LHRT Member Spotlight

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

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