Visiting Shakespeare

By Katie Gillespie, Aeon Specialist

When I was notified that we had a new Aeon site, the Folger Shakespeare Library, I was thrilled. I’d seen photographs of their reading room and, as a former literature major and certified library nerd, was of course excited to be in the proximity of the world’s largest Shakespeare collection. Also, who doesn’t love an excuse to visit Washington, DC?

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My favorite part of every Aeon implementation is the initial visit. This is when I get to see behind the scenes; tour the stacks, vault, and staff spaces; and meet all of the wonderful librarians and staff who keep these places of scholarship running smoothly. I always leave inspired, eager to help streamline processes and, of course, save a few trees along the way as we help institutions move from paper-based systems to the electronic efficiency of Aeon. 

My host, Erin Blake, was gracious and patient with me as I fan-girled my way through the reading room tour. I learned about the myriad collections the Folger has and got to see some of the treasures in the vault. I enjoyed their current exhibit “Will and Jane”, which highlights the connections between William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and their fame many years after their deaths. The staff was warm and welcoming, especially when they welcomed me into their lunch and tea time conversations. Each person I interacted with was passionate about his/her work and interested in the benefits using Aeon could bring. 

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An interesting challenge with an independent library is finding a balance between circulation of library materials and management of rare and special materials. This trip gave me the opportunity to see all of the pieces we will be working to coordinate at the Folger. I am excited to be a part of putting together this puzzle and getting another Aeon site up and running.