By: Katie Howard, Director of the Paul R. Jones Gallery and The University Gallery, University of Alabama MLIS student
This post concludes our interview with W.S. Hoole Library volunteer Katie Howard. Be sure to read the first portion of our interview with her from Monday if you haven’t already!
I am currently volunteering and assisting Kevin Ray with outside reference requests. I began volunteering last summer and after a brief hiatus over the fall semester, I was able to return in January. I am so happy to be back! Kevin and I assist patrons who have sent in reference requests over email or phone, and sometimes snail mail. These requests can be anything from research to genealogical and are always fascinating. I love the thrill of the search and the satisfaction I get from being able to find exactly what a patron needs.
We know we’re not your main job; what else do you do?
I am currently the Director for the Paul R. Jones Gallery and The University Gallery, both of which are part of the College of Arts and Science here at UA.
The Paul R. Jones Gallery hosts year-round exhibitions from the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, which was donated by Paul R. Jones to the College of Arts and Sciences in 2008. It contains over 2000 works, most of which were done by African American artists and is one of the largest collections of its kind in the world.
I work with our collections manager and education outreach coordinator to curate thematic exhibitions and help to develop programing around those exhibitions. I also work with guest curators, faculty campus and students to plan exhibitions, lectures and programs all revolving around the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art and the gallery space. Follow us on Facebook!
The University Gallery more of your typical gallery space where exhibitions are chosen through and application process. It is available for faculty, staff and students to display either their own work or to curate exhibitions from personal or departmental permanent collections.
The best part of my job is having the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and students and being able to bring their vision to life. Because why just stop at an exhibition when you can turn it into a traveling show, incorporate a concert, host lectures or build a curriculum all revolving around that one exhibition?
What are your goals for your career?
When I was little, my mother asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. My response “Do something with color.” Out there yes, but then I discovered graphic design so it worked. If she were here today to ask me the same question, I would say, “I want to be a connector”. I want to connect people to people. I want to connect people to things. I want to connect people to information and ideas. So, naturally, with my interpersonal skills and inquisitive nature, librarianship was the obvious answer.
I am at the very beginning of what I hope to be a long career in libraries/museums. Having recently discovered the world of reference, particularly in an archival and special collections setting, I would love to continue down that path. I hope to eventually combine this with more contemporary outreach techniques particularly in the form of collaborative digitization projects, archival exhibitions/digital curation and innovative pedagogy in instruction specifically for archives, special collections and/or museums.
I look forward to seeing what the future holds! And, while I am new to the world of Twitter, I invite you to follow me @katiemachoward!
Thank you for volunteering with Hoole Library! We’re so lucky to have you return to us and we look forward to following your career in the future.