“It’s so much more than books,” Nowlin says.

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VISUAL ARTS LIBRARIAN
Bridget Nowlin

What do you do? I am the visual arts librarian for Cornish College of the Arts and the curator of the Monsen Collection of Art.

How did you get started in that field? I enjoyed working at the Museum of Photographic Arts [in San Diego] so much that I returned to school to get a master’s in museology. This degree lead to work at the Henry Art Gallery and at the Monsen Collection. From the Henry, I was hired by the Cornish College of the Arts Library as the part-time curator of visual resources. After several years in that position, my director asked if I would be interested in going full time — to which I replied yes, but I would want to get my MLIS in order to be better prepared to support the students, staff and faculty.

What’s a typical day like? Every day is different, but always includes working with visual and performing artists. I write curriculum, provide reference assistance, deliver instruction, curate exhibitions in the library display case, provide access to visiting researchers to our archives, organize the art collections, edit papers, lend a sympathetic ear, participate in committees, scan images, troubleshoot the staplers, find the book someone is looking for based on their remembering only its color, and more.

What’s the best part of the job? Working with the students! I am continually thankful to be able to support these artists in their research and instructional needs.

What surprises people about what you do? I get to focus on the visual and performing arts. I help our patrons find scores, monologues, images, videos, films, music, etc. On a good day, I help artists find inspiration. It’s so much more than books.

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