First, please tell us a little bit about yourself: Name, employment & current responsibilities, education, etc.:
I moved with my family to Columbia in 1996 so my wife and I could attend graduate school. My daughter was born in 1999. I received my library degree in 2000 after four years of part-time school at the University of Missouri.
After starting as a student employee at the State Historical Society in the fall of 1996, I joined the full-time staff in May 1997 working in the Newspaper Library. I moved into the acquisition librarian position in 1999. My job is basically: Get New Stuff. That could be accepting gifts of materials of all kinds, buying new books from university presses and hunting down obscure, short-run titles or other items or Missouri state government documents. I am also responsible for finding periodicals and serials. While the society concentrates on history-based sources, the collection has journals from many of the huge variety of organizations in Missouri; medical societies, environmental groups, accountants etc.
Recently I took over responsibility for cataloging the collections at the society. That has been a great learning experience, and were it not for Peggy Platner, our former staff and current volunteer cataloger, I would be really swamped with that job alone.
Q1: When did you decide that you wanted to be a librarian?
My father was a librarian for a time, and though he wasn't in the profession long, he should have been. His work in the library at Niles College in Illinois made a big impression on me, so the idea of being a librarian has always been in the foreground of my options. In fact the closed stacks room here smells like the library he was in and that always brings back memories.
Q2: What do you like most about being an acquisitions specialist?
Unwrapping new materials. It makes every day a bit like Christmas. Being able to accept donations in person from someone who has written a book, be it a personal or family history, a history of their town or whatever the topic, is also nice. They are always excited to get their work in the State Historical Society and I can tell they are proud of their effort.
Cataloging is very different than the rest of the work I do. Describing and classifying an item can be very interesting. It's often like solving a puzzle which has a logical solution and that is satisfying as well.
Q3: What do you think are the biggest challenges in working in a State Historical Society/ State Historical Society Library or working as an acquisitions specialist?
Saying no to a potential donor is probably the hardest thing. Not everything that comes across my desk, so to speak, is a good fit for the collection. Just because it's old doesn't make it worth keeping in the collection and sometimes that is hard for individuals to understand when they start the conversation with, "I got this old book…" Having a good collection policy makes that easier.
Q5: Why are you involved in the Missouri Library Association?
I thought it would be a good idea to connect with my fellow librarians. Not only does being a member keep me informed of library activities in the state but it feels good to be part of the larger library world. It would be all too easy to sit in my office day after day, in my own little world, and not be exposed to the larger library community.
Do you know of a library or library person deserving of some recognition?
This page was last updated
May 22, 2013
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