I have finally earned my official “Librarian credentials” this year, my MSIS (Master of Science in Information Studies) and realized that I haven’t really posted here about my experiences working in public libraries. As I thought about what I would most like to share, I looked through the few images I had saved.
Clockwise: 1) Springtime terrariums, 2) Winter fun “Once Upon a Time” (Oil-pan/Magnet storyboard for interactive play), 3 &4) kids and volunteers having fun in our play area, 5) parting gift from a Stitch Night friend, 6) Yoda hat made at Stitch Night, 7) weeded books to send home with some summer helpers. Center: Linda Wertheimer interviewing members of our Stitch Night community about the upcoming (2012) election.
Working at Fairfield library introduced me to some of the very best people in Richmond. We earned each other’s trust over books and programming, hot cups of tea and shared goodies, hospitality, homework and resumé writing. I was inspired by many patrons and their ability to overcome steep obstacles. We endured some challenging times together – many were single mothers, just like I was. The determination and perseverance I witnessed inspired me to leave behind self doubt, and get to a place where I could make a bigger difference in the world.
When it came time for me to leave because I had decided to go back to school and earn my credentials, many members of the community came to wish me well. Those families continue to be an inspiration to me to advocate for the under served and provide opportunities beyond the library.
Fairfield Library has a new building, completed in 2019. Though I know it is beautiful and a dream come true for the community, I will always love and miss the old Fairfield, and the community that fostered in me the desire to do more with my life.
According to a Kiersey analysis, I am an Idealist/Champion ENFP, meaning that I am curious, creative, authentic, loyal, dependable, service oriented, articulate and flexible. My life in archives the past two years taught me a lot about myself. The work was endlessly fascinating, but incredibly isolating, and it became clearer to me that I need to be part of a team of people who share the same interests of public service, where my love of people and resourcefulness are fully appreciated as assets. Helping people solve problems, tackle challenges, and find resources to better their lives would make me feel excited to go to work every day. It’s what I’ve spent my whole adult life preparing for! Incorporating elements of playfulness and fun, both with the public and with fellow employees, makes the everyday mundanity feel less heavy, and I find that people appreciate having an extra set of hands pitching in.
I have been thinking about ways to reach people who have never used the library, for one reason or another. One partnership that could make inroads is with hospitals and birthing centers. I’d like to put together a gift bag for new parents with a bilingual pamphlet describing library services, a board book to keep with an informative sticker on the back, and an invitation to join.
Another program to consider is for libraries to join Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, which mails a book to children every year, at a very low cost. Getting books into children’s hands should be a priority!
The ARTFL Project, a collaboration between the French government and the University of Chicago, is a rich archive of digitized French literature with English translations. The Encyclopédie is the “crown jewel” of its “Legacies of The Enlightenment.” Labor laws and Guild restrictions of that time forbade women employment. Yet illustrations confirm women were working with men in these forbidden roles. Undocumented, women are not “searchable,” in effect rendering them silent.
I created a finding aid (publication pending) with descriptive introduction and metadata, indexing the working women, giving future scholars a more complete understanding of women’s historical significance within the workforce.
I was invited by the Co-Chair of The New Mexico Women’s March to design the media for The New Mexico Women’s March 2020, taking place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at theirCivic Plaza. The designs were to be used on their social media pages, and during the presentations. I designed a header GIF file for the Women’s March’s Facebook page, a GIF announcement of the event for their Instagram page, and two geotagged Snapchat filters.
Here are examples of that work.
Geotagged filters for Snapchat
The Header for the Facebook page for The New Mexico Women’s March, 2020
GIF announcement of the event for their Instagram page
In eighty years of Hogg Foundation history, Texas communities have experienced many challenging times. As trained and passionate care givers from diverse educational, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, providing resources and expert support during good and bad times is what we do. It’s what we’ve always done, because it is who we are. Below are a few examples documenting the Foundation’s supportive history.
World War II
The tragic attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the launching of the U.S. into World War II created complex and rapid societal, economic, familial and demographic changes and a great number of needs and demands for the newly formed Hogg Foundation. To meet these needs, Foundation staff developed and hosted seminars, workshops and training sessions. In doing so, the Foundation helped men in the military, their wives and children, and thousands of employees working in industry for the first time, cope with their greatly changed society. By war’s end, the Foundation had worked with an astonishing 2,000 groups in 152 communities, helping over 400,000 people.
At the conclusion of the war, the Foundation announced that chaplains trained in counseling had reduced the number of psychiatric discharges at Fort Hood by over 50 percent.* To build on this success, in 1955 The Foundation awarded grants to continue training military chaplains as mental health counselors. Month-long training projects and funding for publications were provided “to present recent knowledge about the dynamics of human behavior.” Seminars helped chaplains provide “preventive counseling” to stressed soldiers. In return, the chaplains provided feedback about the types of mental health challenges they encountered. By 1960, Dr. Bernice Milburn Moore had served as the director of eight month-long seminars, attended by 241 chaplains.
Throughout wartime and beyond, The Hogg Foundation’s leader and Director, Dr. Robert Sutherland, fought for causes that today we call social justice. Sutherland urged audiences of civic leaders, educators, and employers to resist the growing propensity of people “learning to hate” citizens whose ancestors came from Axis/enemy countries to the United States, stating that it was “proof of the need for positive mental health… (urging people) to hate a bad system of control, but not a fourth of the world’s population” and to find instead “purposeful activities” that could focus anxieties productively. In addition to fighting systemic racism, the Foundation and Sutherland attacked sexism. Proclaiming that “The Women’s Army Corps has helped destroy the final tabu [sic], assuring an equal status for women in the post-war world,” and further declaring in one talk:
(the Women’s Army Corps have) helped remove the few lingering superstitions about the efficiency of women workers. When during wartime, women can replace men in important types of military work, their ability to be trained for almost any type of service is established…(which) should lead to the more complete acceptance of women in the task of post-war planning. In the future, conference tables will have men and women working together planning the solution of international problems, as well as home front affairs.**
The promised societal changes from those wartime experiences have taken much longer and have sadly been diluted over the years as wartime circumstances “readjusted”, in spite of Sutherland’s optimistic, powerful words and actions. However, positive changes played out wherever Sutherland was in charge, with the Foundation continuing to hire and employ women in pivotal roles.
Tornadoes Over Texas
Dr. Harry Moore’s book, Tornadoes Over Texas, published by UT Press in 1958, was an in depth study of the effects and consequences of the devastating tornadoes which hit Waco and San Angelo, Texas on the same day, May 11, 1953. To compound the devastation even further for San Angelo, another storm hit almost exactly one year later, crippling the rebuilding process. With a broad spectrum of experts collaborating on the detailed overview, Tornadoes Over Texas described more than the events themselves, evaluating the short and long term aftermath for these communities after the initial storm damage. Dr. Moore, a professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, soon became known as an expert on disaster research. He and his team dissected the societal costs, financial and otherwise, of the storms and subsequent institutional failures.
Upon closer inspection, many legal and governmental problems were revealed, which had exacerbated and even multiplied the tragedies. As is often the case, the worst impacts were further magnified for those from minority ethnic groups and those lower in socio economic status. Based on this research, groundbreaking work developing detailed plans for disaster preparedness and forming public safety nets began in earnest. This pioneering work was done with support from The Hogg Foundation, and from other departments across UT including the Office of Emergency Planning of the President, the Office of Civil Defense, and the dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Alton Burdine.*** It established the course of disaster preparedness planning for the coming decades nationwide, most importantly the subsequent evolvement of mental health strategies to help communities cope, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
Another lasting legacy grew from this study of disasters and their impacts on society in the form of The Moore Fellowship at The University of Texas at Austin. Established in 1995 by the estate of Dr. Bernice Moore, the award is made in honor of her late husband’s vocation studying the human experience in crisis and adversity. Candidates are doctoral students from diverse fields such as psychiatry, nursing, social work, sociology and other relevant research fields. Eligible students apply for an unrestricted, one-time $20,000 award in support of completion of their dissertations.
These examples from The Hogg Foundation’s historical archives demonstrate the profound dedication of our team, which we continue to carry with us today. Whether by providing direct financial support as we have done in times of distress like in 2017 via The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, or through collaborative works with grantees, such as PeerFest in 2016, The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has proven its ongoing commitment to finding and sharing innovative, restorative, and effective methods for helping Texans thrive.
Legislative History, Federal Disaster Act: Public Law 875, (81st Congress – 2nd Session).
Moore, H. E. (1964). An island within an island; A story of Hurricane Carla … from and the winds blew. Austin, TX: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, University of Texas.
Riley, J. A. (1971). Disaster – storm ahead. Austin: The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, University of Texas.
Circuit Riders for Mental Health, p. 35
** Circuit Riders for Mental Health, p. 36
***(from the forward written by Dr. Robert Sutherland in 1971’s Hogg Foundation publication, “Disaster…Storm Ahead”).
As I began thinking about how to create an exhibit that would allow me to use my creativity as an expression of gratitude for what a gift this experience has been for me, and for the gifts that have been bestowed to our communities in greater Texas, I was overwhelmed by the immensity of conveying it all. So I chose instead of packing the small exhibit cases with every single high and low point, to primarily focus on the primary documents I encountered while exploring the materials from the Regional Foundation Library files. So much of HF history was reflected in these files, but when I first started processing them, many made no sense to me: why would there be so many papers relating to World War II, including the participation of women in the work force? Did the work of Dr. Bernice Moore with training Chaplains relate?
The inspiration I found to tie these links together came from a 1982 pamphlet, “Relatedness: Pearls on a String of Life” by Bert Kruger Smith, which I chose to make the title of the exhibit. I also used the pearls as a design element, hanging the title placard with a multi-colored strand, and a “pearl” graphic listing the Core Value demonstrated by these highlights of Hogg History. Though the pamphlet was about elders in the community being engaged with one another and their community, the sentiment it expressed was universal. The Hogg Foundation was established to create a legacy of compassion and education, and we, along with the state of Texas, are both beneficiaries and benefactors of that legacy. Linked together like a strand of pearls, collectively we build on that legacy with scholarship, research, and guiding principles of working for the greater good.
Choosing historical events to highlight was challenging. The foundation has packed a lot of action into its eighty years! So I chose to focus primarily on information I found while processing the material I had found while processing the Regional Foundation Library’s collections. I was not familiar with much of the foundation’s history, other than what I had read in Circuit Riders when I first started at The Hogg Foundation, and it was not until I started trying to incorporate materials into existing archival collections and categories that the way the materials belonged became apparent to me. For instance, there were many documents about women entering the workforce during World War II, some from as far away as the United Kingdom. What did this have to do with The Hogg Foundation? Well, it turns out that Sutherland’s Circuit Riders were an essential support network for communities in Austin and across Texas. Creating workshops, seminars and training sessions to help families, particularly women who were working for the first time outside the home. The assistance for communities who were dealing with the repercussions of a society at war was an incredible gift to Texans. Additionally, there were ripples of change that developed as a consequence of these workshops, including the 20 plus year program helping train military chaplains which was spearheaded by Bernice Milburn Moore.
Also found in the archives was a book titled “The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health: The First Three Decades.” Many personal, first-person narratives regarding those years were inside. These stories were gathered as a tribute to Dr. Sutherland, and were presented to him as a gift upon his retirement. Unfortunately, though the people who participated in the project are named, none of the stories is actually attributed to a specific author. It is a very short book, filled with heart-warming examples of the kind of community that was engendered during those decades.
I challenged myself to find ways to make the exhibit more dynamic and multi-layered to create visual interest. Using the technique of having the cards for display mounted on foam core, and building up layers by using fat double sided tape, I was able to stair-step some of the cards, and it created a new “flow” of information. Another challenge was working with new materials, including acrylic sheets (see pictures of the logo I created of Strategic Pillars and the modified Hogg Foundation emblem) as well as the use of transparent vinyl. The effect turned out beautifully, but had multiple unforeseen obstacles.
Researching for my Honors Thesis regarding the illustrations within the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot began with obtaining the primary sources in the form of five miniaturized physical copies of the original illustration plates, available from the Fine Arts Library’s reserves collection. Further study via our Libraries’ databases brought me to the ARTFL website, The University of Chicago’s collaborative website with the French government. Dedicated to providing digital access to the articles and illustrations of the Encyclopedie in French, I was able to read their translations into English there, as well as see the plates digitally, which allowed me to zoom into the pictures, which was very helpful. The copies of the plates from the Fine Arts Library were so small, I had to wear magnifying glasses to see any detail.
It was not until I had read online through many of the 2,052 search results that came up with my library search, that I found the articles that would really compel my research. Two articles regarding the roles of women during this time had me completely fascinated, and wanting to know more. Dena Goodman’s article, “Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophic Ambitions” from the journal Eighteenth-Century Studies, via JSTOR, asserts that self-educated women provided “safe spaces” for philosophic discourse via salons for philosophers from across all classes and occupations. The article by Geraldine Sheridan, “An Other Text: Rationalist Iconography and the Representation of Women’s Work in the Encyclopédie” from the journal Diderot Studies, was the article that most impressed me. Sheridan discusses France’s labor force, women’s roles within it, and how women and men were treated as if they were of different societal classes. She reveals that there is so much more to learn from the Encyclopédie than even Diderot imagined, for we have a somewhat sanitized “snapshot in time” of everyday life in France illustrated for us. By looking beyond the mechanical illustrations, we can glimpse their society in action.
My original short paper was difficult for me to write, simply because I felt limited on time, and felt that the subject deserved to be studied more in depth. So, when I was invited by Professor Anderson-Riedel to write an Honors Thesis, it was with great gusto that I agreed to continue this research throughout 2017, and to presenting my finalized paper at the Honors Symposium in April 2018.
I was thrilled to find out through Professor Anderson-Riedel that Sheridan has published a book entitled “Louder Than Words: ways of seeing women workers in eighteenth-century France”. Professor Anderson-Riedel requested that the Libraries purchase this book, and it has since been added to UNM’s Parish Library collection. It has been instrumental to my ongoing study.
The timing of this research has made my quest all the more germane. As women’s roles in modern society are being vigorously challenged in political spheres, and as women push back against harassment, for more equitable wages, and recognition for our work, understanding how “traditional values” are embedded within our history is paramount. The limits of Enlightenment thinkers to recognize their equals gives us insight into how difficult it is, even for the most educated among us, to let go of our ingrained biases. Even the most educated, progressive philosophers of our society are the result of our collective cultural roots.