As the old adage goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Here is a primary example! When I was heading out of work yesterday, I glanced over at our free book shelf by the door and noticed one titled “Books and Printing: A Treasury for Typophiles,” published in 1963. This is an edited volume of essays on the history and development of books, typography, and printing. I honestly don’t know how much (if any) of it I will read, but something like the intrinsic value of a book on books and type prompted me to rescue this lonely volume from the free shelf.
When not messing around with books I love to photograph whatever catches my eye. In fact, the photo background here on my blog is my own work! My love of photography really began in June 2009 when I took a summer, graduate history class to D.C. studying American memory and history. Part of the course was to document what we saw in photos for use in our course paper. This turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the course as I got inspired by the impressive architecture and beauty of D.C. It also helped that my pictures impressed a few classmates, which encourage me to keep shooting. I really had no idea what I was doing technically, but that didn’t stop me. One thing led to another and now two years later I am about to have my second show! From September 1-30th, I will have 15 pieces on display at a local coffee shop. I’m very excited to put them up and see my work publicly displayed in a heavily trafficked business!
I’ll close this post with a few lessons I’ve learned about being a photographer:
1) Don’t get caught up in having the “best” body, lenses, bag, tripod, or any other gear you can waste money on – I have seen (and taken) great shots with point and shoot and seen bad shots taken with cameras costing thousands of dollars. The photographer is only as good as his/her eye and imagination.
2) Photography is about having fun and being creative. Experiment! Even the most mundane object can be photographed in a unique and interesting way.
3) Lastly, just keep shooting! Don’t lose courage if your photos don’t always come out as you want them to. Use that as motivation to keep at it!
This link will take you to a flickr album posted by the University of Maryland library in the wake of the quake that happened here on the East coast on the 23rd. I am quite thankful that this did not happen where I work, but it is a reminder of how libraries need to be prepared for potential disasters. Fortunately books tumbling off shelves is not as big a disaster as the floors collapsing, for example, but it nonetheless requires a response.
A coworker of mine posted this link to her facebook page and I found it blog worthy. What I find most impressive about this piece is that it exposes how important collections of books and other media are to some of the word’s most notable celebrities. I do not recall libraries being featured on MTV’s Cribs, but these pictures suggest that libraries get just as much attention in the homes of celebrities as their pools or garages. By association, this elevates these rooms to a symbol of status while simultaneously recognizing the importance of literature and art to the identity and success of the celebrities themselves.
As a librarian/archivist/nerd, these private collections make me drool a little. And I am sure the same is true for many others in my profession. But what is even more fascinating is that these rooms were not created to be shown off to me or any other librarian or archivist – these are instead built for a specific purpose and utility in the show piece that is the mansion.
I also cannot help but dream that the attention given to these private libraries makes a case for aesthetic of the traditional library in the face of digital media. As institutional libraries lose space and become increasingly online repositories, I hope that the public comes to realize the importance of the library as an institution.
I have decided to go back to graduate school and pursue one of two masters degrees – either Library Science or Community College Teaching/Adult Education. While they appear quite different, my reasons for each are much closer together. Library science is the obvious continuation of my current career trajectory. I already have a masters in public history with a concentration in archives and records management. My background in history plus archives knowledge and experience qualify me to be a reference librarian in a university special collections – all I need are those three letters added to my name to keep my application from being tossed immediately in the shredder I’ve decided I would enjoy working as a reference librarian in a special collections library because it would allow me to interact with both historical records and patrons. Plus there is the thrill of the hunt for an obscure record!
Community college teaching is another career that fuses my love of history and commitment to sharing that love with others. There is the added benefit of not having the “publish or perish” mantra echoing around in your head Added to that are the benefits of being on an academic schedule and being a state employee. Also not having to work a strict 8-5, M-F schedule allows for greater freedom to get work done. Finally, teaching is a job I could really commit myself to and feel good about at the end of the day. The little bit of TAing I did in grad school showed me how much I care about helping students learn history.
Where this leaves me is looking at schools for each program and figuring out the best fit. Ultimately it will come down to cost and location as the deciding factors to each school. But how will I decide which program? That’s the question…
Here goes! I’m new to this blog thing so bear with me This blog is intended to be self-reflexive about my profession – where I’ve been, where I am, and what lies in the future. A good friend and fellow future archivist commented in her blog about web-presence and this is my attempt to create just that. I hope, too, that this will be interactive.