This is 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”.
What is your background?
I graduated from Old Dominion University where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Masters in Library and Information Studies. During my time as a graduate student, I interned with the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), working alongside PEC’s Historic Preservation Manager Kristie Kendall and County Clerk Leeta Louk at the Madison County Courthouse in the summer of 2021 to January 2022. At the courthouse, I digitized thousands of legal documents that pertain to the condemnation of private property in Madison County in the Shenandoah National Park. This was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the history of the county I grew up in and gain more experience in digitization and handling fragile and historical documents.
How do you explain what you do to others?
My job is interesting and enjoyable in the Digital Services Lab. I look forward to coming in every day. I get to see and carefully handle a lot of Virginia’s important and original historical documents so that they can be digitized. There’s always something different to work on and keep me busy and engaged, whether it be the many patron orders for those who need hard copies sent by mail or PDFs sent to them through email for their research or orders from faculty members who need copies and prints for events. Some patron orders can be very large – hundreds of pages in one order. Staying connected with the library’s patrons and making sure that their order is satisfactory is certainly a number one priority. Receiving emails from happy patrons is always so rewarding. Also, in the Digital Services Lab, we digitize anything sent to us from faculty that needs to be added to the library’s digital collection, which are often ongoing projects.
Have you held other positions at the Library? If so, what?
I have not held other positions at the library.
How has technology affected your current job?
Technology is a huge part of my job. Before working, it is important to make sure that everything is running smoothly with the equipment we are using because without it working properly, we can get behind and fixing technical issues can take some time.
Describe your best day at the Library of Virginia.
Every day is different and that’s what I like best about my days at the library and my job. One day I could be working on digitizing film negatives and making prints for patrons from microfilm reels, and the next day I could be digitizing a number of maps and architectural drawings. Digitizing and developing the photo negatives and seeing the negatives come to life is one of my favorite things to work on. I’m really happy that I was able to be a part of helping finish up with the inmate glass plate negatives. That was an incredible experience. It’s really eye-opening to know that there are thousands in this collection and I was amazed to learn the many years that had been put into the project. There are many things to love about my job, especially reading the historical documents that come to us in the Digital Services Lab. As a Virginia native, it makes me feel even closer to Virginia and Virginia’s history.
What was your first paid job?
My first paying job was photo assisting with Plow and Hearth in their creative department.
What would people be surprised to find out about you?
What I feel people will be surprised to find out about me is that I spent months clearing off an area on my family’s property that contains a massive quartz recently identified as a Prehistoric Native American Quartz Quarry by James Madison University’s Dr. Carole Nash who came and identified some interesting land markings back in March. I’m hoping that further research will be made at my quartz site in future years to come.