Elizabeth Jean Brumfield is currently Distance Services Librarian at Prairie View A&M University and attended the 2017 Forum as an HBCU Fellow. The award, which brought 24 fellows to the conference, was part of a collaborative effort with the HBCU Library Alliance, supported by a grant from IMLS.
The Digital Library Federation conference held in October at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh was my introduction to an organization I did not know existed. While sitting in attendance at the various sessions, I kept asking myself, “Why haven’t I heard of this before?” I learned something new from each session. I have to thank the HBCU Library Alliance and the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the support to attend the DLF Forum. I am a Distance Services Librarian and there were times during the conference that I was amazed at resources available to archivists and others, and found myself figuring out ways I could use those resources. As a Pittsburgher, it was good to visit my hometown as I now live in Texas. To top it off the Steelers were playing and won that weekend. But the highlight for me was not the game but the realization that there were professionals interested in advancing research, communication, activism and social justice, through the preservation and application of digital library technologies. The presentation on Zooninverse blew me away. Zooninverse is a platform for citizen-research, you can actually get volunteers to help you with your research. Amazing. Loretta Parham’s opening presentation was enlightening as well as inspiring. I now have a better understanding as to what I need to do to assist the young generation that has grown up with digital tools and access to information but lacks communication and social skills. I also enjoyed the social gathering at the Warhol Museum. I was able to share a little Pittsburgh history with our tour guide. Our guide was unaware of the Selma Burke Art Center which was in the Pittsburgh East Library area. The center drew many artist to visit Dr. Burke. Unfortunately that is probably a piece of Pittsburgh history that might be lost or perhaps someone might be interested in digging up that history.