The Leatherby Libraries’ Meet the Librarian interview series highlights our amazing librarians and the incredible work that they accomplish each day. These interviews inform the community about different areas in the Library and all of the services that we provide! Lauren McDaniel, our Coordinator of Special Collections, was kind enough to answer some questions!

1. What is your name and title? 

My name is Lauren McDaniel, and I am the Coordinator of Special Collections and the Liaison Librarian for History and Art.

2. In what department of the Leatherby Libraries do you work? 

I work in the Department of Special Collections and Archives, which is split between the 4th floor and the lower level.

3. How long have you been at Chapman University? 

I have been working here for just over a year!

4. What is your job in a nutshell? 

As Coordinator of Special Collections, I collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to our rare primary and secondary materials, including books, periodicals, archives, art, and more. I do this with the assistance of and in collaboration with my colleagues in and across the Library. In this role, I also oversee our Center for American War Letters Archives and Huell Howser Archives.

As the Liaison Librarian for History and Art, I assist faculty and students in the History and Art departments with finding and accessing materials for their classes and research by leading instruction sessions and providing individual consultations. I also help collect and develop our Library’s History and Art resources (print and electronic). Additionally, I serve on the Library’s main Reference Desk, where I help members of the Chapman community with walk-up research questions and consultations. 

5. Have you held any jobs at other universities or libraries?

I recently worked as an archivist for the Getty Research Institute and the UCLA Library Special Collections.

6. What are your passions/interests outside of work?

I enjoy anything camp or kitsch; music (especially early music and jazz); and all forms of puzzles (jigsaws, crosswords, murder mysteries—you name it)!

7. Where did you get your degree? 

I went to UCLA, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History/Art History with a French minor and a Master of Library & Information Science with an Archival Studies specialization. I went to Bard Graduate Center for an MA in History of Design and Material Culture to gain additional subject specialization. Following this, I earned an MA in History from the University of Delaware.

8. Where is your hometown?

I am from up north in the San Francisco Bay Area.

9. What is the last book you read or the last book you loved?

I just finished all of Josephine Tey’s detective fiction on audiobook, narrated by Karen Cass. (Thanks, Libby!) They were thoroughly enjoyable, but my favorite was The Man in the Queue.

10. Any fun facts about yourself?

I love cats. (Shocker!)

11. Why is having a Coordinator of Special Collections important for academic libraries?

Like my other library colleagues, my job is to help people find the information they need. There are particular challenges to accessing special collections and archives; however, my job specifically helps our patrons navigate our special collections and archives as smoothly as possible. It is often difficult for students, faculty, and outside users to figure out even what materials are held by special collections and archives, much less how to view and utilize them. This is true even for experienced researchers because every academic Library is slightly different! My job is to directly and indirectly improve the user experience through our department’s reference interactions, outreach, and instruction sessions, as well as our behind-the-scenes work of collection development, cataloging, and stewardship.