RBMS 2016 Blog


Librarians (and Archivists) Are Human?!

Photo: Button making with Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections has brought surprising returns. Learn more about this “crafty outreach” and make your own button with session moderator Leslie Fields on 6/22 and 6/23!

In Librarians Are Human, Margaret Stillwell observed that we require more than just love of the materials to survive. This Participant-Driven Committee blog post features three sessions designed to spark conversations about the human side of the profession, those personal experiences inside—and outside—the library world.

First, Anne Bahde (Oregon State University), Tom Hyry (Harvard University), and Rebekah Irwin (Middlebury College) explore the “wonder factor” of rare books and archives—and the related risks and limitations—on June 22, in an open-ended dialogue. About My Books Smell Good: Fantasy and Sentimentality in Special Collections, Irwin noted, “How far can fantasy carry us when defending special collections to administrators? Do these approaches undermine our mission and relevancy? What does it mean when we acquire things that lack materiality, as we move from analog to digital?” After all, who among us does not own an “old books” candle? (Admit it!) And, if those questions aren’t incentive enough, the panelists promise there will be door prizes. —Tote bags, we hope!

My Books Smell Good: Fantasy and Sentimentality in Special Collections is Wednesday, June 22 at 1:45-3:15 PM.

Keeping administrators happy is one thing, but we also have to take care of ourselves. R. Arvid Nelsen (University of Minnesota, Charles Babbage Institute), Melanie J. Meyers (The Center for Jewish History), and Anna Dysert (McGill University) will address balancing the personal and professional through an “unconference”-style talk—topics will be chosen by participants during the session. Meyers states, “In the two years that I have been Co-Chair of the section Membership & Professional Development committee, this topic has come up more and more frequently.” She anticipates discussing topics including “planning to take family leave (for any number of reasons), making time to publish and advance professionally, and what resources are available to help.”

Diverse Dilemmas: Balancing Work and Family is also Wednesday, June 22, 4-5:30 PM.

Finally, Amber D’Ambrosio (Willamette University), Paula Mitchell (Southern Utah University), and Jennifer Collins (SUNY Delhi) are calling all Lone Arrangers, librarians, and archivists from small institutions on Friday June 24! Said D’Ambrosio, “We want to share and facilitate discussion among attendees from small institutions. Topics may include partnership-building strategies, grant opportunities, and best practices on making the most of limited resources. And, we’ve created a survey we hope will start the conversation.” If you can’t make it Friday, or want to chat with other small-shop colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere, join the Forever Alone panelists and Erin Schreiner (NY Society Library) for Happy Hour on Wednesday from 5:30-7 pm at the Biltmore’s 19th Hole Bar.

Forever Alone: How to Make It Alone in Archives and Special Collections is Friday, June 24, 8:30-10 AM.

But that’s not all! From button-making breaks and hands-on workshops to lunch and insights from the top, and all that precious time in between, we hope that Participant-Driven Sessions offer something for everyone this year!

Special thanks to Amber D’Ambrosio, Erin Schreiner, Melanie Meyers, Rebekah Irwin and Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections for their contributions to this post!

–Colleen Barrett (Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts) and Diane Dias De Fazio (Brooklyn College), Participant-Driven Sessions Committee