I just finished giving a presentation for NFAIS on building expanding audiences and empowering community members through unlikely collaborations. The audience, as well as Marcie who was the moderator/cat wrangler/problem solver, were all fantastic and I had a great time chatting with them. I wanted to offer a few highlights from the talk for folks who weren’t able to attend but who are thinking about their own outreach programs.
NB: I focused on rare books since that’s the area I work in, BUT these guidelines could be used for outreach with all sorts of artifacts across many cultural heritage institutions.
Why talk about this? Because outreach is critical for increased access and community empowerment
- Special collections historically very exclusive
- Often limited to those doing research or in academic/special library settings
- Historically excludes those without access to education and other resources
- Often we do not reach beyond these walls, meaning most potential visitors are not aware of what we have to offer.
- Physical access is also an issue (e.g. can someone get to campus? Do they need a certain ID or enrollment/employment status to use your services?)
- Even for those who have access, perceived access may be a totally different matter. Special collections often feel intimidating for the uninitiated, and concerns about whether one has access or what expectations are in a special collections environment can overshadow the desire to engage with collections and programs.
I defended my dissertation on May 29th (the day before my birthday!), and since then it’s been quite the thrill ride over here. I’ve moved to Atlanta and started a job as Rare Books Curator at Kennesaw State University, bought a house, and am doing tons of awesome work (as well as some fun travel). I have a new book in the works (two, actually) that deal with culinary history and Colonial England, exhibits, and lots of other things that I’ll share more detail about later. For now, here’s the link to my dissertation, now that I’ve graduated and it’s gone live. I also just had an article based on my dissertation accepted in Library Quarterly, so that’s great news too! It’s crazy to think it’s been almost a year since I defended (and about 10 months since I ended my panic-inducing job search). I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for me!
In honor of my 100th post on this blog, I’d like to share the announcement I just made about the topic of my second book! I asked readers to vote on one of two topics (early modern English desserts or gardening practices), and I would work on modernizing the one they chose. Well, readers responded, and they chose…
Thanks to everyone who voted–I’m thrilled to start working on it! You can read the full announcement here.
Earlier this year, I posted about the Cat Librarian Calendar I helped put together. Well, now it’s available to sale, and all proceeds go to Project Gutenberg. Pick up your copies here in time for the holidays!
As some of you already know, I’m teaming up with the talented Emily Drabinski to produce a calendar to raise money for Project Gutenberg. We were inspired by the success of Men of the Stacks last year, and thought it might be a cool thing for the library community to get involved with more widely. To that end, we’re asking for photos from folks who are a part of our little niche: people in libraryland who love cats! So, if you’re a library professional and have a photo of you and a cat, send it along to us! We are hoping to make this calendar the best it can be. And spread the word–the more people who know about the calendar, the more money we can raise and the more wonderful pictures we will see!
Learn more about the calendar project on the Cat Librarian 2013 website and Facebook page.
Submit your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1st!
A quick post to share a few exciting things:
My brief article on Modernizing Markham has been published in this issue of the Indiana Food Review. More exciting news about that project to come later.
I’ve joined the circus! Seriously! We have a circus class here, where I’ll get to learn the different performance and rigging activities I could do. I’m hoping I’ll find one I really love so that I can audition for the regular circus and get to perform while I’m here. If you want to check out the FSU Circus, go here.