Reference & Resource Development

Libraries and archives of the twenty-first century foreground researcher and public access. Resource development and reference work are critical in facilitating meaningful, equitable access. In my own approach to reference and resource development, I emphasize scholarship as conversation – with the researcher, the materials, and myself as critical, collaborative participants in ongoing discourse.


Teaching and Reference at Pima Community College

Photo taken for “Aztec Press” interview with me, Fall 2018

During the Fall 2018 semester, I served as an interim Faculty Librarian at the Pima Community College West Campus Library in Tucson, Arizona. As part of my regular duties, I taught library instruction sessions which provided students with information literacy and library research fundamentals. These class sessions, varying from 30 minutes to 2 hours – ‘one-shot’ to recurring, foregrounded the frameworks of the Association of College and Research Libraries to ensure students received a comprehensive introduction to key skills. Alongside teaching, I also contributed a minimum of 14 hours per week to the reference rotation. At the reference desk, I offered in-depth research consultations, answered short queries, guided students to relevant college services, and provided guidance on bibliographic management.

Finding aid for the Joe Carithers papers

As a graduate assistant at the University of Arizona Special Collections Library, I processed the Joe Carithers papers – a small collection of materials pertaining to the career and family life of Arizona conservationist and parks advocate Joe Carithers. Writing the biographical note for this collection presented a particular challenge, as the only publicly available biography of Carithers was his obituary. Thus, I had to use the materials in his own papers to draft a semi-official account of his personal and private lives as they are documented by the papers themselves. Given that archival materials are not viewpoint neutral, writing the biographical note required additional research in newspapers and other archival collections to understand how Carithers was seen by others in addition to the representation created by Carithers and his family in the papers.

View the Joe Carithers papers finding aid on Arizona Archives Online.

Reference service at the National Anthropological Archives

In the Summer of 2017, I served as a reference intern at the National Anthropological Archives of the National Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian Institution. As a reference intern, my responsibilities primarily centered around assisting researchers (both SI-affiliated and not) with searching for, selecting, and contextualizing materials. During the first part of the summer, I worked with indigenous researchers and linguists doing language revitalization as part of the National Breath of Life program, and during the latter half of the internship I mainly served graduate students in anthropology as part of the Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology. In between and during these programs, I worked with researchers from across the globe, both academic and non-academic, whose disciplinary concerns intersected with anthropology, indigenous studies, history, fine art, cinema, material studies, and literature.

Read more about my work at the NAA on the Smithsonian Collections Blog.

Digital Exhibit for the Pittsburgh Queer History Project

In 2017, the Pittsburgh Queer History Project received an addition to the extant Vanna (aka Michael Obusek) Collection. The addition prompted me to develop a digital exhibit of materials from the collection, with particular emphasis on new acquisitions. The Addition to the Vanna (aka Michael Obusek) Collection Exhibit provides spatial, historical, and cultural context for VHS tapes of drag shows, pageants, and gay & lesbian bar life in 1980s/1990s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

View the Addition to the Vanna (aka Michael Obusek) Collection Exhibit.