nipp-Kientz since 1993, and though Nipp-Kientz was her supervisor, they were best friends from day one, said Lee.

“She tried to guide me in everything she knew, from understanding unit goals to writing annual reports and chairing search committees.

Deanna Nipp-Kientz“She always encouraged learning, to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone,” Lee said. “She was a very thoughtful person and was considerate of everyone. She really loved all the students and befriended many international students.”

Beyond her dedication to library services, coworkers say Nipp-Kientz’s generosity and compassion for others are what truly defined her.

Their appreciation of her career and character led them to purchase and donate a painting to the library in her honor.

They chose “Rain of Peace,” an acrylic work on canvas by Israeli artist Michal Shimoni. The piece depicts an innocent young girl, surrounded by images of doves.

“That’s Deanna, a peace advocate,” said administrative associate Sharon Buckner. “She was very oriented to public service and students. It was never about her, but about giving to somebody who needed it.”

“Rain of Peace” is on the third floor of the library, at the central stairwell.

Nipp-Kientz had served as a faculty adviser for Students for Human Rights since 2004. She frequently knitted afghans, caps, mittens and other items for the people of Afghanistan, and she collected dove artifacts.

Nipp-Kientz came to Tennessee Tech April 1, 1991. She previously had worked in library services at Rutgers University, Mansfield University and Hofstra University. She had a bachelor’s degree in biology from MacMurray College, a master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Missouri, and a master’s degree in library science from Pratt Institute.

She had worked with Tenn-Share since 1994, primarily managing membership records. Tenn-Share is a statewide consortium that offers group buying power and resources for member libraries.