Before entering the world of archives and special collections, I received an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Iowa in 2007. My research focused on human-environment relationships, and in 2006 I conducted fieldwork on community forestry in Oaxaca, Mexico. I then decided to pursue an MLIS and Certificate in Book Arts and Book History, also at the University of Iowa. During my two years of library school, I served as an Olson Fellow in Special Collections, where I worked on the digitization of two large manuscript collections: the editorial cartoons of J.N. “Ding” Darling and the letters of 19th century British writer Leigh Hunt. As part of my certificate studies, I also studied bookbinding and researched the the negotiation of feminine identities in 1976 Bicentennial community cookbooks.
As the Special Collections Librarian at UTSA, I’m responsible for the books, maps, and ephemera that make up the department’s subject collections on the history and development of the Texas-Mexico Border region. Our holdings also include over 500 volumes in the Laurie Gruenbeck Mexican Cookbook Collection; the personal library of architect Ralph Haywood Cameron; and fine press collections from Encino and Texas Western Presses. I carry out acquisitions, outreach, and reference services related to these collections.
This week we are opening the Special Collections reading room in our new location on the 4th floor of the JPL, with extended hours for the spring semester: Mon.-Thurs. 9AM-Noon and 1PM-4PM. I’m happy to be joining the department at such an exciting time, and I look forward to working with the University’s research community to focus and build our collections.