University Libraries holds Olympics



Tony Snyder, inner library loans employee, serves the ball to Mary Lovin during the Kent State Office Olympics in the “Wimbledon Ping Pong” game. Office employees played ping pong with hardcover library books Tuesday, July 17. Photo by Philip Botta.

Erin Vanjo

This July, the University Library’s faculty and staff have been competing for their very own Olympic gold. University Libraries hosted its fifth annual Office Olympiad beginning on July 16. Staff and student employees of University Libraries competed in various events throughout the seven days of games.

“The Office Olympics are always a lot of fun,” said Anita Miller, University Libraries accounts payable specialist. “It’s a chance to do some fun — and sometimes silly — things with colleagues.”

All the events this year adhered to a theme of London, to coincide with this year’s Olympic Games in London. There were 16 events in total, which included the “Abbey Road Cross Walk,” “Crumpet Crawl” and “Great Tower of London Race.” Many of the events utilized various office supplies like rubber bands and paper clips.

Some of the events were individual, and others were done in groups. Most of the games only took one day, but the “Wimbledon Ping Pong Tournament” continued longer than expected.

“My favorite game so far has been the ping pong tournament,” said Mathias Peralta, a multimedia consultant at the Student Multimedia Studio. “I didn’t expect such fierce competition. The paddles were just books, and I was fortunate to take bronze; there were some good competitors.”

Many participants had their eyes set on winning a medal, even if it was constructed from cardboard.

“I’m not going to lie: It feels great,” said Miller, who placed first in a word challenge, second in a shelving test and second in a book relay.

Apart from the competition, the games give University Libraries employees the chance to meet the people who work in other library departments that they don’t normally interact with.

“I’ve met a lot of people who work in various departments of the library who I otherwise would not have met, so I am glad that I chose to compete,” Peralta said.

There is also a camaraderie that builds between colleagues through participating in the games.

“We’re always cheering each other on,” Miller said.

University Libraries began holding its Office Olympics in 1996 and has continued holding the event every four years since then.

“Even though the first Olympiad was 16 years ago, not much has changed,” said Barbara Schloman, University Libraries associate dean. “The format of the games is pretty well established. Once the events and schedule are set, things more or less run themselves.”

This year’s Olympics concluded on July 24 with a closing ceremony and a “Book Cart Drill Team Exhibition.”

“In 2008, the show brought the roof down,” Schloman said.

The games took place from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. each day of competition in various locations in and around the University Library.

Contact Erin Vanjo at

[email protected].