Eating (and everything else!) in Austin for ER&L 2015 Attendees

In just one week I’m heading to my first Electronic Resources and Libraries meeting – I won one of the DLF/CLIR + ER&L Cross-Polinator Awards for this year! I’m really excited to go to a conference that’s a bit different than my standard, meet new people, and learn some new things. I’m also really excited for FOOD in Austin – I lived in ATX way back in 2010 and have family and friends in the area, so I’ve visited a bunch, too. Here are my recommendations for eating and other Austin activities for first-timers:

Tacos or DIE, taken at Torchy's in 2010.
Tacos or DIE, taken at Torchy’s in 2010.
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2014: A Picture A Month

2014 was a pretty jam-packed year for me, work and non-work-wise, but I’m still pretty excited that it’s 2015 – I’m looking forward to another year filled with working long hours on projects I’m passionate about, traveling, writing things, trying new foods, etc etc. Here’s a picture from each month in 2014, as a sort of summary of how much work and fun can be packed into a single year:

January 2014: My first North Carolina snow!
January 2014: My first North Carolina snow!
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Year’s End

This is going to sound odd, but I just realized it’s a new year. As in, now that it’s 2014, I guess I can accurately reflect on what happened in 2013, which as it turns out, was quite a lot…

GRADUATION. I completed my MSLIS and MA in May of 2013, after three years of study at Simmons College. Grad school was one of the most simultaneously difficult and rewarding things I’ve ever done, and graduation was definitely bittersweet. My last semester was the only one that took place during 2013, and it was also without a doubt one of the hardest for me – I was working on my thesis, taking a demanding digital libraries class, and working at two amazing-but-time-consuming jobs (Adams Papers & metaLAB). I constantly miss taking classes with amazing professors, writing papers, seeing my old grad pals, and getting student discounts on everything. Of course, finishing my degrees means I also finished my…

THESIS. Completing MA History thesis was similarly a challenging and rewarding experience. “Going Down in History: The Collective Memory of the Titanic” ended up netting me a travel grant and a departmental award, and allowed me to (almost) fully explore a topic I’d casually thought about for years. I wouldn’t trade all those tortuously long reading and editing hours for anything (except perhaps for more reading/writing/editing hours – I’m still playing around with ideas of how I can delve further into Titanica…).


WORK. Perhaps the biggest change of my year was accepting a position at Davidson College and moving in North Carolina in October. It’s my first salaried, full-time gig and changing jobs and moving to an entirely new region has been a bit of a challenge, but overall, I’m very happy with my professional home and the things I get to work on there.


TRAVEL. I went to the UK (London, Southampton, Belfast), Ireland (Dublin, Cork, Cobh), and Canada (Halifax, Vancouver, Victoria). Stateside, I made lots of trips to Providence, NYC, DC, and Philly. I spent a weekend hiking in the Catskills, and a weekend work-ish trip on Cape Cod (Provincetown & Truro). Since moving to North Carolina, I’ve made weekends trips to Asheville, NC; Atlanta & Athens, GA; and Richmond, VA. I went to conferences/ workshops in: College Park, MD; Victoria, BC; Atlantic City, NJ; Cambridge, MA; and Durham, NC. I feel like I’ve gotten to travel plenty throughout 2013, and I’m hoping for similar/ new travels in 2014.

Goodbye to All This

When I moved to Boston three years ago, I instantly hated it – every bad day or negative emotion I had, I blamed squarely on the Hub of the Universe. It didn’t help matters that I had just spent the summer in Austin, TX (a city I was madly in love with), or that I had recently been on two amazing cross-country road trips, or that I had grown up in the shadow of NYC (Boston’s natural enemy, as I was repeatedly reminded), or that I was about to suffer through one of the worst/ snowiest winters Boston had had in years. Boston was cold, foreign, and unfriendly, and I spent the little free time that grad school and work allowed making trips down to see my Providence friends.

The Fenway Victory Gardens in winter.

Over time though, I grew to love Boston. The shift was gradual – from outright hatred to ambivalence, and then slowly to a weird sort of love. I knew I had officially crossed over when a friend of a friend asked me where I was from, and I responded “Boston” rather than “New York” (our mutual friend overheard this, and immediately shouted, “NO SHE’S NOT! She’s a New Yorker!” But then so was he).

Front steps of Harvard’s Widener Library.

Two months ago, I left Boston, but I didn’t really leave it – I moved home to NY but split my week between the two cities, usually taking the train east early in the morning on Tuesdays and then the bus or train back to NY on Thursday or Friday evenings. The commute was designed to save me money, not time or convenience – I could crash at my mom’s in NY, and with friends in Boston during my abbreviated work week. The commute was tiring and being technically “homeless” was an annoyance, but I didn’t mind – I love riding the train, and I liked feeling like I was traveling, even when it was only between two cities that I am intimately familiar with. I was able to hang out with my friends from college and eat delicious pizza, bagels, and potato cones, while still keeping my amazing job and getting to see all my Boston friends. I began taking long walks around Cambridge, trekking from Harvard Square to Central nearly every day, hoarding Mike’s Donuts from Roxbury in my bag while I hunted down the best lattes within a two mile radius of Widener Library (FYI, I’m pretty sure Simon’s Too is God’s Gift to Central). I wandered through the North End for no reason other than that I could. I stayed late at my office every night, met new people, read YA novels on the train, and had more fun than I’d had in months, maybe years. I was finished with graduate school, but occupying that post-grad liminal space where you’re not entirely sure what your future is going to be.

View of the Charles River (and Boston and Cambridge) from the Mass Ave Bridge.

It turns out that my future includes leaving both of these cities that I have a complicated love-hate relationship with – after a lot of thought, I accepted a job in North Carolina. I’m moving to a whole new region in a little over a week, and it feels both exciting and incredibly sad to be leaving behind both the place that I’m from and the place that I’ve grown to love over these last three years.

Pilgrim Beach in Truro, MA.Pilgrim Beach in Truro, MA.

Every College Campus Needs a Henry Moore


Two Henry Moore sculptures spotted in two days –  on the left, “Four Piece Reclining Figure” (1972-73) at Harvard, my current place of employment; and on the right, “Two Large Forms” (1966-69) at SUNY Purchase, my dearly loved alma mater. On Monday, I decided to swing by the ol’ college while I was in Westchester county so that I could finally touch the sculpture – frankly, it’s surprising I didn’t do it when I was at school there since everyone seemed to have climbed all over it, but I was always a white-gloves-while-touching-art kind of person (probably comes with the whole archivist/ librarian thing). In fact, our student ID’s featured a background of the Henry Moore being clambered on by several students:

So This Is Commencement

I finished graduate school two months ago, and sometimes it’s still hard to remember that I’m not going back in the fall – to be honest, I already miss going to classes and writing papers! Some commencement-grams, including silly-sleeved gown, and brag-y photo of the thesis award I won:

Can you tell that my Dad made me pose immediately after leaving commencement?
Silly as it is, getting nominated for and then receiving this award is probably my most proud moment thus far in my life. My advisor and readers are amazing women who really pushed me to do better.

But now that graduate school is well and truly over, I’ve set some summer/ fall goals – some things I wanted to do during school but never had the time, things I want to accomplish in general, and some things that I just think would improve the quality of my life. In no particular order:

  1. Re-read all of the books I was assigned in class and thought were really interesting, but had to skim a bit. The top of this list is Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, followed closely by Ross Harvey’s Digital Curation: A How-to-do-it Manual.
  2. Speaking of reading, maybe finish all of the titles I haven’t gotten to yet on the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels list?
  3. Learn to play that ukulele I bought 2 years ago and promptly put away in a closet.
  4. Update this blog more regularly!
  5. Learn to ride a bike, finally.
  6. Present at a conference.
  7. Publish – in professional organizations newsletters, journals, on my work’s blog, wherever!
  8. Pare down closet and bookcase to essentials – I own way too much stuff…
  9. Make sure to keep in touch with everyone who’s moved away and I miss, with my favorite old professors, with my cousins, with former coworkers and bosses. It’s so easy for me to get busy and forget to do this.