Nice to Meet You: Jeanna Ryner

On any given weekend, Jeanna Ryner, director of library services, can be found watching a live Shakespeare play, brunching with her husband or fixing a jet engine for a military operative plane. Ryner’s dedication to service shines through every aspect of her being, and she is especially eager to lend her knowledge and unique experiences to the students studying in the Jung-Kellogg Library at MBU.

1/ Story Time

When it comes to reading for herself, Ryner finds comfort in the classics. Her shelf of favorites would be filled with century-old books like her favorite, “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. Ryner is currently pursuing her second master’s degree in English literature so she can also teach students from her favorite classics.

2/ Global Eats

Indian curries, Ethiopian injera and spicy lentil dishes give a taste of Ryner’s adventurous palate. Experiences while serving in Qatar or studying abroad in London allowed Ryner to explore ethnic cuisines. Fortunately, a taste of her travels can be enjoyed right in St. Louis without a flight overseas.

3/ Saved by Gracie

Sometimes the furry friends in life gift us with the best moments. With Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as a nearby walking destination, Ryner enjoys relaxing along the banks of the Mississippi River with her rescued Labrador, Gracie.

4/ Fezzywigg’s

There’s something fitting about a librarian sipping a warm cup of tea beside hundreds of books each day. Actually, whether Ryner is sitting at home base in her library office or strolling campus, she’s unlikely to leave behind her mug of tea. Rather than traditional brands, Ryner’s tea cravings are infused with everything from lavender to mint loose-leaf teas. She purchases these treasured teas at a small, locally owned market called Fezzywigg’s located in O’Fallon, Ill.

5/ Jets and Engines

It’s best to not judge a book by its cover. While she may spend her days in the stacks, Ryner has also been a trained jet engine mechanic for the U.S. Air National Guard since 2012. Learning the ins and outs of mechanics from a family friend since she was only 8 years old, Ryner is qualified to ensure that each component of the planes is maintained to the highest standard possible.

6/ All the World’s a Stage

A summer is not complete for Ryner without pitching a blanket on Shakespeare’s Glen in Forest Park and watching a performance of her favorite playwright’s work brought to life. Ryner also frequents the Fabulous Fox Theatre to catch some of Broadway’s finest touring shows.

7/ Firefighter

Before she decided to join the Air Force as a teenager, Ryner was already fulfilling her passion to serve others as a volunteer junior firefighter in her hometown of Madison, Ill. Her emergency medical response and aid continued until 2013, when she began to set her sights on the military and ultimately made her move to St. Louis.


This story was originally featured in MBU Magazine, Summer 2016 edition.