Erin Blake is a senior cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Erin has been a member of ACRL for 23 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for August 29, 2022.
Describe yourself in three words: Inquisitive, informal, introverted.
What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth with illustrations by Sara Lautman: I’m intrigued that there been a resurgence of new fiction for adults that incorporates original illustrations, something that largely disappeared in the 20th century.
Describe ACRL in three words: Supporting, sustaining, strategic.
What do you value about ACRL? As the parent organization of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), ACRL provides the infrastructure that allows RBMS to focus on the specifics of librarianship and library users’ needs. Now that I’m in a financial position to give back to the organization, I’m proud to know that I’m helping expand the profession to reach a larger and more diverse audience.
What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I’m in the rare position of being a librarian at an Independent Research Library, where the library is the campus. As a rare materials cataloger, I provide the collection descriptions that allow the Folger to support humanities research and exploration by scholars, artists, students, and more.
In your own words: While getting my PhD in Art History, I realized pretty quickly that the fun part for me was doing the research, organizing the information, and helping other people do the same. I knew that I’d made the right choice of profession when a professor at my dissertation defense was baffled that I did not want to become a high-powered academic. He couldn’t believe that I would willingly spend my career “giving” information to other people instead of keeping it for myself “in order to beat them to the finish line.” I love being in an environment where winning means helping as many people as possible cross the finish line.
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