BA. English & Theatre Arts (Rockford College)
MA in English (DePaul University)
MFA in Poetry (Columbia College Chicago)
Access Services Assistant
Columbia College Chicago Library
What are your main duties at your library?
My main responsibilities include processing Course Reserves and co-curating our Aesthetics of Research initiative, which explores the intersection between libraries and artistic practice/community. That involves executing exhibits and programming, so I also serve as chair of the Library’s Programming, Events, and Promotions Committee and generate a fair amount of social media content, LibGuides and other resources related to our programming subject matter. I’ve also been overseeing Interlibrary Loan Operations temporarily as we wait to fill that position.
What do you like best about your job?
When I arrived at Columbia in 2000, I was just looking to land a bookish job that would allow me to pay the rent while working on other creative, decidedly non-paying, pursuits on the side (I am a writer and book artist and have run an indie press and design studio since 2004.). What was initially mostly processing-type work has bloomed into far more engaging work with programs and exhibits. I’ve found that these more creative endeavors in the library tend to feed my own pursuits and vice versa. The things I learn in one place (design skills, project management, technical know-how, writing/communication skills) are very useful in the other.
What are you working on now that you’re excited about?
Planning for our fall focus topic, ARTIVISM 2020, is in full swing right now, so we are working out details for exhibits and virtual programming (discussion panels, workshops, zine nights).
Why did you decide to work in libraries?
It sounds corny, but I feel like my second home has always been the library. I’m not sure I really chose a career in libraries so much as I was always in them and eventually they accepted me as one of their own.
What do libraries mean to you?
I feel like libraries are the one place in society where information and resources are free and clear of commerce and commercial interests. The library was a place where stories and information were not only housed, but celebrated and elevated.
What do you think is the most important challenge or opportunity for libraries going forward?
Six months ago, I may have had a different answer, but right now, with so much emphasis on digital resources due to Covid, I and other staff have been having a lot of conversations about the necessity of robust print collections in a highly digital environment, especially for creatives. Browsability is key, especially in the arts.
Describe yourself in three words.
Stone Cold Taurus
What are you reading, watching, or listening to right now?
I’m currently reading potential chapbook manuscripts for the press mostly, coming off a stretch of not being able to concentrate on reading much of anything in pandemic brain mode. But in other things, I’ve been working my way through Gossip Girl episodes on Netflix late at night and listening a lot to Taylor Swift’s folklore album on repeat (all of which sounds like I am a teenager, but I swear I’m not.)
What are your hobbies?
Sometimes it’s hard to delineate the line between “hobbies” and “side hustles,” mostly because the former seem to eventually become the latter much of the time. Outside of writing and art pursuits, I really love thrifting and collecting vintage (housewares, clothes, and handbags). I am also really into horror movies, cryptozoology, reading trashy fictionalized biographies of artists and writers, doing research on random ghosts and hauntings, and having too many cats.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I initially graduated high school planning to be a marine biologist but soon confirmed I am too bad at math to be a scientist. Now I write about mermaids a lot. I’m convinced these two things are related.