Residency Program Success Stories, Part Two

The following is a guest post by Julio Díaz Laabes, HACU intern and Program Management Assistant at the Library of Congress.

This is the second part of a two part series on the former class of residents from the National Digital Stewardship Residency program. Part One covered four residents from the first year of the program and looked at their current professional endeavors and how the program helped them achieve success in their field. In this second part, we take a look at the successes of the remaining six residents of the 2013-2014 D.C class.

Top (left to right): Lauren Work, Jaime McCurry and Julia Blasé Bottom (left to right): Emily Reynolds, Molly Schwartz and Margo Padilla.

Top (left to right): Lauren Work, Jaime McCurry and Julia Blase
Bottom (left to right): Emily Reynolds, Molly Schwartz and Margo Padilla.

Lauren Work is employed as the Digital Collections Librarian at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. She is responsible for Digitization Unit projects at VCU and is involved in a newly launched open access publishing platform and repository. Directly applying her experience during the residency, Lauren is also part of a team working to develop digital preservation standards at VCU and is participating in various digital discovery and outreach projects. On her experience being part of NDSR, Lauren said, “The residency gave me the ability to participate in and grow a network of information professionals focused on digital stewardship. This was crucial to my own professional growth.” Also, the ability to interact with fellow residents gave her “a tightly-knit group of people that I will continue to look to for professional support throughout my career.”

Following her residency at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Jaime McCurry  became the Digital Assets Librarian at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington, D.C. She is responsible for developing and sustaining local digital stewardship strategies and preservation policies and workflows; development of a future digital institutional repository and performing outreach services to raise understanding and interest in Hillwood digital collections. On what was the most interesting aspect of her job, Jaime said “it’s the wide range of digital activities I am able to be involved in, from digital asset management to digital preservation, to access, outreach and web development.” In line with Lauren, Jaime stated, “NDSR helped me to establish a valuable network of colleagues and professionals in the DC area and also to further strengthen my project management and public speaking skills.”

At the conclusion of NDSR, Julia Blase accepted a position with Smithsonian Libraries as Project Manager for the Field Book Project, a collaborative initiative to improve the accessibility of field book content through cataloging, conservation, digitization and online publication of digital catalog data and images. For Julia, one of the most exiting aspects of the project is its cooperative nature; it involves staff at Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Archives, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and members and affiliates of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. “NDSR helped introduce me to the community of digital library and archivist professionals in the DC area. It also gave me the chance to present at several conferences, including CNI (Coalition for Networked Information) in St. Louis, where I met some of the people I work with today.”

Emily Reynolds is a Library Program Specialist at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal funding agency. She works on discretionary grant programs including the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which supports education and professional development for librarians and archivists (the NDSR program in Washington D.C., Boston and New York were funded through this program). “The NDSR helped in my current job because of the networking opportunities that residents were able to create as a result. The cohort model allowed us to connect with professionals at each other’s organization, share expertise with each other, and develop the networks and professional awareness that are vital for success,” she said. On the most interesting aspect of her job, Emily commented that “because of the range of grants awarded by IMLS, I am able to stay up-to-date on some of the most exciting and innovative projects happening in all kinds of libraries and archives. Every day in the office is different, given the complexities of the grant cycle and the diversity of programs we support.”

Molly Schwartz was a resident at the Association of Research Libraries. Now she is a Junior Analyst at the U.S State Department in the bureau of International information Program’s Office of Audience Research and Measurement. One of her biggest achievements is being awarded a 2014-2015 Fulbright Grant to work with the National Library of Finland and Aalto University on her project, User-Centered Design for Digital Cultural Heritage Portals. During this time, she will focus her research on the National Library of Finland’s online portal, Finna and conduct user-experience testing to improve the portal’s usability with concepts form user-centered designs.

Lastly, Margo Padilla is now the Strategic Programs Manager at the Metropolitan New York Library Council. She works alongside METRO staff to identify trends and technologies, develop workshops and services and manage innovative programs that benefit libraries, archives and museums in New York City. She is also the Program Director for NDSR-New York . “I used my experience as a resident to refine and further develop the NDSR program. I was able to base a lot of the program structure on the NDSR-DC model and the experience of the NDSR-DC cohort.” Margo also says that her job is especially rewarding “because I have the freedom to explore new ideas or projects, and leveraging the phenomenal work of our member community into solutions for the entire library, archive and museum community.”

Seeing the wide scope of positions the residents accepted after finishing the program, it is clear the NDSR has been successful in creating in-demand professionals to tackle digital preservation in many forms across the private and public sectors. The 2014-2015 Boston and New York classes are already underway and the next Washington D.C. class begins in June of 2015 (for more on that, see this recent blog post) . We expect these new NDSR graduates to form the next generation of digital stewards and to reach the same level of success as those in our pilot program.

 

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