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Furman Alumni Librarians Part 3: Heather Martin ’90

Heather Martin PhotoHeather Martin ’90

This is part 3 in our weekly summer blog series in which we will be highlighting some of the amazing Furman University alumni who have pursued careers in library and information science professions. Click here to view previous posts in this series.

Today we are featuring Heather Martin who graduated from Furman University in 1990 with a bachelor of arts degree in English. She then completed an M.L.I.S. degree through the University of South Carolina. Currently Martin works at Duke University as the Librarian of African and African American Studies!

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“I worked as a student assistant in the Reference Department at the library at Furman and enjoyed helping my friends and other students. When I took a journalism feature writing course with Linda Julian, I interviewed a librarian at Greenville County Library and learned more about the different types of work librarians do. After graduating from Furman, I enrolled at USC-Columbia for library school. I was lucky to receive a newly-created internship in Thomas Cooper Library at USC, where I gained experience in multiple departments in the library. When I decided I wanted to work in academic libraries, I switched to a double master’s program in English and library science.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“My first job as a librarian after completing graduate school was as Reference and Outreach Librarian at Wright State University Libraries in Dayton, OH. I then worked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as Reference Librarian and Liaison to Arts and Humanities for 18 years until moving to my current position at Duke University.”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“My current position at Duke University Libraries is definitely my most interesting one. Duke has amazing special collections related to African American studies, the South, and many other topics. I enjoy helping students and faculty use these collections as well as the comprehensive general collections at Duke.”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“Because I worked in libraries as an undergraduate and graduate student, I didn’t have many surprises about the profession, but I have been amazed at how librarianship and libraries have expanded in using technology and the internet while fostering community and education.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“I will always remember the close friends I made at Furman, many of whom are friends today. Going on foreign study to England was one of the highlights of my time at Furman.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 2: Kristi Wright ’04

Photo of Kristi Wright

Kristi Wright ’04

Kristi Wright is a self-employed conservator living in Front Royal, Virginia. We’re sure you’ll enjoy reading about her unique career. This is part 2 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series. Wright graduated from Furman University in 2004 with a bachelor of arts degree in history and music. Then in 2005 she completed her master’s in library and information science from the University of South Carolina. As you’ll read below, it was some of the experiences she had at USC and her background in history and music that led her to her current role as a conservator!

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

I’ll confess that I initially chose to enter the world of library and information science because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do after graduating from Furman.  I had degrees in both history and music but no clear path or passion for a career.  Learning and research remained passions of mine, though, and holing up in a secluded corner on the top floor of the Furman Library was one of my favorite places to be.  I also accrued many hours as a library volunteer while in high school.  Why not pursue a career in libraries?  You may be thinking that this does *not* constitute a clear career goal and you’d absolutely be correct – there are many opportunities to pursue in a library program!  Once in graduate school I honed in on two paths, either music librarianship or preservation, as a preferred focus for my studies.   I enjoyed these study directions and was honing in on preservation when the book repair opportunity described above appeared.  It was really that opportunity and Holly’s subsequent (and continued!) mentorship that opened the world of conservation to me and set my career in motion.

What has been your professional path to your current position?

While I was in graduate school at the University of South Carolina I saw an email requesting volunteers to learn book repair at the USC library annex.  I immediately signed up and started learning the hand-skills necessary to repair well-loved and heavily-used library books to functionality a circulating collections.  I have a background in history and a strong interest in preserving historic materials and the conservator who taught the course, Holly Herro, soon also began training me in special collections materials.  While there are several specific graduate programs available now, book and paper conservation is a trade that traditionally trained people via an apprenticeship structure and many people still enter the field using this path.  I also pursued additional courses in chemistry in order to gain an understanding of the ways materials deteriorate and effective methods to slow these processes.  After several years working full time in the USC lab, I moved to the Washington, DC area and began work as a contract conservator.  Now, about fifteen years into my career, I work on both institutional collections at the federal, state, and county levels as well as on individuals’ books and documents.

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

I currently do a lot of contract work in the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.  The NLM, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the largest medical library in the world.  The collections are quite intriguing, and working with them is an eye-opening foray into the breadth of medical history – we have come such a long way and there is always ample work going on!  At the NLM I’ve had the opportunity to work on an exciting variety of collections ranging from incunabula to Nobel laureates’ manuscripts.  As part of my regular work there I conserve collection items, mount items for physical exhibitions, and participate in select research projects.  Currently we are in the middle of a multi-institutional collaborative project investigating the potential impact of changes in leather production and use on the longevity of leather bookbindings.  Some of this research is highlighted on the library’s blog.

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

One exciting aspect of conservation is the juxtaposition of the old and the new.  We are continually focused on preserving historic items and much of this requires an understanding of historic techniques and processes.  However, modern analysis allows us to pursue the best materials and methods to use on these items.  Conservation is a field where art and science cross paths frequently.  Thus, not only do I use equipment and methods that have been around for centuries, I also get to stay up-to-date on emerging analytical techniques.

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

I think the area has been altered by subsequent renovations. but one of my favorite places to study was the top (third?) floor of the Furman Library.  I used to go past the special collections cage and find a secluded table near a window.  I loved hiding away from the bustle of campus life, being ensconced in the stacks, and, of course, surrounded by the smell of the old books (which I now know is actually the wood-pulp paper breaking down, but that doesn’t diminish my memory in the slightest).  Back then, I didn’t know how much of my future would be tied to libraries and I was usually escaping to my quiet alcove a bit stressed out by an upcoming term paper or exam.  Now, though, it’s a fond memory and one I often think back to when surrounded by library stacks in my professional life.

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 1: Susan Dicey ’78

Susan Dicey ’78

This is part 1 in our weekly summer blog series in which we will be highlighting some of the amazing Furman University alumni who have pursued careers in library and information science professions.

This week we are highlighting Susan Dicey; she is a local librarian dedicated to serving the students in the Greenville County Schools. Dicey graduated from Furman in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in English. In 1987 she graduated from the University of South Carolina with her master’s in library and information science. Since then she has worked as a media specialist for a variety of local schools at all levels in the k-12 system.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

As an English major, I love literature of all varieties. I worked in retail for several years before I began my graduate degree. Bookstore jobs do not pay well nor do they have family-friendly hours.  I volunteered at my church with the youth groups and enjoyed that work.  When the option for a distance learning degree in library science opened up, I applied for the program. The MLIS let me mingle my love of literature and the excitement of working with teenagers.

What has been your professional path to your current position?

I managed bookstores after I graduated from Furman. An employee of mine was in the program at USC which was beginning its distance learning a M.L.I.S. degree, I obtained my degree and teacher certification at the same time. I began working for Greenville County Schools and have worked for that county my entire career, I have transferred schools throughout my career and have been a school librarian at all grade levels.  I live near Hillcrest Middle School and transferred to that school when the previous person retired.

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

I worked at the smallest elementary school in the county for 5 years, Fork Shoals Elementary. The school was in a rural area and had many students who lived on farms. One student brought his pet pig to school for show and tell the day it was being sent to auction. We housed 180 students with only first grade having two classes. All other grades only had one teacher per grade. Many of the students were related and ended up being in the same class as their cousins or neighbors. When I got the job at Fork Shoals, I was the newest teacher in 9 years. Teachers did not leave the school until they retired. They knew all of the students, plus had taught many of the children’s’ parents. Fork Shoals was a true family school.   A volunteer firefighter torched the school the first year I worked there. The middle third, the previous high school auditorium, burnt down. Windows were scorched on the other buildings. We were out of school for two days then resumed classes.   Fork Shoals was my first experience in an elementary school. I had to teach myself about elementary students as I had no experience with them. My students made crafts to go along with the lessons, baked cakes when we learned how to follow directions and experienced books through actions. A great place to learn my trade.

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

I am constantly surprised how I am never bored at my job.  After 33 years in one career, I think I would be coasting at this point. However, changing grade levels and schools has meant I learn new skills and work with new staff and students. I am naturally shy but at ease in my own venue. Literature continues to change with different genres emerging all of the time. And, of course, technology changes. I would never have become so proficient at hardware and software if I were in a different job.

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

I went on a study abroad program to England in the fall of my junior year. That experience instilled a confidence in me that has never left. I am able to travel and be comfortable at new experiences. Dr. Pate required us to attend operas ballets and plays that I would not have attended on my own initiative. I learned to appreciate more varieties of art that fall.


Be sure to check back next week for part two in this 20-week series!

 

 

Zoom Backgrounds for National Library Week

This week is National Library Week, and originally the American Library Association had picked “Find Your Place At the Library” as the theme. They had to make a quick pivot when most libraries across the world shut down for COVID-19, including the Furman Libraries. Now we are celebrating the theme as “Find the Library At Your Place.” If you love libraries so much that you’d like to brand your own social media, you can find downloadable files on ALA’s website.

The libraries have continued supporting you by offering services remotely. We know that you miss the actual spaces that you use for study, socializing, and research. So we put together some Zoom backgrounds just in time for the last week of classes and final exams week to celebrate National Library Week at your place.

Ms. Libby Young and Ms. Paige Dhyne model only two of several backgrounds that are available, with or without the logo. All may be accessed here.

The Libraries are Here to Help!

The Furman Libraries are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are still here to help you with your research needs! Check out our COVID-19 Remote Learning Guide to learn how we can help you.

Read the most up-to-date information regarding Furman’s response to COVID-19.

Virtual Ways to Use the Library Resources–Human and Electronic

The Furman Libraries want to stay in touch with you and support your teaching and learning in the online environment that will be commencing soon.

We have created a Guide that lists all the ways* you can get in touch with librarians and staff who can connect you with our resources and suggest ways of finding information you need.

The guide also gives best practices for linking Library ebooks, databases, and journal articles in Moodle, and other faculty support.

Same service you expect, just some different delivery methods!

*Email, chat, telephone, text, etc.

Off- Campus Access to Library Databases – Downtime

Off-campus access to library databases/e-resources will be unavailable beginning tomorrow, March 12th, at 9am due to a server migration. There may be intermittent downtime throughout the morning.  As part of this migration, E-Book Central may be unavailable from both on and off-campus, throughout the morning.  After the migration is complete, all accounts in E-Book Central will be reset. Users who need access to their personal settings in E-Book Central should contact LibraryWebServices@furman.edu for assistance.

Libraries Honor Black History Month

February is Black History Month and to celebrate the Furman Libraries have several displays featuring black scientists, artists, and authors. Each library location has a unique display or exhibit so be sure to visit each one before they’re changed. Keep reading for a brief description of the displays at each location.

Sanders Science Library

The science library display is more permanent than the others and will be available all semester. We hope it will be inspiring to all who interact with it. This display features eight African American scientists who have contributed to our knowledge of the world in their respective fields. Some of the disciplines represented include biochemistry, medicine, physics, and mathematics. We created cubes for each individual and when you open them you’ll be able to read a brief biography, an interesting quote, view a photo of the person, and scan a QR code to view videos (TED Talks, Story Corps, etc.), books, and additional information about their life and work.

Maxwell Music Library

The theme for the music display is African American representation in opera. We used the book Blackness in Opera as a general guide in the creation of this display. The display features four contemporary operatic performers and summaries of several operas that are important when discussing the portrayal of African American people in this medium. In addition to this display, the library has several books on this topic that may be of interest to anyone looking to dive deeper into this subject.

James B Duke Library

Furman’s main library has several book displays this month. The largest one is located to your right as you enter the library. This display is split into two different parts. On one half it contains books related to black history discussing topics such as redlining – a form of real estate, mortgage, service, and development discrimination against prominently black neighborhoods. The other half of this display honors author Jason Reynolds who the Library of Congress has appointed as the 2020 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Finally, the end cap of the leisure reading section contains an excellent selection of books addressing a variety of topics related to race in America. All books on these displays are available for check out so please take one home to read!

Libraries Celebrate Faculty Achievements

The Furman University Libraries and the Office of the Provost cordially invite you to a celebration of scholarly and creative achievements in 2019. The reception will showcase Furman faculty members who have completed a degree, received a grant from an external funding source totaling more than $1,000, ​and/or published books, book chapters, journal articles, exhibits, recordings, performances, films, or other works.

When: Friday, February 21. 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Where: James B. Duke Library, Blackwell Atrium.

Wine, beer, and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.

For further Information contact Kathy Hamlin.

Phone number: 864-294-2191.

E-mail address: kathy.hamlin@furman.edu

2020 Summer Research and Creative Fellowships

For the fourth year, Special Collections and Archives will offer two 10-week summer fellowships for Furman undergraduates. These competitive fellowships will allow students to perform original research using materials in Special Collections and Archives for a research or creative project of their own design. In past years, Fellows have: transcribed medieval music manuscripts into modern musical notation; performed background research for a senior studio art installation; edited short films about Furman history; done historical research on South Carolina elections; and written a creative essay based on our collection of Hogarth prints. What will you propose to do?

The rare books, manuscripts, and archives housed in the Furman Libraries range across several centuries. Fellows will explore these collections and use them to work on a project that can be discipline-based, related to their major or minor fields of study, or to further their career goals and creative aspirations. Projects can be interdisciplinary or creative in nature, based on the skills, background, and demonstrated interests of applicants. Our collections are diverse and rich with cultural meaning, and we encourage Furman students to use them in the creation of new knowledge, art, or music.

Fellows will receive a summer stipend ($3,000) in addition to lodging on campus for the period of June 1 – August 15, 2020, and will be expected to be in residence during that time. While Fellows will work independently, it is expected that they have a faculty sponsor who can provide occasional advice and guidance (either on-site or remotely) during the fellowship period. Fellows will also work closely with the faculty and staff of the Furman Libraries during their time in residence.

Following its completion, Fellows will be expected to submit a short report on their fellowship experience and a copy of their completed project to be added to Special Collections and Archives and FUSE. They may also be asked to take part in a public presentation of their work for the Furman community during the fall semester following their fellowship and participate in Furman Engaged! in the spring.

Previous Student Research and Creative Fellowships:

2017 [see news story]

  • Chrissy Hicks ’20, Music major and classicist, worked on our growing collection of medieval music manuscripts: studying the background of manuscript production, the uses of medieval written music, and looking closely at our manuscripts to confirm or expand their present descriptions and what we know about them.
  • Emory Conetta ’18, an Art History and Studio Art double major who used our collection of Furman and Greenville Woman’s College scrapbooks from the early 20th century in a project that will study young women’s identity and practices of keeping and making memories, in Greenville and the South. One of her aims is to start making her own scrapbook as a response to what she discovers, and this summer fellowship will form the basis of her year-long senior studio art project, which will culminate in a gallery show spring 2018.

2018 [see blog post]

  • Olivia Corso ’20, an English and Art History double major. Olivia’s project was on the imagery and iconography of women in antiquity using several different types of sources from Special Collections and Archives.

2019 [see news story]

  • Jess Foster ’20, studied the role of antisemitism in Greenville mayor Max Heller’s unsuccessful 1978 congressional campaign
  • Allie Bolton ’21, created a documentary film on Furman history as an extension of the 4 short films that she and Claudia Leslie ’19 created for use in the Pathways program this fall 2019

Eligibility:

First-year students through juniors are eligible to apply for a 2020 summer Fellowship.

Instructions for Applicants:

Course credit is not required for this fellowship. Applicants should submit a research proposal by Monday, March 16th outlining the work they would like to do during their fellowship, especially noting how the collections in Special Collections and Archives will help them achieve their goals, together with a current resume. Applicants should also discuss their project and application in advance with a Furman faculty member who will act as their sponsor, and submit (or have submitted) a letter/email of support from the faculty sponsor at the same time. In addition to collection information found on the Special Collections and Archives website and library catalog, we strongly encourage inquiries about project ideas, our holdings, and our collection strengths. Please send all questions and all application materials to Jeffrey Makala (jeffrey.makala@furman.edu).