It’s not uncommon to see Ron Barshinger staying well past his workday at the library to help a student find a book in the stacks, or spending his lunch hour assisting a retired professor dig up old articles, or tracking down the day Lent began in the year 1610 for someone who absolutely needs that information, his colleagues say.
Barshinger has worked with hundreds of students since he joined the university library system in 1989. Other Huskies say he goes out of his way to help his staff and customers, even if something is outside of his scripted job duties.
“Ron is more than just the students’ supervisor, though,” said Leanne VandeCreek, associate dean of public services at NIU. “He is their champion, advocate, and a phenomenal source of understanding and support around whatever concerns they are facing in their academic and or personal lives, even going so far as to quietly stock the shelves behind the circulation desk with food to ensure that some of our hard-working, but cash-strapped student workers will not go hungry.”
Barshinger’s colleagues say his cheerfulness, extraordinary commitment to customer service and work ethic more than embody what the university is about and strives to be. Those qualities helped him earn an Operating Staff Outstanding Service Award in 2019.
“He is a kind of campus touchstone, and people throughout NIU know him even if they do not know his name. He is simply a constant presence who embodies service,” VandeCreek said. “He is an example of the best qualities that Northern Illinois University has to offer.”
Barshinger said he is honored by this recognition for a job he loves doing.
"I appreciate the kind words and support of my colleagues," he said.