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This is the lates blog entry in a series introducing LVA employees and exploring what they do day-to-day. If you are interested in what goes on behind the scenes, entries in this series are collected under the tag 7 Questions. Other entries discussing the internal work of the Library of Virginia are filed under our new category The Stacks.

Elaine McFadden

Elaine McFadden

Assistant Director of Development, Library of Virginia Foundation

What is your background?

I was born in Richmond, Virginia, and currently reside in New Kent County. I received my undergraduate in history from James Madison University and my master’s in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. My first job after college was in a research library as a library clerk. It was a dream first job and I didn’t think it could get any better but it did. Within a few years, I moved into a fundraising role and something just clicked. I have been raising money to support historic preservation, education, and public engagement for cultural organizations for over a decade.

How do you explain what you do to others?

Many people don’t know that the Library of Virginia has a Foundation, so I start with some general information. The Library of Virginia Foundation supports the Library’s mission by finding vital resources, managing its endowment, and managing important programs like the Weinstein Author Series and the Virginia Literary Awards. My job specifically involves a lot of listening, which is hard because I am naturally talkative, but it’s the best way for me to understand what the needs of the Library are and the wishes for a donor’s philanthropy. I assist two passionate groups (Library and donors) to find out how they can best help our communities understand and engage with Virginia’s history. You can’t ask for a better job than that!

Have you held other positions at the Library? If so, what?

I have not, but I have worked with the amazing collections and staff before.

How has technology affected your current job?

Technology has given us more opportunities to connect with our donors. In addition to the mail, we can instantly show the important work being done at the Library with millions of people through email, social media, and most importantly virtual programs. I think the connection is stronger between the Library and its supporters because of technology.

Describe your best day at the Library of Virginia.

I absolutely love talking with patrons and donors about how the Library has helped them with research or provided educational opportunities, most recently during the pandemic. Since I started in September 2020, I think my best days are ahead with the Library as we prepare to celebrate our 200th anniversary in 2023 and position the Library to serve the people of the Commonwealth for the next 100 years.

What was your first paid job?

In high school, I was a cashier at the craft store Ben Franklin.

What would people be surprised to find out about you?

My favorite candy is black jelly beans.

Vince Brooks

Senior Local Records Archivist

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