New Rose Library Intern Hannah Stubblefield is a graduate student at the University of Illinois pursuing a degree in Library/Information Science.
My name is Hannah, and I am a graduate student in Library and Information science, concentrating in Archives and Special Collections at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. My affinity for working with archival materials, both in preservation and access, grew during my undergraduate studies where I worked as a research assistant to two of my professors working with collection materials for their research projects. I began my graduate degree at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities to gain practical experience alongside my studies have been difficult to obtain as one can imagine! In the field of Library Science gaining experience is a crucial element in learning how to apply what one is learning in the classroom to a real-world, everyday work environment. My program allows students to participate in a practicum (or internship), a guided learning experience while also earning course credit. I chose to embark on this opportunity for my Spring semester this year and this is how I came to Emory.
I know Emory University well having resided in Atlanta for several years and of course, the distinguished Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library for its collections and reputation of engaging communities by providing access to its renowned materials. I connected with a staff member to discuss if participating in a practicum would be a possibility — networking is a wonderful way to connect with colleagues in the field and I have found that many are willing to help students if they are able — and I am grateful to have been granted this opportunity. I am passionate about increasing access to materials for researchers as there is higher demand for collection materials to be made more accessible and available digitally. Additionally, I am passionate about the user-oriented reference side of archives and enjoy the detail-oriented nature of the work to help provide library users with access to a variety of knowledge and resources.
For my practicum, I am working with Elizabeth Roke, the Discovery & Metadata Archivist for the Rose Library on the Veterans of Hope Project collection. This collection contains interviews with numerous human rights activists conducted by Dr. Vincent Harding. Vincent and Rosemarie Freeney Harding, historians, and longtime advocates for social justice, particularly in the Southern Freedom Movement during the 1960s. The VOHP grew out of Harding’s years of dedication to working with and creating a network of friends in social justice movements to teach nonviolence, mentor participants, and explore avenues to racial justice. Oral histories in the VOHP document the lives, influences, and models of activism through their friends and colleagues such as John Biggers, Anne Braden, Elizabeth Catlett, James Foreman, Carol King, James Lawson, Bob Moses, Wallace Deen Muhammed, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, and others. These interviews were conducted by Vincent Harding with occasional aid from his daughter Rachel Harding and a colleague Sudarshan Kapur, a Gandhian Scholar. The collection materials were gifted to the Rose Library by Rachel Harding in 2014. The Veterans of Hope Project continues the important work of its founders today as a 501(3)c non-profit in Denver, Colorado co-directed by Vincent Harding’s daughter Rachel and his niece, Gloria Smith. You can find more information regarding the VOHP non-profit here: https://www.veteransofhope.org/
The Veterans of Hope collection documents social activism that spans decades, communities, and continents. A major challenge for this collection is its size and scope, making it difficult to access. My goal for this project is to increase usability for researchers not only digitally online through Emory’s Aviary platform, https://aviary.libraries.emory.edu/ but also by creating links to the VOHP collection in non-traditional library resources such as Wikidata and Wikipedia to expand discovery of this important collection beyond Emory. By the end of this practicum, I hope to have accomplished providing this accessibility to the recordings allowing them to be fully discoverable online and to provide a more navigable system for researchers to access what they need in this collection. My hope is that researchers will utilize the experiences of the interviewees to engage in conversations about how social activism and human rights movements have changed over time and where their example is utilized as a foundation for modern movements.
Image Credit: Veterans of Hope, CC-BY-4.0, http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/remembering-vincent-harding-enduring-veteran-hope/