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 […]

Connecting Communities Digital Initiative – An Interview with Adriana Marroquin

We are happy to introduce Adriana Marroquin, a Librarian in the ISSN Section, U.S. Programs, Law, and Literature Division. They have joined us temporarily to work with the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI). What is your day-to-day job at the Library? I am a librarian in the ISSN Section. The Library of Congress includes the […]

Blog Round-up: AHHA Fall 2021

This is a guest post by Diana Gibbs, program manager for the Archives, History and Heritage Advanced (AHHA) Internship program.   The Archives, History and Heritage Advanced (AHHA) Internship program wrapped up its Fall season in November 2021. The cozy cohort of 14 remote interns worked on the Library’s digital collections and wrote blog posts and […]

Connecting the Dots with Baseball and Library Online Resources

We hear you! After learning that applicants for CCDI opportunities want to know more about the Library digital collections and how to navigate our website, this post is one in a series of blog posts designed to highlight our various online resources.

What follows is a visual journey of how I was browsing the Library’s digital collections, discovered the By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s collection, found a photo of Cuban-born U.S. major league baseball player Armando Marsans, and began to explore the myriad of resources that emerged.

I knew about the Chronicling America website so Marsan’s image led me to research the collection. This is another resource that provides access to historic newspapers and allows you to select digitized newspaper pages. If you search ‘Armando Marsans,’ you will get 685 results containing his name and a wealth of information about this historical period. Marsans is believed to have left Cuba just before the Spanish-American War in 1898. We invite you to discover sources related to this period within these newspapers collection as well. And if you want to research more about Cuba this guide prepared by librarians of the Hispanic Reading Room is great start.

As I continued the research, I thought of searching the Prints and Photographs online catalog. I discovered more images about Armando Marsans, like the one below of his baseball card portrait, part of the Benjamin K. Edwards Collection.

Armando Marsans, Cincinnati Reds, baseball card portrait (1912)

Searching the main Library’s website resulted in finding the exhibition Baseball Americana (2018-2019). The physical exhibition has now ended but you can still explore the materials here. It includes a section of “Cubans in the Majors” with many useful resources.

I also found classroom materials about baseball. You will find primary sources sets and a teacher’s guide in the online presentation Baseball Across a Changing Nation.

Also, you can view, César Brioso discussing his book, “Havana Hardball: Spring Training, Jackie Robinson, and The Cuban League,” which captures the excitement of the Cuban League’s greatest pennant race and the anticipation of the looming challenge to Major League Baseball’s whites only policy. You can watch the recording of his 2016 presentation here.

Finally, LC Labs, a program that supports the digital transformation at the Library, developed two cool experiments about baseball. Mapping an American Pastime lets you explore baseball collections from the Library and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The other experiment, Library of Congress Colors, lets you discover the Library’s collections through color with this application by Laura Wrubel. Choose the collection “Baseball cards” and browse it by colors.

As you can see all these items narrate a deeper history about baseball in the United States. We leave you now to explore our digital collections with your hands full.

As a tip, refining your results is a good strategy when researching topics such as this one. Also, keep in mind the vocabulary used in the historical period you want to learn more about. All searches can be narrowed down by adding filters to your search. You can limit searches with different options, for example: Original Format, Date, Location, Online Format, and Language. In this video, former Library of Congress interns describe ways to access materials online, and this research guide explains several search strategies to explore our collections.

Until the next post! 👋🏽

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 »

Blog Round-up: Junior Fellows Program 2021

The 2021 Junior Fellows were busy for every minute of the ten weeks of their intensive summer internships, and below, you’ll find the blog posts that they wrote during their brief time in the program. On top of their project work and the many blogs they published, the Fellows produced videos and infographics to showcase […]