A New Year

Hello all! As you have probably noticed, this site has been slightly inactive since last fall, and by slightly, I mean completely. The project started as an idea for a poster presentation I was required to give to complete the University of Iowa’s  School of Library and Information Science program. After that presentation, I got…

Iowa Women’s Archives, Part 6

“I think one of the biggest challenges of archives is convincing people the archives are for them, not just researchers or scholars. Here we are, on the third floor of an imposing building on the campus of the University, so it’s hard to find us in the first place, and then we have very special…

Iowa Women’s Archives, Part 5

“What’s your favorite part about working at Iowa Women’s Archives?” “How to pick a favorite part? It’s a great work environment with fun people and no shortage of work to do. What I love most, I think, is the sense of discovery. Since I do a lot of the social media posts, I’m constantly on…

Iowa Women’s Archives, Part 4

“We’ve had very special projects to preserve the history of underrepresented groups. For example, in the mid-90’s, we did an African American Women in Iowa project. As part of that, we undertook our first oral history project called ‘Giving Voice to Their Memories,’ because this was a group that had very little preserved and written…

Iowa Women’s Archives, Part 3

“Currently, I’m processing the collection of a woman named Ortha Harstad. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Ortha and her husband, of Cedar Rapids, were quite the philanthropists. In the 1960’s, they were sent by their church to Chicago to learn about black rights and they returned to the Cedar Rapids area to conduct…

Iowa Women’s Archives, Part 2

“About a year after I finished my dissertation, my husband, who is also an archivist, my infant son, and I were at the Society of American Archivists Conference in Philadelphia. I was up in the room taking care of my son, and my husband came into the room holding up a piece of paper. He…

Iowa Women’s Archives, Part 1

“My mother was a librarian in elementary school libraries, and both my grandparents worked in college libraries in their later years. So I thought about being a librarian, but I really got the history bug when I was in college. I hated history in high school because it all seemed to be about wars and…

Coralville Public Library, Part 5

“The crux of librarianship to me is helping people. I think most librarians are in this profession because we enjoy helping people and making a real, huge difference in people’s lives. But also, we’re here to make the democratic society work. We help level the playing field between those who can afford access to certain…

Coralville Public Library, Part 4

“I just attended a meeting that had representatives from all sorts of organizations. Lots of them were churches, but the Crisis Center, the Food Pantry, and the Johnson County Human Services were also there. We just talked about what we are all doing to serve people that need a little extra help. It was a…

Coralville Public Library, Part 3

“We’re really happy to be partnering with the Coralville Food Pantry. We started a Food for Fines program with them five years ago, where we take donations for the pantry in lieu of fine money during September. When library staff identified the need with the kids, I sat down with John from the pantry and…

Coralville Public Library, Part 2

“Coralville has a very diverse population. How do you work to meet the needs of different groups?” “I feel like we’ve been getting more into looking at basic needs that aren’t being met. How can we help people out with those things? For example, I felt like our staff kept having conversations about the kids…

Coralville Public Library, Part 1

“What is your favorite part of being a librarian?” “Without a doubt, it’s when I feel I’ve made a difference in someone’s day or life. I also love getting to work with interesting people who care about our community.” Ellen Hampe Alexander, Assistant Director & Reference Services Coordinator, Coralville Public Library