Meet the Staff is a Q&A series on Out of the Stacks that highlights the Archives and Information Services staff of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
In 50 words or less, describe what you do.
I’m a Reference Librarian, and I answer questions from people researching or just plain curious about Texas history, government, and culture! I’m the lead for our Genealogy and Main collections, which involves identifying very old books that need maintenance and very new books to collect and make available to researchers.
Why did you choose your profession?
I was a student worker at my university’s library because I heard it was a fun place to work, and figured if I wanted to fully immerse myself in academia, I better understand how to use the library. I started in technical services, then moved to circulation, then to interlibrary loan, where I really found the heart of what libraries are all about: making information available to the public without discrimination or judgment. It’s a wonderful sentiment that speaks strongly to me, and so I pursue it!
What is your favorite document, photo, or artifact in TSLAC’s collection?
This changes over time as I’m exposed to more and more of what TSLAC has to offer, but currently my favorite publication in our collection is a periodical called The Woman’s Viewpoint. This was a female-led periodical published in Houston between 1923 and 1926 which sought to provide a space and vehicle for Texas women to share their opinions “fully, frankly, and fearlessly.” The magazine offered articles on a variety of topics which the editor considered of interest to women: government, politics, and women’s right to vote; environmental concerns; the importance of maintaining good health and recreation; and fashion, movies, music, and other cultural affairs.
One of the reasons I enjoy this periodical so much is because it’s very easy for me to think of Texas in the 1920s the way my family has described it: lots of cows, farms, and not much to do. This magazine transports me to a grander view of Texas: one of daring, educated, urban women dedicated to building strong homes and communities, with the understanding that their voices were critical to the shaping of our state and country.
When you’re not busy what do you like to do for fun?
I play guitar in a prog-rock band called Dream Eater, and enjoy writing, rehearsing, and playing shows around town; come see us! I also practice yoga regularly and occasionally try to lift weights with my husband, a guaranteed good time. My kind of fun involves eating breakfast tacos, drinking coffee, reading, jamming, and hanging out with my crazy cow-dog, Dingo.
Thank you! WE love Florence Sterling! She is an organizing member of Alexander Love, DAR in Houston, Texas. I hope to place her Viewpoint image in our member’s Chapter Newsletter. There is very little on her, so this really helps us understand her as an early leader in Houston.
Thanks for letting us know! Feel free to contact our reference staff at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.