What is your current job?
I work for the Alaska State Library, Archives & Museum as a Librarian/Archivist.
Why did you choose this profession?
I chose this profession because of a revelation I had sophomore year during a Bryn Mawr history class during which we used the Bryn Mawr Special Collections. The first day we visited the Special Collections the staff put a few items on a table to introduce us to "what a Special Collections Library does." I saw a stack of Original Charles Dickens manuscripts on the table and thought, "I want to work with old books for the rest of my life." So after interning for several school breaks at the Alaska State Historical Collections, the Alaska State Archives, and even a summer at the Haverford Quaker and Special Collections, and attending a Library Science Masters Program with a specialization in Archiving, I have returned to Alaska to work at my favorite Historical Collections Library.
What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?
Through my work I preserve personal stories and family photographs. The manuscripts and images tell the stories of the Alaska Natives and their rich culture as well as the fascinating, and often salacious, stories of the gold miners and good time girls and all the others who made their way to Alaska to forge lives. By preserving these stories of individuals, I believe we are able to personalize history. Through my professional career I hope sharing the knowledge within these resources promotes greater understanding of and between cultures.
Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.
Despite the fact that I'm sure I want to work for the Historical Collections, I chose to spend some time working for the State Archives, the Circulating side of our library, and the Museum. This has made me the only person within our division of Library, Archives, and Museum to have worked in all parts. We are currently in the middle of constructing a new building where the Library, Archives, and Museum will all move together into one building. After moving we will begin a long process of integrating all three organizations. Having a handle on the inner workings of all parts of the division has made me an invaluable resource.
How has Haverford influenced your professional career?
Haverford largely influenced my career, first because if I had not been pursuing a History degree I would not have walked into a Special Collections library. Second, working at the Haverford Special Collections for a summer on a project that culminated in a Quaker community presentation gave me the skills I needed to produce a presentation after working at the Alaska State Archives on the Exxon Valdez Papers Project. Thirdly, the history classes at Haverford taught me the reading, research, and comprehension skills I have since used to read through dense histories as part of background research of historical collections and for museum exhibits.