Welcome to the E.H. Little Library, Jacob!

Jacob and Avie age 1

You’re just beginning to get to know the E.H. Little Library – what’s your background and how has it contributed to your work in the library? 

My usual joke when I talk about my professional background is that I’ve managed to do things that interest me *and* stay employed, which may only be true because (a) I’m a lifelong learner and (b) have been fortunate to find a professional home in higher education. I grew up in Virginia and have a BA and MA from UVA; I taught in middle and high school in between the two. My PhD, from Texas A&M, on early modern English literature and drama, culminated with my dissertation on Shakespeare and friends. My subspecialty in the material book and book history, maybe surprisingly, led me into digital humanities and project management, which led me into liberal arts college libraries. After working on the Early Modern OCR Project, I was the Mellon Digital Scholar for the Five Colleges of Ohio, a position in which I was helping small cross-functional teams imagine and develop digital pedagogical projects. This led me into my work as Digital Scholarship Librarian and Director of the Collaborative Research Environment (CoRE) at the College of Wooster, where I was a liaison librarian, developed a program for digital media creation, and taught a digital humanities course each spring. I’m excited to weave all of these threads together in my new role!

Whitaker age 3

What about the position of Assistant Director of Digital Learning interested you?

If I’m honest, I was mostly interested in working with Davidson folks. I’d encounter a number of admirably smart and generous students, staff, and faculty in my time on the digital humanities/pedagogy/scholarship circuit, so I guessed that working with and learning from them could only be wonderful. So far I’m right. Tied up in that, too, is the opportunity to work among some impressive teams to shepherd the library toward “the library of the future.” It’s a unique opportunity to help shape a truly monumental enterprise.

Are there any projects you’re particularly passionate about introducing to Davidson?

I’m keenly interested in the intersections between “the material” and “the digital,” and collaborating with the Letterpress Lab and the Makerspace on workshops, for example, would be a great way to think with the community about those intersections. More generally, I’m excited to explore the ways in which we all are implicated in “the digital”: the overlapping frameworks for digital and information literacy, critical engagement with digital infrastructures via Davidson Domains, and digital humanities endeavors that live in and grow out of the library.

You haven’t been here long yet, but what has been your most memorable or surprising experience at Davidson thus far?

Both memorable and surprising: my new library colleagues composed and performed a song for Holly and me on our first day of work. It was a riff on “Hello, Dolly” and it was incredible.

What are three things you want Davidson’s community to know about you?

While I’m not myself musical, my Spotify history would betray a wide array of musical tastes: from “Karma Chameleon” to Kendrick Lamar, from EDM to EPMD, from Travis Tritt to A Tribe Called Quest. Although I’ve never done karaoke, I know the words to an embarrassing number of 80s and 90s pop, hip-hop, and (yes) country songs. (Oh! You asked for three things I *want* the Davidson community to know about me!)

I thrive when I’m expending creative energy. I’m a maker at heart. Often that’s expressed in my work designing workshops or building programs or just doing digital humanities. However, I also come from a family of (folk) artists and I am trying to earn the title “hobbyist woodworker,” though shop time is sparse these days, not least because…

… my two kids, Whitaker (3) and Avie (1) pretty much occupy all of my time. They’re hilarious and smart and they challenge me every day, and every second I get to spend with them and Catie, my wife, is a treasure.


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