Well, it's January! I've had a bit of a motivation block for writing on the blog. Mostly, I think it's because Phillip was here and I was trying to maximize the time we got to spend together. Plus, there were some holiday travels and a break from work. So, here I am halfway through January and I haven't posted a real update since November! Well, here goes...
First, the spider war continues! As one would imagine, the fighting has died down a little since the weather has turned cold but I still had to use Spiderbane (my boot) to eliminate an enemy combatant while Phillip and I were putting up curtains in the bedroom. I hope that will be the last incursion before spring. 🕷+👢= I win!
I met with a group of residents from other institutions to create a proposal for a panel discussion at the upcoming Diversity in Libraries Conference. This conference is happening in Los Angeles in June. Our group of potential panelists includes me and residents from American University, The Ohio State University, University of Utah, and Towson University. Hopefully, our proposal will be approved and we will head to UCLA this summer to talk about the meaning of diversity in residency positions like ours. I also hear I've been submitted as a panelist on another panel proposal. Not sure what the exact topic of that panel is but I'll be at the conference, so I can join the panel if it's approved.
A group of us from the library submitted a proposal to host the exhibit Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness. This exhibit was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine and is being toured by the American Library Association's Public Programs Office. We completed an application and were selected as one of only two sites in Virginia to host the exhibit. We will have the exhibit in September and are planning lots of programs to coincide with its visit.
I also took over working on a grant that the library received last year. The previous head of the grant moved on to another opportunity and the grant fit in with the diversity work I'm doing. So, I'm coordinating the remaining programs with the help of a great team! The grant is Latino Americans: 500 Years of History. It is a public programming initiative produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association's Public Programs Office. The grant focuses on a PBS documentary series Latino Americans. We've already had some great programming around this and more will be coming this spring!
Collections and Technical Services
I've continued working with CTS over the past few months. Processing the incoming activations for eBooks has become routine. It's nice to have something simple that I can start and finish each day! In addition to the routine stuff, the Albatross is built and data is being loaded. Albatross is what we've been calling the database I designed. Of course, this name derives from the challenge represented by our task. What we want to accomplish with the database is difficult to achieve. Hopefully, we're able to bear our albatross well.
In November, I started looking at ArtStor's Shared Shelf with some others. We were working to determine whether it's a product the library should have and what we would use it for. After reviewing its capabilities, I was impressed with how smoothly it supports common functions for image hosting and metadata management. We ultimately decided to get the product. I may get a chance to work with it this semester to move some image collections out of an older tool.
In Special Collections, I have a lot of things I can point to now! I've been processing some smaller collections while I wait for a computer to be hooked up where I can work on a larger one. Those smaller collections now have finding aids and are searchable on the Virginia Heritage site. There were some interesting collections I worked with. I transcribed a letter from the American Civil War (eventually it will be online with my transcription), described some Christmas card designs by Elizabeth Wright Ingraham (granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright) and her husband, and processed a collection of recruiting materials from the American Nazi Party. While working with the materials wasn't always pleasant (the Nazi party materials were a bit disturbing), it was always interesting.
In December, I visited the alumni center with some colleagues from Special Collections. We were invited there to consult on updating their museum exhibits to incorporate more diversity. The project will commence this semester and might last into the summer. While we were touring, I thought of some basic changes that we should consider when revamping. Mainly, the exhibits are currently organized to represent the history of our institution. While that is important, the main function of this museum is as a tool for development and it needs to reflect more of the university history from the time when potential donors attended. So, we'll be working on updating for both diversity and development.
Well, that's it for this update. I'll return in February but watch for a post from me on the Virginia Tech Special Collections blog soon. I'll be writing about the pulp sci-fi magazines held by Special Collections.
I'm the Community Collections Archivist, Community and Cultural Centers Librarian & Resident Librarian at Virginia Tech.