The story of how this all came to be began with the ARLIS-OV conference in Cleveland early in November 2012.
Among a handful of younger people there, I had a rather unique story of how I got into Library Science; after all, not many people come in from Art Conservation. This caught the attention of one of the attendees — a senior member of the Ingalls Library at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Would I be interested in an internship at the Museum?
Well of course! Who wouldn’t be? Several months later, I began my internship at the CMA, driving some 150 miles each way one day a week from May-August.
I did not know what to expect, but I was both thankful and surprised at what I found. The people were so incredibly wonderful, and much to my surprise, one of them grew up in Dilworthtown of all places — and not only that, her father still lived in Glen Mills! And even stranger, friends knew both him and his late wife! Such a small world.
I began by analyzing whether the Ingalls’ collection had titles identified through collections comparison via OCLC, and comparing what knowledge I had of conservation reference sources from my own (if brief) time in conservation to suggest further titles and avenues for exploration.
But the most valuable aspects of the project were speaking with members of the conservation staff themselves. A library exists for the benefit of the people who use it, and in order to to actually serve them one must be willing to speak — but more importantly, to listen. One must respond to needs, which one cannot do by locking oneself away in an office.