An Ode to Owen by Library Staff

OandEOwen Hansen has been an integral part of the library’s public services staff for over seven years. During his time at the library he has constantly and consistently put the needs of the library’s patrons first. His tireless advocacy is awe-inspiring. Almost as awe-inspiring is his love of mimes, skill at devising analogies involving chickens, and ability to identify plants based on a photo.

Owen will be leaving the library this Tuesday for the last time as a member of the library staff. To say goodbye in true library fashion AND become the #1 result listed by Google when searching for “Owen Hansen” (he’s got a job, what does he care about his SEO?) we’ve collected some anecdotes and well wishes…

“I recall fondly h1401691_10152692785936529_4236408819651341458_oaving Owen as a student. He was always asking the ‘why’ question, a guy after my own heart! Inevitably, this led to some amazingly intellectual discussions. I could feel the energy of the class alter, more people asked questions, and challenged assumptions. It was a terrific class. I was so pleased when Owen became a student worker, and then an employee. I think he’s a fabulous asset to Metro, in whatever capacity he serves. We are lucky to still have him with Metro!”

– Ruth Zietlow

“I’m very sad Owen and I will not get to finish any of our pending projects:

  1. Make a sequence that is very hard to solve (something like the Fibonacci sequence, but hard)
  2. Make an app that allows navigation throughout the campus.
  3. Make a hot chocolate stand business
  4. Make a comedy show about my dad in his stationary store.
  5. Solve the millenium problems and win (at least) 1 million dollars.”

– Elvin Widjaja


“It is hard for me to imagine the library without Owen! His dedication to our students and community borrowers has been tremendous. I’m sure others will speak to this, but his intelligence, kindness, and thoroughness in the way he approaches library patrons puts him in a class of his own. He never let up in his desire to figure out what our patrons really wanted and needed, and he was especially attuned to the needs of those who struggled with technology and access to computers.

Beyond that though, Owen is just a cool, weird guy, and I’ll really miss working with him. In recent years he’s become a father to three boys, and the combination of his philosophy degree and his 6 years of sleep deprivation has led to some pretty awesome, somewhat meandering conversations, especially when he and I both worked late at night. On one occasion, I wandered over to the ICS desk and suddenly noted with shock: “Owen, you’ve gotten old! Owen, I’ve gotten old! We’re turning into old coworkers together!” Owen laughed and then we talked for a spell about juggling work and family, enjoying life with little boys, and how interesting it was to think about just how often coworkers interact from day to day. So much so that you barely notice when they go from being a student worker, to an integral staff member, to a father of three, to your “old” coworker. (Co-old worker?) How does it happen?

Owen, best of luck at COL, they are incredibly lucky to have you.  And I’m grateful that you will still be at Metro, making it a better place for all of our students. If you need to philosophize about random things in the evening, you know where to find me.”

– Jennifer DeJonghe

“Owen is one of the most sincere and caring people I have had the honor to work with. I have always seen him paying the utmost respect to all of our customers while at the same time exhibiting the “patience of Job” with the most challenging. I will always remember Owen saying at a meeting, he tries to imagine the customer as “his” child who he is trying to help as a father does. I will miss Owen’s ideas, sense of humor, and unwavering commitment to social justice.

P.S. Of course, I would expect Owen to question the real meaning or intent of every word I just said ;-)”

– Chris Schafer

DSC_0100Every workplace needs someone (or many someones) like Owen.  He is thoughtful, committed to helping all users, and is willing to find a way to meet their needs.  But beyond this, he is fully present. He listens closely and respects all requests.  For years, I have come to rely on Owen to articulate where library services are meeting needs and where they can be improved. He is uncompromising in his commitment, which is something I respect deeply about him. I first met Owen when he was a student worker. At one point he interviewed me about small press publishing for a class he was taking. It was the start of a conversation about poetry and many other things that has been going on for years. I admire Owen’s intentional approach to all he does in his personal and professional life. He maintains integrity while keeping a sense of humor.  He is supportive, and encouraging.  I’m glad that he will still be at the university, and happy that online students and instructors will be gaining an incredible ally. Owen, I will miss your wit, sharing stories about what it is like to raise sons (I think we agree that it is fun and somewhat surreal), and your insights. Thank you for doing so much to improve the library for everyone.  I wish you the very best.”

– Michelle Filkins

“A favorite theme from working with Owen over the past two years has been working toward the same purpose but using completely different language to communicate. He gets frustrated with me for speaking “cataloger,” and I get frustrated with him for throwing out a bunch of ALEPH-related jargon that I don’t understand (and for taking a really long time to explain anything). But we’ve always been able to get through the differences in terminology and fix whatever was broken, and I definitely couldn’t have done much of what I needed to do without his persistence and his willingness to give things a shot, then clean up any messes we made in the process.”

– Samantha Klein


“There is something about Owen that encourages people to ask him questions. ‘Can you help me format my paper? Why won’t my document open? How would a chicken message delivery system work? What plant has three leaves and is a vine? Does the fact that I put super glue in my CD ROM drive have anything to do with the fact that it won’t open?’

The truly amazing thing is that he never makes someone feel silly for asking. He has guided me through the transition from restaurant worker to student worker to paraprofessional and grad student. He used his years in the service industry to help me to comprehend the little changes in my work situation. Things like breaks where you can actually sit down and eat your food, health insurance, and sick days. Things which seem commonplace to someone who’s always worked in a somewhat professional environment, but Owen never made me feel silly asking about them. And when you ask him a question, it’s like you’ve given him a gift. But the real gift for him is a problem to solve. He gets giddy at the prospect of a good puzzle.

Of all the questions I have asked Owen over the years I have valued his responses even when especially when they challenged my own viewpoint. From being my immediate supervisor to being my colleague, I have learned a ton from Owen.

Owen, I wish you many problems to solve, chickens to deliver messages, and plants to identify (I will likely keep providing plant photos for you).”

– Kat Gerwig

What on earth will Owen be doing with his time if he’s not kickin’ it at the library?

He will be continuing to ser11024708_10152568826831529_3067014049985677985_nve the needs of our students in Metro State’s Center for Online Learning.

“The Center for Online Learning has been looking for someone who cares about the student aspect of D2L and online learning for years.  While we all try, Site Admin, Designer, Technologist and Director, we have many, many other tasks that often mean we have less interaction with students that we should.  Owen will be that person, that invaluable COL representative, that will take our services and resources and fit them to better serve our students and faculty from a student-minded, student-centered viewpoint.  COL is very excited to have Owen report for duty as we recognize that we have a lot of needs in this area.

It may seem callous or even underhanded that we would reach out and pluck Owen from the Library but we see a great opportunity to pull our two departments into a more symbiotic relationship.  We also recognize that Owen was perfectly incubated in the library environment to meet this exact need of COL to student interaction.  The Library has been the storefront to student support for COL and I expect, that while Owen will not be in the Library every day, that there will be a greater amount of collaboration between our departments.  I can say with certainty, you haven’t seen the last of Owen.”

– Travis Morgan

We will miss you Owen! But we’ll get through this somehow…

Owen Jr.

Owen Jr. Photo by Belinda Carillo

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