Celebrating and Supporting Indigenous Poetry

At the end of April/National Poetry Month, the Library of Congress will celebrate Joy Harjo, the first Native American U.S. poet laureate, as her three terms in the position come to an end. There will be public programs—which you can read about here—as well as a unique gathering that also honors her legacy: the historic […]

Blog Post Round-up: 2021 AHHA Interns

This is a guest post by Diana Gibbs, program manager for the AHHA Internship Program. For more information on the opportunities, visit AHHA Remote Internship 2022 and AHHA Onsite Internship 2022. Applications for the 2022 Fall AHHA internships are due April 25, 2022. Click to watch the video below featuring our 2021 AHHA interns! At […]

Connecting Communities Digital Initiative: Introducing Olivia Dorsey

We are pleased to announce that Olivia Dorsey has joined the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) as a program specialist. Olivia comes to CCDI from the Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud (CCHC) initiative at the Library. We interviewed Olivia about her role in CCDI, her experience in digital history and genealogy, and the opportunities […]

Meet the 2022 Community Collections Grant Recipients

The Library of Congress American Folklife Center is pleased to announce the inaugural recipient cohort of the Community Collections Grant program. Beginning in March, these 10 awardees will work over the next 12 months to complete a range of engaging and meaningful research. This work will ultimately be included in the Library’s various permanent collections. This series […]

Apply Now for the 2022 AHHA Internship Program

Applications are open today, March 21 through Monday, April 25, 2022 for the Fall 2022 session of the Archives, History and Heritage Advanced (AHHA) Internship Program. This year, AHHA will be a hybrid program that includes both onsite and remote projects. Interns from near and far are able to participate. For more information, visit AHHA […]

Introducing Marya McQuirter, CCDI Program Director

We are delighted to introduce Marya McQuirter, the new program director for the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI). CCDI is a four-year program encouraging creative uses of the Library’s digital collections to center the histories, lives and experiences of Black, Indigenous and other communities of color. To learn more about CCDI, click here. You know firsthand […]

Connecting Communities Digital Initiative – An Interview with Giselle M. Avilés

We are happy to introduce Giselle M. Avilés, Librarian in the Hispanic Reading Room, who recently completed a detail with the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI).

What is your job at the Library?

Mural by Cândido Portinari in the Hispanic Division Reading Room, Thomas Jefferson Building. Shawn Miller, photographer. 2019. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

I am a reference librarian in the Hispanic Reading Room of the Latin American, Caribbean, and European Division. In this role, I recommend the acquisitions of materials from several South American countries, do outreach, work on events (now virtual too), provide reference via different mediums such as LibAnswers, email, phone, and in person. I also create reference tools with the Library’s vast materials as research guides and digital storytelling publications by using StoryMaps. And I have to say that the Hispanic Reading Room is one of the most beautiful in the Library, where it invites patrons to do research in a welcoming and colorful atmosphere. The reading room’s architectural marvels include four impressive murals by Brazilian artist Cândido Portinari, Spanish inspired talaveras and balconies, and mudéjar chandeliers.

Giselle M. Avilés. Photo by Eudal A. Fernández

What did you find interesting about the CCDI?

I find interesting the focus on furthering the understanding of United States history through our collections and the creation of innovative projects by the communities themselves. As a reference librarian, sometimes it has been challenging to find materials of Latin American heritage in the United States in online format. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about this grants program and its objectives. CCDI has a great mission on their hands, and I am very much looking forward to seeing and using the completed projects as reference tools. The Library’s digital collections will be a wonderful corpus of materials for Americans of all heritages to learn more about their communities and their histories. It is exciting to see how the Library is changing towards more digital resources where people of all backgrounds, from all over the world, can access. As a researcher, this is extremely valuable!

What are some of your responsibilities as part of the CCDI team?

I helped the team by contributing to the Widening the Path blog, responding to inquiries from potential grantees, organizing the panels for application review. It was a wonderful experience to learn first-hand about current cultural heritage projects and funding practices. I cannot recommend the opportunity enough to anyone interested in learning from other offices while still working for the Library. I feel privileged to work for an organization that allows staff to work on these temporary assignments and make connections with other divisions. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the CCDI team!

What was the most interesting project you work for during your detail?

Apart from learning the various steps of the grants process, I developed more knowledge about multiple LC collections. By contributing to the blog Of the People: Widening the Path, I discovered and explored more digital collections as well as reference materials from LC Labs. The writing exercise allowed me to think about the person on the other side of the computer/cellphone and how my blog posts were going to help in discovering the richness of our online resources. This is why I add many links to my blog posts! I want patrons to “get lost” on our website and find lots of treasures.

The Codex Quetzalecatzin. 1593. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division

What are your favorite collections and/or items?

This is a difficult question to answer, but I will mention several favorite items and collections. The 16th century Codex Quetzalecatzin (you can learn more about it here), the Cândido Portinari murals, the PALABRA Archive audio recordings, Jack Delano and Edwin Rosskam’s photographs about Puerto Rico’s cultural and economic changes, a Peruvian miniature tunic (archaeological item part of the William and Inger Ginsberg Collection), the 17th century book The Art of the Quechua Language, and 15th century Bartolomé de las Casas statement of opinion. Here you have a mix of very ancient and modern resources in different formats,–an example of why the Library of Congress is an amazing place for your research. When I say you can “get lost” on our website, I mean it!

Sugar cane workers resting, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Jack Delano, photographer. 1941. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division










Subscribe to Of the People: Widening the Path blog — it’s free! — and the largest library in world history will send cool stories straight to your inbox.

Explore also

Of the People: Widening the Path program website For more information on the Of the People program.

Connecting Communities Digital Initiative page To learn more about the different grant opportunities. 

Library of Congress Digital Collections The largest online collection of Library materials with over 1 million items. You will find resources about American history, world cultures, folklife, art, architecture, science, performing arts, among many other topics.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog These materials are also in the Digital Collections, but here you can narrow your search on items specifically to photographs and posters.

Library of Congress Research Guides Library’s guides organized by research topic and collections – these include both online materials, and materials only available on site.

Library of Congress StoryMaps Multimedia storytelling publications on Library’s materials that can include rare books, photographs, audio recordings, music, maps, and more. Some of these StoryMaps include materials in other languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and Nahuatl.

Classroom Materials at the Library These are organized primary source collections of online materials that are often paired with teaching and student guides. Read more »

Daniel A. P. Murray – A Legacy of Collecting Black History

As Black History Month 2022 comes to a close, we are reminded of the many contributions of Library of Congress staffers over the years who have worked to collect, preserve, and share an American story that also includes the broad experiences and contributions of African Americans. Black History Month itself has its origins with the […]

Researching Haiti, Black Liberation Movements, and US History

In this Connecting the Dots post, we highlight Library materials about Haiti and its links to United States history, inspired by the work of Taylor Healey-Brooks, Librarian-in-Residence, and Alexis Bracey, Huntington Fellow, who created the Freedom in the Black Diaspora: A Resource Guide for Ayiti Reimagined. The guide offers an insightful corpus of materials that […]

LOCI Intern Spotlight: Xiomara Chinn Griffin

On this blog, we plan to regularly feature the interns whose hard work positively impacts the Library. Today’s interview is with a 2022 Spring participant in the Library of Congress Internship program (LOCI), Xiomara Chinn Griffin. Describe Your Background. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I was not more than a few months old before […]