Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a librarian?
A: I’ve always loved libraries. I volunteered at my high school library and my local public library, and when I was an undergraduate, I worked at my college library all four years. When I was applying to grad schools, I was torn between getting a Master of Fine Arts degree and going to library school. I ended up choosing to pursue a playwriting MFA program, but I knew that I really wanted to work in a library setting, so as soon as I finished that, I got my Master of Library Studies. I eventually became head of the art library and head of the drama library at University of Washington, and then I came to Puget Sound in 2019. I've been fortunate in that I've been able to devote my whole career to the arts.
Q: How do you see your role in the library making a difference for the campus community?
A: My overall goal is to support students and faculty in their research and learning. I do instruction and collection development for several reference areas, not just fine and performing arts. I’m also the librarian for African American studies, classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, communication studies, and Asian studies. I'm a big proponent of enhancing creativity through research, and I try to engender that in students when I work with them—you can be a painter or you can be a musician, but research can enhance what you do. We all do research every day, but we don't think of it as research. Using the skills that you learn in academia to apply to your real life is not just library work, but life work. I like to think we're helping people become better consumers, better citizens, and better artists by providing them with the resources they need to do their work.
Q: How do you stay creative?
A: I do an insane amount of crafting and try to learn something new all the time. I taught myself how to weave on a hand loom. I do dollhouse miniatures. I do paper crafting of all different kinds. Last year for Christmas, I made a bunch of putz houses. They’re little cardboard houses that people used to make for Christmas, really popular back in the ’50s. I did a series of midcentury modern putz houses to decorate my house for Christmas. Holidays in my house are over the top with handmade decoration. One year, I did a Venetian carnival and, this year, my theme was Beauty and the Beast. I love doing art and love seeing young people doing slow art, like knitting, crochet, and embroidery. We need it because our lives are so fast paced now.
Q: Let’s talk about your appointment to the Tacoma Arts Commission. How does the commission support the arts in Tacoma?
A: We’re an advisory body to the Tacoma City Council on arts-related matters. We help organize and promote Tacoma Arts Month, we make recommendations about funding, and we make suggestions about the city’s public art. One issue we’ve identified is that most of the public art is in North Tacoma. So, what can we do to increase the amount of public art that's in South Tacoma and the east side? Personally, I’m excited to learn more about what’s going on in Tacoma, because it is known as an arts town.
Q: Between this new volunteer position and your work in the library, you’re very busy. How do you spend your free time?
A: My mom lives with me, so we were just starting to explore the city when COVID-19 happened. I’m hoping we can get out more soon because there’s a lot of Tacoma to see. I’d like to go to the Washington State History Museum. I haven’t been to any of the theaters yet. So, I’d like to do that. If you come to my office, you’ll see that I’m a Wolverine fanatic, the X-Men character. I have a whole collection of Wolverine bobbleheads and a bunch of Hugh Jackman pins. I may be the world’s biggest Hugh Jackman fan.