Meet Chris Marshall, Indiana Division Digital Collections coordinator

Since Jan. 30, 2017, Chris Marshall has been the digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library. He’s previously held positions at Conner Prairie, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana State Museum and the Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL). Recently, he took time to answer some questions and here are the responses.

Chris Marshall, smiling and working.

Describe some of your work duties?
I answer reference questions, either in person or by email or chat, but the biggest part of my job is digitizing materials from the Indiana Division’s collection and building digital collections.

How does this job compare to previous jobs?
When I worked at the Indiana State Museum, I worked with objects in the Decorative Arts Collection. This was in the pre-digital world. I also curated a major exhibit about early 19th century furniture and architecture. This required researching and searching for furniture in the collections.

This position reminds me of part of my previous job at IndyPL’s Central Library. Here, I’m focusing on the digital access of the collections by providing information and research materials to patrons all over the world. I often wonder how many people in Frankton, New Zealand might be researching something in Frankton, Indiana. I don’t really know if they are, but it amazes me that just twenty years ago, the access would have been limited and required more time and patience.

Educational background?
I have a B.A. in American History and French from Ball State University. I have an M.A. in Museum Studies, also known as Historical Administration, from Eastern Illinois University, with an internship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Last but not least, I got my Master of Library Science at IUPUI/Indiana University.

What sparked your interest in collections?
When I was in middle school, I was a history geek. We took a trip to the Anderson Public Library and there we learned about genealogy. That sparked my interest. In hindsight, I was glad that I started working on it then because it gave me the chance to talk with the older members of my family and I learned a lot about the family. From that, I found my love of research and cultural history and learned what it was like to live during the times I was researching. I was always more interested in the social and cultural aspects of history, as opposed to political or military histories.

Better than Guy Fieri.

Julia Child vs. Guy Fieri?
Julia Child without a doubt! She pioneered teaching cooking and look at what that lead to.  She knew who to teach and encourage and do it in such a way that made me smile and want to actually learn to de-bone a duck. No, I have not done it yet.

Guy seems to be more of the celebrity chef. Julia was humble in her work and career.

Hobbies?
If I’m not writing or working on my books that I have yet to find an agent for, I’m being crafty. During my Conner Prairie days, I learned to knit, so I have a lot of yarn stashed away for future projects. I usually knit while catching up on movies that I didn’t see at the theater or while binge-watching television shows like “Grace and Frankie” or “The Twilight Zone” or “The Simpsons.” Gotta get back to “The Walking Dead;” not my favorite, but it grabbed my attention. I’ve also learned simple bookbinding.

The books I’ve written range from a middle-grade time-traveling trilogy to a haunted hotel in upstate New York to a secret love affair. Some are complete and some are in the works. I also maintain a blog with some of my short stories and miscellaneous posts about my observations on life. I am also a Lego maniac and I’m working on a series of blog posts using my Lego sets. My favorite books are ones set in museums. I’m currently reading “Relic.” I re-read “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” but I definitely prefer the 1970s movie version over the book.

Best album of all-time?
I don’t have one. My parents had a huge record collection and I would listen to variety of music. I like individual songs more than one particular artist, so I listen to a variety ranging from Benny Goodman to Rufus Wainwright to the Boston Pops to Doris Day to Frank Sinatra to the Beatles to Elton John. The list goes on…

What do you hope to gain from your experience here at the state library?
To learn more about Indiana history. My goal as the Digital Collections coordinator is to have a least one digitized item from each county of the state in the digital collection. So far, so good on that one. I also hope that this might lead to a high-level position; maybe manage a whole digital department somewhere someday.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.

Ryan Brown interviews Ryan Brown

Indiana_State_Library_Exterior_Ohio Street Entrance_2_web

Ryan Brown has been Communications Director at the Indiana State Library since November 10, 2014. February 24, 2016, will be his last day at the library. In this State Library exclusive, Ryan Brown interviews Ryan Brown. Let the fun and confusion begin.

RB: You have been at the Indiana State Library for over a year. What are a few of the highlights of your tenure?

RB: I’m glad that you asked. There have been many interesting projects I have worked on over the past year such as the new brochures, door coverings, banners, annual report, etc. One of my favorite partnerships that I developed was with the Indiana Department of Education. We shared a booth together at the Indiana State Fair last summer and distributed information about the services available at the library to thousands of Hoosiers from all over Indiana. It was great to get out into the community and tell people face-to-face about the awesome collections at the library, as well as our statewide services.

CaptureRB: What are some of those collections and services?

RB: The Indiana State Library has one of the largest genealogy collections in the Midwest. It also has a huge inventory of rare books and manuscripts, government documents, newspapers, large print books, as well as talking books and Braille. There are also many online services available to Indiana residents like INSPIRE.in.gov, Indiana Memory and Hoosier State Chronicles. All of these items and services are free to Indiana residents. If you have any questions about the collection or services, you can Ask-a-Librarian.

RB: Wow! That is a lot of stuff!

RB: We are starting to sound like a commercial.

RB: Nah, it’s just good PR.

[Ryan Brown looks at Ryan Brown in disbelief]

RB: Anyway…it seems like a year is not a long time to be at a job, why leave so soon?

RB: The main reason I took a new job was so I could eventually move to South Bend where my wife is originally from.

RB: South Bend?

RB: Yes. You are probably thinking, “It’s cold up there and you are not a Notre Dame fan, so why would you want to move to South Bend?”

RB: Exactly!

RB: Do you remember a few years back when you promised your wife that when you were ready to have children the two of you would make an effort to move to that area?12019970_1134785493213457_3248265130995280150_n

RB: Oh yeah, what was I thinking? [Chuckling]

RB: Well…the time has come.

RB: Wait a second; am I going to be a father soon?

RB: Not at the moment, but you were going to start trying.

RB: Ah yes…now I remember…what else?

RB: I would say overall that I have enjoyed my time here at the State Library. There are a lot of great people on staff and working here allowed me to practice many of the skills I learned at school. Plus, we had many accomplishments in that short time period. We saw significant increases in event attendance as well as use of our services like INSPIRE.in.gov.

RB: What are some of the challenges you faced at the library?

RB: One of the biggest challenges was getting the media interested in what goes on at the State Library. Though, we did have a ton of press about our partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

RB: Explain…

RB: The State Library acquired State Park passes from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that are available at local libraries so patrons may check them out. The program started in January and has been very popular amongst patrons and the media. Anyone interested in the park passes should contact their local library for more information.

RB: What is your favorite item or part of the Indiana State Library?

RB: That is a difficult question that you always ask people in interviews. I guess if I had to narrow it down to one item, it would be the original State Flag. I believe that the Indiana Historical Bureau will be taking the flag around the state to various locations this year for the bicentennial.Bicentennial_Logo_Color

RB: Bicentennial? What is that?

RB: Don’t you know? 2016 marks the 200th year Indiana has been a state.

RB: Oh yeah? What is the library doing to celebrate?

RB: The library has a bunch of projects it is involved with including the new Indiana Young Readers Center, Hoosier State Chronicles, Bicentennial Toolkits for Libraries, Bicentennial Manuscript Collection, and many more!

RB: Thank you for taking a few moments of your day and participating in this interview. It has been a pleasure speaking with you. Since Wednesday is your last day, how would someone contact the library if they need info about the Wednesday Word or any communications questions?

RB: It has been great interviewing with you Ryan. If you are a librarian or library needing to reach the communications department, please email the State Library at communications@library.in.gov.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Director of Communications Ryan Brown. Click here for more information on the Indiana State Library.