LHRT Member Spotlight

August 2022

Seth Gottlieb

Pronouns: I support those not yet comfortable honestly disclosing their preferred gender pronouns.

Job Title: Special Collections Education and Outreach Librarian at Hamilton College

Social: LinkedIn

Describe yourself in 3 words: Energetic, Passionate, Curious

What book(s) are you reading/listening to right now? Monuments Man by James J. Rorimer (2022 revised edition)

How did you become interested in library history? And/or why do you think it is important to study library history? I’d worked in special collections and archives already, but a fellowship at the Library of Congress piqued my interest in library history. For the uninitiated, the main (Jefferson) building’s stacks were, to put it mildly, difficult to navigate. Floor numbers didn’t seem to have much logic or reason, so I began digging into the building’s history. The evolution of the Jefferson building reflects the evolving needs of the library, which were sometimes unique to a collection assembled on such a massive scale. The number of patents for library stacks and shelving were astounding, and I began to appreciate the complex process of maintaining a library. And then came the question of building collections! The choices involved in developing a collection, as many members will agree, are not made in a vacuum. Cultural forces, the whims of donors, etc., all factor into the selection process.

Studying library histories, in the plural sense, is important to me because I want to better impress upon my students and library patrons that the collections they interact with are a human product. Each library has multiple histories that can be told about it, from any number of perspectives. Yes, each book is created by an author with individual biases and beliefs, but a library has its own biases at an institutional scale. Cataloging subject terms, for example, are subjectively applied, and have a profound influence on how patrons go about finding, and thinking about, the books in a collection. Particularly in today’s political conversations around libraries, it is important to remember that our libraries are not impartial stewards of human culture and knowledge. We, as librarians and library administrators, play an active role in shaping the collections our patrons rely upon.

What are your favorite topics/subjects in library history? I enjoy studying library architecture (I make plenty of stops on trips to visit and photograph libraries), especially the construction of stacks. Except perhaps the past decisions shaping a library’s collection, I can’t think of many other aspects of a library’s design which impact the user experience (both patrons and staff) more than the structure of a library building. The history of conservation is another area which has an ongoing impact on my role in special collections, where previously conserved items are sometimes in need of new treatments.

What do you value about LHRT? Seeing the fantastic community in LHRT has been a major benefit; other members are producing wonderful work offering tremendous insights. LHRT’s journal, Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, was a big factor in my decision to join. It’s a great publication, filled with thought-provoking content. As a new member, I’m looking forward to connecting with other members and learning about their work.


Editor’s note: Would you like to be featured in LHRT’s Member Spotlight? Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.


June 2022

Maxi Schreiber

Pronouns: she/her

Job Title: Architectural Historian, Independent Scholar

Social: LinkedIn

Describe yourself in 3 words: Curious, Learner, Attentive

What book(s) are you reading/listening to right now? Strange Bird: The Albatross Press and the Third Reich by Michele K. Troy

How did you become interested in library history? And/or why do you think it is important to study library history? I became interested in library history as a library user. There were two fascinating moments that I had inside libraries. Both were very much about recognizing major differences between different kinds of libraries: between American and German public libraries, on the one hand; and academic and public libraries within Germany, on the other hand.

In Germany, academic (that is, university) libraries serve as architectural showcases and are in many cases palaces. After diving into library history, I found out that German public libraries have always stood in the shadow of academic libraries. Germany is very proud of its literary heritage, but it has neglected public libraries. For nearly as long as they have existed in Germany, public libraries have not even had their own dedicated architecture, let alone their own dedicated buildings.

I’m aware of the current discussions within the American library profession about how public libraries are idealized, and I don’t want to oversimplify these complex issues. However, the general standing and appreciation of public libraries is very different in America than in Germany. German libraries seem much more limited with the services they offer. Generally, they have a different “vibe” from their American counterparts. Their affect is less friendly and users are not made to understand that this place belongs to them. German libraries’ work ethos can sometimes seem patronizing. In short, it was through recognizing the differences in municipal politics and culture writ large between in the two countries that made me interested in library history.

I believe that it’s important to study library history for the same reasons that we study history in general. History reminds us of the legacy of the institution and the debts that weigh heavily on the present. I think there are very important debates going on at the moment in the US that confront the undemocratic past of American libraries. Libraries, especially public libraries, are crucial in order to achieve social and environmental justice. I believe one can only effect these changes if one confronts the past, moves forward with this historical awareness in mind, and does not exclude the historical responsibilities associated with the institution’s history.

What are your favorite topics/subjects in library history? Public libraries, Library architecture, History of censorship, and Women in the library profession.

What do you value about LHRT? I value LHRT because it is an intellectually vibrant, open community that enables people to connect and exchange ideas. For me as a historian of architecture and libraries, it is a valuable source of information for the field of library history. I enjoy reading the blog, and the journal, and I have received many useful recommendations on articles and books that I could immediately use for my book project on public library architecture. I also enjoyed the podcast recommendations on the history of certain libraries in the U.S. that I otherwise would not have come across.

Recent publications/presentations: “Dealing with the Socialist Past. The Case of the Kulturpalast in Dresden, Germany”, PLATFORM, May 24, 2021: https://www.platformspace.net/home/dealing-with-the-socialist-past-the-case-of-the-kulturpalast-in-dresden-germany

 “Public Libraries, Public Input: How Citizens’ Comments Can Inform Public Library Architecture”, PLATFORM, February 22, 2021: https://www.platformspace.net/home/public-libraries-public-input-how-citizens-comments-can-inform-public-library-architecture


Editor’s note: Would you like to be featured in LHRT’s Member Spotlight? Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.


May 2022

Shatha Baydoun

Pronouns: she/her/they/them

Job Title: History and Modern Languages & Literatures Librarian at the University of Miami

Describe yourself in 3 words: Curious, Engaged, and Motivated

What book(s) are you reading/listening to right now? The Other Americans (Novel) by Laila Lalami

How did you become interested in library history? And/or why do you think it is important to study library history? History is my first love and library science my second. During my MIS studies, my intro classes highlighted the history of the profession and I found it interesting.

I think it is important to study library history for several reasons. The history of classification and cataloging for example is entwined with colonialism and imperialism (see here). Vocational awe, a notion embedded in librarianship, has led to burnout and low morale, especially during the last two years (see here). These problematic histories must be addressed openly before the profession can truly live up to its egalitarian ideals. At the same time, librarians are doing amazing work so that also needs to be highlighted. Librarians were among the first to protest Section 215 of the Patriot Act. During the pandemic, some library workers also helped with contact tracing (see here). You do not necessarily learn to do these things in library school, but they showcase the determination and brilliance of librarians.

What are your favorite topics/subjects in library history? I love reading about the Library of Alexandria and the persistent quest to create an all-comprehensive library.

What do you value about LHRT? I like how LHRT continues to adapt and improve despite the many challenges it has faced.

Recent publications/presentations:

Baydoun, S., & Pickens, R. (2021). Collaborative and active engagement at the hemispheric university: Supporting ethnic studies through academic library outreach at University of Miami. In R. Pun, M. Cardenas-Dow, & K. S. Flash (Eds.), Ethnic Studies in Academic and Research Libraries. Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)

Larson, C., Pickens, R., & Baydoun, S. (2020). Supporting teaching with primary sources at the University of Miami. The University of Miami. 


Editor’s note: Would you like to be featured in LHRT’s Member Spotlight? Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.


April 202

Jeanne Drewes

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Job Title: Chief, Binding and Collections Care, Mass Deacidification, Library of Congress. Retired in October 2019.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Energetic, Positive, Doer

What book(s) are you reading/listening to right now? I am reading memoirs of people working in cultural heritage. I am working on a multiple title book review about the importance of people who are passionate about their work preserving, interpreting and describing the past, the present and looking to the future for culture in all its many aspects. As a preservation librarian I was, and still am, passionate about preserving the past and the present for future generations. In the same way that STEM starts creating interest in science, technology, engineering, and math in children and young adults, I believe that cultural heritage, writ large, should be doing something similar. I believe interesting, well-written memoirs are one way to inspire, hence my reading and book review concept. Actual titles I plan to include right now are Patch work: A life amongst clothes; Trade secrets: A life in and around Museums; A degree of mastery: A journey through book arts apprenticeship; and Bookbinding and conservation: A sixty year odyssey of art and craft

How did you become interested in library history? And/or why do you think it is important to study library history? Since my early days working in libraries, I was interested in how we got to where we are. Having been in the profession for some forty years I can now look back and see within my own career all the many changes that occurred. How we got here today is always on the shoulders of those going before us. Such books as Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa’s Mooring a field: Paul N. Banks and the education of library and archives conservators, which just won an award from SAA, is very interesting and reveals so much. I see digital reformatting as inspired from microfilming brittle books. Both formats have been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and, in fact, the reformatting of microfilm to digital files has also been funded. The grant proposal writing, the collaboration, and the quality assurance is the same for microfilming that occurred during the 1980’s into the 2000’s. If you don’t know history, you will make the same mistakes, but you can learn from history and do it better, make fewer mistakes and learn about all the many possibilities for creating ideas now for the future. How can I not be interested in library history when I learn so much from it? Looking back is just as important as looking forward.

What are your favorite topics/subjects in library history? I continue to be very interested in preservation of books and paper, binding, and paper quality, but I also find international libraries of great interest having been a member of IFLA for nearly twenty years. The expansiveness of cultural heritage and the urge to preserve personal and family heritage, as well as regional culture, is another interest. How libraries have provided for so many needs of their communities is so compelling. A library is so much more than reading material, and yet that is also important for expanding the minds of young and old and all ages in-between. I am fascinated by research into the science of paper and the materiality of all library materials. Remember cassette tapes? Floppy disks? How can you get that information if you haven’t carried it forward?

What do you value about LHRT? I enjoy reading and hearing about what others are researching, writing, and presenting about and that leads me to new titles to read and evaluate for my interests and creates new interests. I am particularly interested in oral history projects that document various local community activists, professionals making a difference, and the lives and careers of individuals in all walks of life. I believe the human voice carries so much additional meaning beyond what words on a page can convey, so oral history projects are particularly important to me. 

Recent publication/presentation in library history: I have published broadly over many topics, but for library history I would direct your focus to two oral history projects on commercial binding companies and also of preservation librarians. In both cases you can find the recorded interviews with search capability here:

I will also be co-teaching an oral history short course through ALA in the fall. I helped start a project at IFLA to interview past presidents and am working to do the same for ALA past presidents. Sadly, Peggy Sullivan, past president of ALA, died before I could interview her, though she and I had talked about scheduling. Don’t delay if you are planning on interviewing someone, you just never know when your opportunity might disappear.


Editor’s note: Would you like to be featured in LHRT’s Member Spotlight? Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.


March 2022

Jennifer Bartlett

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Job Title: Oral History Librarian at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

Social: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Describe yourself in 3 words: Curious, committed, persistent

What book(s) are you reading/listening to right now? Along Came Google by Deanna Marcum and Roger C. Schonfeld; Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachian South by T.R.C. Hutton

How did you become interested in library history? And/or why do you think it is important to study library history?  Several years ago I had the opportunity to conduct a series of oral history interviews commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL), which was founded in 1956. The idea was to build on previous histories of the organization through first-hand accounts of some of its early leaders. A major theme that emerged during those interviews was, of course, the transition from primarily print-based to electronic collection development and resulting concerns about the future of libraries. As a working public services librarian for well over 20 years in public and academic libraries, I’ve witnessed much of that transition firsthand; one particularly surreal moment for me was participating in the destruction of a college library’s legacy physical card catalog due to lack of space. Another interesting experience was serving as a contributing editor for the 4th edition of The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science and seeing how library terminology and practice changes so drastically over time; it’s important to remember that even card catalogs and shelf lists were revolutionary at one point!

Based on my work on the ASERL project, I have become interested in studying the higher education philanthropic landscape in Appalachia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, focusing on the development of their campus libraries. This is the focus of my doctoral dissertation (in progress) and includes topics such as the Morrill Act, the impact of Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” philosophy and public library funding program on giving to higher education, and Appalachian university giving in the context of social philanthropic movements including the Frontier Nursing Service and the Pine Mountain Settlement School.

I think that studying library history is important for the same reasons that studying history in general is important: to understand past issues and problems and learn how they were or weren’t solved, to identify similarities and differences between present and past situations, and to discern patterns of behavior that gives us a better perspective on understanding and dealing with current challenges.

What are your favorite topics/subjects in library history?

  • Institutional histories of individual libraries and library organizations
  • History of library technology from 1960 to present
  • Public and academic library development in underserved communities, particularly in Appalachia

What do you value about LHRT? As a relatively new member of LHRT, I look forward to becoming more actively involved with this group of talented, thoughtful, motivated people who demonstrate a shared passion for library and information science history! LHRT has done wonderful work in serving as a professional resource for those of us who are interested in doing library history research through activities such as its regular opportunities to connect with others, the organization’s website, and the journal.

Recent publication/presentation in library history: Bartlett, Jennifer (interviewer). Oral Histories: Commemorating ASERL’s Past. (2017). Atlanta: Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. Face-to-face interviews with 10 current and former deans and directors of libraries throughout the Southeastern United States, 2016-2017.

Bartlett, Jennifer. Knowledge Management: A Practical Guide for Librarians. (2021). Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. (This isn’t a library history-related title; rather, it grew out of my work as a former library administrator).


Editor’s note: Would you like to be featured in LHRT’s Member Spotlight? Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.


February 2022

Regina Carra

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Job Title: Rapaport Archivist at the American Folk Art Museum

Social: LinkedIn

Describe yourself in 3 words: Creative. Thoughtful. Learner.

What book(s) are you reading/listening to right now? The Art of Relevance by Nina Simon

How did you become interested in library history? I became interested in library history when I was a graduate student in the Dual Degree MLS/MA in program at Queens College–CUNY. During the program I signed up for a history class called “The Idea of Eastern Europe.” In the class, we examined “Eastern Europe” (as well as other regional categories in Europe like Central Europe, the Balkans, and Western Europe) as an intellectual invention that has had tangible impacts on politics, economics, social life, and material culture at various moments in time. The premise of the class spoke to the archivist-librarian in me (I don’t consider myself a student of European history). We work in a profession that subjectively applies words, categories, and schemas to describe and organize the content of various source materials and media. The descriptions we use have consequences, for better and for worse. Long story short, I wrote a piece of library history for the class about significant revisions made to the Library of Congress Classification’s classification of Eastern European history in the 1970s and 1980s, which included the creation of a new subclass to represent the region, Subclass DJK. In the decades leading up to these changes there had been an effort, led by Slavic and East European librarians within the American Library Association, to advocate for changes to the classification to make it better reflect current political realities in Eastern Europe. The deeper I went into my research the more important it became to me, as an information professional, to accurately reflect and convey the complexity of what these librarians were trying to do, particularly from a technical, professional, and bureaucratic standpoint. Overall, I found process of telling this story to be the most challenging and rewarding historical research I have ever done. I recently published the research that began in this class (citation below) and have been motivated to study library history ever since.

I think it is important to study library history for a few reasons. For librarians, I think it helps us reflect on our practice and the historical context in which it takes place. Studying library history is a reminder of our own power and the tangible impact that our work has on society. More broadly, I believe that library history is vital for understanding how history is produced and remembered. Many scholars are rightfully very focused on the nature of archives, libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions, particularly as sites of power, memory, and public engagement. I think library history, though, can help this analysis go deeper, particularly if it is written with the intent to place the theories, practices, systems, and day-to-day realities of librarians, archivists, and other cultural heritage workers into a larger historical context.

What are your favorite topics/subjects in library history?

  • Local history and public history as a practice and form of public engagement and service – i.e. the public/community doing history work. The history of local history organizations.
  • History of archives and documentation practices, including embodied knowledge and performance.
  • History of cataloging and classification

What do you value about LHRT? I am new to LHRT—I joined last year after the Library History Symposium in June 2021. I value the camaraderie of this group. It is extremely motivating to be part of a community that is also curious and excited about library history.

Recent publication/presentation in library history: Carra, Regina. “DJK: (Re)Inventing Eastern Europe in the Library of Congress Classification.” Slavic & East European Information Resources 22, no. 1 (2021): 6-31.


Editor’s note: Would you like to be featured in LHRT’s Member Spotlight? Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.


January 2022

Nicole Gaudier Alemañy

a picture of Nicole, against the backdrop of autumn trees

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Job Title: Customer Experience Librarian – Youth at Jacksonville Public Library

Social: @nicolebookish on Twitter, Instagram, & goodreads.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Thoughtful, Creative, & Compassionate.

What book(s) are you reading/listening to right now? I am currently reading When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt by Dr. Kara Cooney. I heard  Dr. Cooney discussing Ancient Egyptian pharaohs, and caskets on a podcast & I had to follow her social media online & start reading her books.  I am also reading The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. It is one of the books I’ve been most thrilled by this year so I am elated to finish reading it before the year ends. 

How did you become interested in library history? I became interested in the history of the book as a graduate student in art history. In Fall 2015 I wrote a research paper on the Beatus of Liébana: Manchester Codex and in Spring 2016 I wrote a paper on Peter Lowe’s A Discovrse of the VVhole Art of Chyrvrgerie; these became two of my favorite graduate papers. At the time, I was also working part time in the Florida State University Library and grew close with my colleagues who worked in the special collections department. It was great that in addition to enjoying the time with the Beatus facsimile and early printed book, I got to see those work friends handling the materials I studied and learning some information through the materials from them. I joined LHRT in 2018 & attended sessions at ALA annual and have enjoyed learning about library history through LHRT’s journal, blog, and meetings. I think it is important for librarians to study library history to not only learn about our field’s past, but also gain a stronger understanding of how interdisciplinary and inclusive the library and information profession has become. It is important to learn about the history of intellectual freedom, access to materials, and social justice libraries.

What are your favorite topics/subjects in library history? Overall I truly enjoy all aspects of library and book history. I enjoy researching and reading about the history of manuscripts, maps, and early printed books. I truly find the 20th century meeting of books and technology to be fascinating. As a Puerto Rican librarian, I enjoy learning about latinx figures in library history especially Pura Belpré and Arturo A. Schomburg and their legacies. 2021 is the 25th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award & learned even more about Pura Belpré and the award. REFORMA, ALSC, and YALSA shared a ton of great information that made me appreciate Pura and past latinx youth public librarians even more. As a member-and secretary-of REFORMA de Florida I was exposed to even more information during our meetings where colleagues discussed the Pura Belpré award’s history, and past winners and honorees.

What do you value about LHRT? I value that LHRT gives members the space to the share information on library history in their individual research and their libraries. It is motivating to share an interest in library history with members in various libraries and fields. I not only enjoy reading the Libraries: Culture, History, and Society journal, but also value the opportunity to submit articles and book reviews to the journal. I have enjoyed attending meetings in person and virtually and look forward to the shared impact LHRT will continue to have on my career trajectory and our network. Most recently, I had a great time at the December LHRT reads book discussion on Dr. Kathy Peiss’ Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe. It was such an interesting look at librarian’s roles in gathering information during World War II, World War II spy networks, the dawn of micromaterials, the OSS’s origins, and the start of librarians expanding towards becoming information professionals. It was a great evening discussing a wonderful book with LHRT colleagues and even meeting Dr. Peiss.

Recent publication/presentation in library history: “Review.” Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, vol. 4, no. 2, 2020, pp. 225-227. doi:10.5325/libraries.4.2.0225


Editor’s note: Would you like to be featured in LHRT’s Member Spotlight? Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.