It's a week since Halloween and I have a giant bowl of post-Halloween discount candy under my Nightmare Before Christmas tree at home. The bowl is filled with various mini-chocolate bars and a few fruit-flavored candies. The biggest problem with a variety of Halloween candy is that I want it all. I just can't choose one. The same could be said of my time as a resident. There are so many options and there's so much to learn and I want to do it all now!
In the last month, I got to see people enjoy an exhibit I worked on, put together a framework for working as a liaison librarian, attended 3 diversity courses and a SafeZone course, went to the Virginia Library Association conference, continued working on things for the Serials and Acquisitions groups, took my first shift on the Special Collections Reference Desk, had my introduction to Archivists Toolkit, and more.
I'm still struggling with the feeling that I'm not getting enough done. It's silly, though. This first year is supposed to be all about me learning about the three areas I've picked. It's like an introductory course. I'm supposed to learn what's there so I can decided where I think I fit. I'm only three months in. It's way too early to be concerned over what I've done or not done. I still have until May to work with both Collections and Technical Services and Special Collections. Then I have the summer to work with Data Curation. All of that comes before I really dig in and get stuff going. That said, there's already a lot going on in my first three months.
Virginia Tech LGBTQ Oral History Project
In October, the project I had spent my initial days in Special Collections working on came to fruition. The online oral histories were indexed. An interactive timeline was created in Omeka by Adrienne, Tamara put together a reception, and Laurel and I curated an exhibit from the archives that was later transferred to display cases for the remainder of the month.
I really enjoyed working on this project. It was amazing to see the amount of content Special Collections had related to this topic even though it wasn't a core area of focus for the department. Since this is an ongoing project, it's likely that more material will be acquired by the department related to LGBTQ history at Virginia Tech and in the surrounding area.
The best part of working on this exhibit was the visitors who came to see it. Many of the visitors were thrilled to see that so much LGBTQ history had been preserved. For an area of cultural history that is often hidden away and is not taught in school, we had a lot of material to show and we were able to illustrate the timeline at Virginia Tech from the beginning through today. The materials we gathered included items from the University Archives, the William J. Heron Collection of Speculative Fiction, the general library collection, and the Art and Architecture library.
Diversity Outreach Liaison Librarian
Continuing the diversity theme, I've continued prep work to be the official Diversity Outreach Librarian at Virginia Tech. For anyone who doesn't know, a liaison librarian is basically a subject librarian. They support the library and research needs of a department. Typically, this role is applied to academic departments like Chemisty, English, Maths, etc.
For my role, I'll be working with the Intercultural Engagement Center (IEC) and the Diversity Development Institute (DDI). The IEC is focused on life at Virginia Tech. They support the diversity student and faculty groups and work to bring diversity-related events to campus. The DDI is run by Human Resources. It provides diversity training for Virginia Tech Faculty, Staff, and student employees. As liaison to these groups, I'll be helping to connect them to library resources to support their educational initiatives.
Virginia Library Association 2015 Annual Conference
This month, I attended the Virginia Library Association 2015 Annual Conference in Richmond, Virginia. For four days, I got to meet and mingle with librarians while learning about various topics.
My trip started with a tour of the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia State Law Library. I was interested to see how many actual print volumes are still used for legal work. With the trend toward electronic resources everywhere, including in law libraries, it was interesting to hear that paper volumes are still essential resources for legal research.
When the conference sessions began, I found myself gravitating toward archives, digital preservation, and diversity sessions.
I attended some great sessions about collaboration between Special Collections and other library departments, privacy and legal issues related to digitization of archival materials, and new trends in digitization and digital collections.
I also learned about how to increase access to relevant materials for LGBTQ patrons, and working to increase diversity and inclusion among those in the library profession. Then I attended a session to discuss the creation of a diversity graphic novel award. Since I'm passionate about diversity and I love graphic novels as a medium for storytelling, I'm planning to work with the awards committee to help implement the award. I may not get to be a judge but I still want to make this award a reality.
Heading into November
Anyway, that's it for this update. Next week, I head to Minneapolis for the LITA (Library Information Technology Association) Forum. Beyond that, there's still tons going on at work and in my committee work. Plus, my brother and niece have birthdays coming up and there's a harvest holiday somewhere in the near future, too. And, as always, the war on spiders continues. I've been attacked by webs walking down the sidewalk and won victories against spiders in my car, living room, and at my desk while writing this post. Hopefully, it will cool down to Winter weather soon and the battles will be less frequent until the snows melt.
I'm the Community Collections Archivist, Community and Cultural Centers Librarian & Resident Librarian at Virginia Tech.