Spring and Summer 2016 Updates

Apologies for falling off the face of the earth. Half way through the semester I started an 8-week course in the History of 20th-Century Photography that was worth an entire semester of work. In addition, I fell into an application frenzy for scholarships and awards. I also struggled with some personal mental health issues (which I will discuss in greater detail in a future post). With three 12-hour days back-to-back, doing full-time coursework, and juggling dozens of projects simultaneously, I think it would have taken my last ounce of energy to keep this blog updated. I meant to post a more detailed recollection of ARLIS/NA + VRA but I think I covered my general experience on the Society of Art Librarianship’s blog. I figured this would be a good chance to share some thoughts on the last few months and discuss what’s going on this summer.

As I mentioned, after ARLIS/NA + VRA I felt like I was in free fall. The work paid off though; I managed to land an internship for the fall at the Lilly Library and I also won a few scholarships/awards (see my updated CV here). It’s set me on a good track for the summer. I wanted to spend more time outside of Bloomington but it wouldn’t have been financially responsible. The awards have given me the opportunity to get out of town for two exciting opportunities though. The first is the Summer Educational Institute (SEI) in Chapel Hill, which I’ll be leaving for tomorrow. The second is the Zine Librarians (un)Conference in Boston, which I will be attending at the end of July. I’d really like to promote the travel grant for this particular conference because it has really been great networking with librarians affiliated with this event. Though we’ve only been in communication through e-mail at this point, I can tell they’re a very caring community. They’ve even managed to find me a free place to stay for the duration of my trip! The award I was granted this year was a POC travel grant, and I’m not sure what other grants may be available in the future, but I recommend applying for any of their travel awards in the future. They even sent me a Zine Librarians unConference Travel Grant Zine (yes, a zine about zine travel grants for a zine librarians conference).

A slide reading "THE END" on a light table.

Slide from the Fine Arts Library

In the meantime, I finished up my XML class earlier this summer and have been interning here at the Fine Arts Library. My primary responsibility is developing a deaccession policy for the slide collection, as well as digitizing and publishing images to Shared Shelf. In order to receive credit for the internship I have to keep a blog, so feel free to check it out for more information (disclaimer: it’ll be a pretty bland read unless you’re, like, really into policies and slides). I also just got done dog sitting/house sitting, so I’m trying to adjust back to my daily life, which has always been pretty hectic anyway I guess. If I’ve learned anything in the past two years of graduate school, it’s that I work better when I’m not overworking.

Skeleton with a sign reading "F.A.L. / 1981-2017 / R.I.P."

Herman in mourning

In crappier news, we recently found out that the Fine Arts Library will be closing in 2017. There have been mixed responses from our patrons, as well as from the greater art librarianship community through ARLIS/NA. I rely on this library a lot, so naturally I was shocked and pretty devastated when I heard the news. As a dual degree student in art history and library science, the Fine Arts Library has been the greatest resource I could imagine, and truly one of the major reasons I decided to enroll in this program. I’m not quite sure how this will affect the Art Librarianship specialization in the ILS department or the dual degree program. Not to mention, I rely on the library for many of my projects as a Graduate Assistant at the Eskenazi Museum of Art (recently renamed, formerly the IU Art Museum) and as the former president of the Society of Art Librarianship Students, as well as a source of income and professional experience as a Graduate Supervisor at the library. I often joke that I live in this building, but it’s true; I spend more of my waking hours at the art museum/library building than in my own apartment. This news coincided with some more personal problems, so I went through the stages of grief fairly rapidly. Shock/denial quickly morphed into anger, but now I’m learning to accept that fighting to keep the library open is no longer an option. We would be going up against $35 million and the school’s highest levels of administration. (Side note: <sarcasm>These career-altering decisions without consulting the staff isn’t alienating at all</sarcasm>). At this point I’m just crossing my fingers that the new space will adequately serve the special needs of the Fine Arts Library’s patrons. My biggest concern is reducing the stacks even more by sending more books off to the Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF). I still heavily rely on physical browsing for a significant part of my research process. But the numbers win in the end because statistics show that the usage of physical books by students here are dropping every year (though this doesn’t hold true for faculty). I hate to say it but I’ll hopefully be finishing up my program by May 2017, just before the library officially closes. It’s shaken me up a bit as I delve deeper into the field and approach the job-hunting phase of my life, but things change all the time and I have to learn to adapt. You’ll have to corner me in person to hear some off-the-record opinions about all this.