I introduce to you the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Digital Media Strategist . . . Me! This is a new position in the newly-created division of Digital Media and Publications at the Library and it should offer lots of exciting opportunities to explore how the Folger’s digital resources develop. Those of you who have been following this blog and my twitter feed will know that I’ve had an ongoing interest in how digital tools might enable new ways of interacting with special collections, ranging from online publications (like the research blog I created for the Library, The Collation) and social media (like @FolgerResearch) to imagining not-yet-realized possibilities like topographies of books and smell-o-meters and virtual vaults. I can’t say yet what directions this new position will take me in, but I am excited to explore what I can do to make the Folger’s digital presence and offerings as inspiring and revolutionary as their physical holdings.
I confess that I will miss working with undergraduates. I created the Library’s undergraduate program seven years ago and have taught some really wonderful students since then. We explored book history and the joys of researching in special collections together and they energized me in a way I suspect few of them realize. (I am occasionally lucky enough to run into former students who have gone on to graduate school or who continue to be invested in reading and libraries and those moments are, without fail, delightful.) Undergraduate programming will continue at the Folger under the auspices of the Folger Institute, and I’ve promised to teach the Spring 2014 seminar, so I’m not completely cutting my ties to that world.
My own scholarly work will continue to explore how we can bring undergraduates into special collections and how we can share the excitement of exploring material text culture. And—second announcement alert!—before I start in as the Folger’s Digital Media Strategist, I’ll be taking a three-month sabbatical to work on a project about teaching early modern printing. I’ll share more about that down the line, but if you’ve used my syllabus in your own teaching, it would be really helpful for me to hear from you. And if you teach a class—or would like to teach a class—that might avail itself of a textbook on early modern printing, I would really really love to hear from you! Please email me, leave a comment below, or run a broadside off your press and mail it to me!
I continue to believe that special collections are a source of rich and inspiring information to all of us and that both undergraduate research and digital tools are ways to explore and discover those resources. I look forward to sharing more of that with all of you and with working on behalf of the Folger to bringing its richnesses to the public.