Joe Fennewald joined the Penn State University libraries in 2000 and has served as the head of its Knowledge Commons since that facility opened in January 2012. From his glass-walled office, located in the heart of this popular space, he has developed an unrivalled knowledge of how students are using these commons. He is working now with several collaborators to extend that knowledge in a systematic study of the impact of this informal learning space on student academic success.
Joe has published in leading library journals and regularly presents at regional, national and international conferences. He is a member of the ALA, ACRL and PA Library Association; he served as president of the last in 2009. In the fall of 2007 he visited academic libraries in Tianjin, China while on sabbatical leave that academic year. In 2009-10 he was a Penn State Fellow in the Academic Leadership Program of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation. He holds an MLS from the University of Missouri.