Campus Closeup: Krista Clumpner

Krista Clumpner’s first library job was in 5th grade and served the ulterior motive of getting her out of a reading class that wasn’t advancing quickly enough to keep pace with her comprehension level.  Motivated by boredom, she and another top student jumped at an opportunity to volunteer in the school library in lieu of attending class.

“My elementary school had a fantastic library,” said Clumpner, who grew up in Shawano, Wis. “It was a bizarre environment with taxidermied animals scattered around. The librarian had bright red, curly hair and some live parakeets that were on site with her. We learned the Dewey Decimal System, reshelved materials that had been returned and made sure the books on the shelves were in proper order.”

The experience helped guide her future career path. Clumpner earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s in library science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also met a “Yooper” whom she would later marry. After a few jobs in the Midwest and lower Michigan, she was hired by NMU in 1991 and found it to be the ideal fit. Clumpner is head of technical services and systems at Olson Library. She oversees the area that keeps the online catalog up and running. Her staff also purchases, catalogs and repairs materials housed in the facility.

“We’re moving much more toward the online and away from the physical. That makes sense for us. Students want things available to them electronically wherever they are, particularly for courses that have online components. There will always be some physical materials available, but it’s hard to tell how an academic library will compare with a public library down the road. As a user interested in recreational reading, I want hard copies I can hold in my hand and page through. But If I’m looking for a journal article, electronic is much easier. I think it will be a mix for awhile.”  

All NMU librarians serve as liaisons to academic departments, paying attention to program changes and helping them select materials to meet their needs. Clumpner advises Art and Design, Modern Languages and Literatures and Communication and Performance Studies. 

Clumpner’s office in the Learning Resources Center contains visible evidence of one of her favorite hobbies, watercolor painting (a sample of her work is pictured behind her). She took her first lessons from one of the best: Nita Engle. Clumpner owned a couple of prints by the respected local artist and had seen some of her originals. She attended a three-day workshop led by Engle as a gift from her husband, Jim, a professional glass blower.

“I appreciated art, but knew nothing about painting and was a little worried I’d be wasting her time. It turned out it wasn’t a problem. All skill levels were represented, from beginner to intermediate to advanced. It was fantastic to have someone with her talent give tips and critique your work. I still have the desire to paint, but not always the time.”

That could be attributed to her involvement in other community activities. Clumpner participated in her first Relay for Life weekend walk about five years ago and was inspired to continue as a volunteer.

This year’s event will take on added significance. Marquette County has been selected by the American Cancer Society for a Cancer Prevention Study- 3. The goal is to recruit men and women ages 30-65 who’ve never been diagnosed with the disease and are willing to make a long-term commitment involving periodic follow-up surveys at home. The information gleaned from the study will offer valuable insight into lifestyle, genetic and environment influences, with the ultimate goal of eliminating cancer as a major health problem.

“There will be a booth to sign up for the study at the Relay for Life on Saturday, June 16, at Al Quaal in Ishpeming,” said Clumpner. “It will be open during the late afternoon and evening hours so participants can complete a questionnaire and have blood drawn. It’s a long-term study, but there is little time commitment required. We’re excited Marquette County can contribute to this important effort to better understand cancer. Those unable to attend who want to participate can contact organizer Kathy Olivier."

Clumpner’s other interests include representing NMU as a member of the American Association of University Women, knitting with a small group that meets at noon Tuesdays in Olson Library, hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiing and—of course—reading.

She and Jim traveled over the holiday break to the Czech Republic, where daughter Ellisa, an NMU graduate, is teaching English as a Second Language. Their son, Joseph, is a junior English major at Northern.



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Updated: May 4, 2012

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