The wisdom within Watzek: Stephanie Beene
With master’s degrees in both art history and information studies, Visual Resources Coordinator Stephanie Beene curates collections of images and helps meet faculty and student research needs. The Source caught up with her to find out more about her expertise and cutting-edge work.
Why did you decide to join Lewis & Clark, and what do you find most exciting about working here?
I joined Lewis & Clark College in 2009 as the visual resources coordinator just as the position was re-envisioned. It is relatively uncommon to find a position in which a visual resources professional (who specializes in digital collections, database design, and digital image curation and management) is combined with the fine arts librarian (who specializes in instruction, outreach, research assistance, and library collections and services). I was well-suited for the position with two master’s degrees and skills ranging from marketing and outreach to instruction and research assistance, database design and management to digital curation and data migration.
Lewis & Clark was exemplary in its stellar digital collections and forward-thinking strategic planning efforts. The ability to innovate quickly and easily across departments and units continues to set Lewis & Clark apart. I love being part of the vision and collaborative efforts that drive Watzek Library and Lewis & Clark toward excellence.
What unique qualifications do you bring to the Lewis & Clark library system?
My master’s thesis is in art history with a specialization in artists working along and negotiating the border politics of the U.S.-Mexico border. My research included contemporary art, but also Mesoamerican and Mayan art history. Because of this experience, I have been able to collaborate with David Galaty’s Exploration and Discovery course, Understanding How we Understand the Maya, since 2010.
My master’s of science in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin (go, Longhorns!) allowed me to specialize in digital curation, visual resources collections, and database management—priming me for today’s world of information needs.
How are you leading efforts to use visual resources at Lewis & Clark and beyond?
I serve as Lewis & Clark’s administrator for our local digital image management system. I encourage faculty and students to visit me if they have any questions about presentation, creating personal collections, contributing to, or donating their own image collections to be digitized to our collections. I also manage the college’s Senior Digital Art Archive, which seniors submit images to as part of their senior projects. Last, I hire and train students! Every student who has worked with me is trained up to a paraprofessional level. I encourage students who are interested to come speak with me!
Beyond Lewis & Clark, I helped coauthor the Association of College and Research Libraries Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education in 2010. Among many current roles, I am serving as the secretary to the executive board for the Visual Resources Association, helping plan a 2016 joint conference between the Art Libraries Society of North America and the Visual Resources Association, and serving as project director for AccessCeramics.org.
What do you do in your spare time?
I work at CorePower Yoga, and I also hike and camp. We live in such an amazing locale and there’s never going to be an end to things to explore! Being from Colorado, I love the mountains, but the Columbia Gorge is incredible. The beach has been an amazing thing for me, growing up in a landlocked state. I love the variety of the landscape, and the endless trails, caves, and climbing. I love photography (go figure, right?), sports (both playing and watching), cooking, and generally spending quality time with friends and family.
Caleb Diehl ’16 contributed to this story.