You can occasionally take the girl out of the northwest or the library, but you can’t take the northwest libraries out of the girl. After growing up across the northwest in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, Shawn’s travels to the east coast, Great Plains, and southern states taught her that we have the best of everything right here in the Puget Sound. She began working in public and academic libraries during high school & college to pay for her tuition and soon realized that it became much more than an after school job. “My public services, cataloging, and computer experience led to a dream job cataloging digital art and photo images,” Shawn observes.
Shawn left her home in Oregon and moved to the Seattle area. Years of work at a video production studio taught her digital asset management skills (briefly holding the title of “DAM Specialist”); a chance to earn a library degree; and eventually start her own library consulting service, Metazilla.
As the National Digital Newspaper Program coordinator at the Washington State Library (WSL), Shawn combines interests in travelling, libraries, and digital asset management. Her commute between Washington State Library in Olympia and the University of Washington’s (UW) Suzzallo Library in Seattle allows her to work with two great teams of dedicated librarians. “Between WSL and UW I work with half a dozen volunteers, staff, and students adding metadata and text for searching via the Chronicling America website hosted by the Library of Congress.” These papers will eventually be uploaded to the State Library’s historic newspaper site at http://www.sos.wa.gov/history/newspapers.aspx.
In the spring, Shawn will travel to meet librarians across the state to talk about the historic newspapers we are digitizing and to which we are creating valuable access. Shawn reports, “It’s been a lot of fun seeing the great headlines, ads, and images that describe events between the mid-1800s through the early 1920s.” The newspapers directly tie in with our genealogy research and Washington Rural Heritage projects. Every week Shawn hears about other newspaper digitization projects from museums, publishers, and libraries. “It’s an exciting time to read first-hand accounts of ‘the early days.’”
“We are so glad to have someone so capable step into this important project,” notes Marlys Rudeen, Head of Digital and Historical Collections. “Plus, she’s a lot of fun.” Acting State Librarian, Rand Simmons, agrees. “It is wonderful to have Shawn as part of the State Library team. Each week I look forward to the two days that she works at the Central Library in Tumwater.”