Lisa Rives Collens Named Next Director to Serve Schlow Library

Headshot of Lisa Rives Collens

Collens Succeeds Catherine Alloway, Who Retires April 2

After an extensive national search, Lisa Rives Collens has been named the next director of Schlow Centre Region Library, located in State College, PA. 

Collens succeeds Catherine Alloway, who will retire April 2 after 50 years of dedicated, visionary service to the library profession, the last 10 years at Schlow Library. An agency of the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG), Schlow serves the nearly 97,000 residents of State College Borough and College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton Townships.

The Schlow Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved Collens’ appointment last week, and the COG General Forum confirmed the appointment at its Feb. 22 meeting.

“As someone who is deeply passionate about her work and the library, Lisa will be a tremendous ambassador for Schlow,” said Casey McClain, president of the Schlow Library Board of Trustees. “With challenging times ahead--be it from reopening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a necessary capital campaign, dealing with a now 16-year-old building, and more--Lisa is the best person to guide us through these times.”

Currently Schlow Library’s Head of Patron Services who has also served as acting director, Collens joined the library in 2008 as District Consultant Librarian for the Central Pennsylvania Library District. Previously, she was head technical services librarian and computer systems administrator as well as co-interim director for the Centre County Library & Historical Museum. Earlier in her career, Collens held positions with Penn State University Libraries and was a program specialist with The Great Lakes Commission in Ann Arbor, MI.

Collens earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master of library and information science degree from Wayne State University, Detroit.

As Schlow Library’s director, Collens will manage all phases of library operations in accordance with the goals, policies and budgetary decisions of the library board and as governed by state law. She reports to the nine-member Board of Trustees, to the COG executive director and to the 32 elected officials of the COG General Forum. Collens will oversee a staff of 51, approximately 100 volunteers, and an annual $2.5 million budget.

“I see daily the positive impact of Schlow Centre Region Library across all segments of our community and am excited to continue our legacy of service and innovation,” Collens said.  

The director also works with the Schlow Library Foundation; serves as the District Administrator for the Central PA Library District; and serves as a co-administrator for the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries, in collaboration with the executive director of the Centre County Library & Historical Museum.

Among her many statewide and community leadership roles, Collens has served as president of the Pennsylvania Integrated Library Service Board of Trustees; been a member of the Legislative and Nominations & Election committees of the Pennsylvania Library Association; served on the Pennsylvania Office of Commonwealth Libraries’ Optimization Task Force; and is an alumna of Leadership Centre County. She is troop leader of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

“Through the course of her tenure thus far at Schlow, Lisa has demonstrated the necessary acumen to be a highly respected and award-winning librarian,” McClain added. “Her servant leadership style will best serve Schlow, as it fosters empowerment and appreciation among the staff and volunteers. The board is excited to work with her to map and support a vision of forward thinking that best serves our patrons.” 


About Schlow Centre Region Library

Schlow Library’s mission is to serve as “The Centre of Reading and Learning” in the region. An agency of the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG), Schlow serves the nearly 97,000 residents of State College Borough and College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton Townships.

All Centre Region residents can use Schlow with free library cards available from any public library in the county. Patrons have access to a popular collection of more than 175,000 books, audiobooks and other media available at Schlow or online. Staff serve patrons more than 1 million times a year through visits, checkouts, programs and many other services.

During normal operations, Schlow Centre Region Library is one of the most widely-used public buildings in the Centre Region. On average, 800 patrons per day visit the 38,000-square-foot library space, which is located in the heart of downtown State College Borough and adjacent to the University Park campus of Penn State, a world-class research university.

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Posted 2/22/2021