Fellow Reflection: Karina Wratschko

Karina Wratschko (@karinanw) currently serves as Special Projects Librarian at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She attended the Forum with support from a Kress+DLF GLAM Cross-Pollinator Fellowship, and as part of a partnership with the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA).

This was my first time attending the DLF Forum and I can say that it was a week to remember. The Forum inspired me with stunning examples of collaborative repositories, project management tools, and resourceful solutions. As a newcomer I was impressed by the inclusive, welcoming environment of the Forum and the grandness of Milwaukee. Throughout the conference speakers encouraged us to think about how we can bring caring into our profession, take on human-centered approaches to our work, build communities of practice, and invite new perspectives.

With the call to action to build an inclusive and diverse professional community ringing in my ear, the notion of recruitment came to mind. It sometimes feels like we espouse diversity and inclusivity but aren’t seeing changes in the workplace. I wonder if engaging new communities in our work could be a way to invite them to the profession.

I had not heard of art librarianship until well after I finished my undergraduate degree. Once I knew about the profession, I knew it was something I wanted to work toward. I wonder if we put more energy into promoting the profession to youth with diverse backgrounds, more of them would set their sights on librarian, archivist, and digital preservation careers.

Keynotes by Stacie William and Jules Bergis urged us all to think about how we serve others, what we can do to create an inclusive community of practitioners, and how to preserve the diversity of our historical records. Reflecting on these themes made me wonder if we can act on the premature demise of Vine might to achieve these goals. Since Twitter announced it will no longer be able to support Vine, the future of the millions of videos is in jeopardy. Vines videos are still viewable for now, but their future is on shaky ground. You may have read NPR’s ‘A Moment Of Silence For The Black And Brown Talent That Grew On Vine’ which references a Pew study on teens and social media use. The Pew study shows almost a quarter of teens use Vine; and of the Vine users Pew surveyed, 31% identified as black (non-Hispanic) and 24% as Hispanic. Could the death of Vine be a relatable entry point to share our profession with new audiences? What if we taught high schoolers how to use web archiving tools like Rhizome’s Webrecorder? Can we share our skills and use this timely lesson to invite underrepresented communities to the profession? — Over Thanksgiving dinner I shared this idea with a friend who is a high school teacher in Philadelphia.  I hope to implement this idea either on my own or as an activity with NDSR Art residents. If anyone has suggestions for how to carry out this proposal I would love to hear from you!

I want to thank DLF and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation’s for giving me an opportunity to learn concrete skills and to think critically about diversity in our professional community.

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