Digital Projects Librarian
Washington State Library
Where do you currently work?
I am the Digital Projects Librarian at the Washington State Library. I have the best job in the state, helping small, rural libraries in Washington preserve and provide access to their unique cultural heritage collections through digitization -- www.washingtonruralheritage.org. Our project focuses on building local capacity and sustainability for digital projects in libraries and local history museums, while providing a central digital repository and portal for open research and preservation.
Tell me a bit about your career?
I went to work right after the WKU Folk Studies program as Archives Assistant for the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada. What I thought would be a summer job digitizing audio collections turned into a two-year stint in Elko, followed by another two years contributing to Western Folklife Center programs and archival efforts part time from Seattle. Working with a fabulous group of folklorists, artists, and documentarians at the WFC, I helped produce a series for Nevada Public Radio, created & curated a folklife podcast, recorded oral histories, helped with exhibits, events and workshops... and even tended bar from time to time at their historic saloon in Elko. I was also strongly mentored by the WFC's archivist, Steve Green, and through my interests in media and ethnographic collections I was encouraged by Steve to pursue a second master's degree in Library & Information Science at the University of Washington.
Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I've remained connected to the public folklore community by serving on grants panels and advisory councils, and by helping with the Northwest Folklife Festival and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering as time allows.
How has folklore prepared you for your career?
Being a librarian feels like is a very natural extension of my training and experience as a folklorist. Both fields revolve around people and information. As our information networks become increasingly social, increasingly dependent on context, and as new vernacular expressions grow in digital environments, I feel my education at WKU and my time in the field of public folklore greatly informs my work as a librarian.