Cristina Favretto, Librarian Professor, Head of Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries
1) Tell us about your work in your library…?
I’m the Head of Special Collections at UM, which on any day can include teaching a class using materials from our holdings, meeting with staff, colleagues, teaching faculty, or administrators to discuss anything from what types of book cradles work best for exhibitions to fundraising goals and strategies. I also plan and curate exhibitions, webinars, and other types of events, develop our collections, and conduct quite a bit of outreach with our various communities — within the University, Miami-Dade, and beyond. I’m also lucky enough to work well with the Miami arts community, which is incredibly varied, rich, and creative. Every day is different, and they all speed by. The best thing: I never dread going into work…and never have since I started working here 15 years ago!
2) What attracted you to this role?
I knew very little about Miami (in fact I’d never been!) when I was approached about the position. Of course, I was intrigued by the turquoise sea, the lush tropical landscape, and the beauty of the Miami and Coral Gables environs. But most importantly, I liked the spirit of possibilities embodied in the role…it was clear that (within reason) I’d be able to grow the collections in a very independent, creative, and organic way. The University of Miami is very, very diverse, and our collections reflect that diversity. I’ve been able to build strong counter-culture collections (we have over 15,000 zines!) and with my fabulous colleagues have also expanded our environmental, social activism, and Miami history holdings. The job actually sounded fun. And it has been!
3) How have you been involved with ASERL?
I’ll blame Ms. Tanya Zanish-Belcher (who invited me to co-chair the Special Collections Interest Group) and of course Ms. Elaina Norlin, whose generous and kind spirit infuses everything she works on. Who wouldn’t want to work with both of them?
4) What parts of your job/volunteering with ASERL do you find most rewarding?
The folks I’ve met, the spirit of collaboration, and most of all the idealism. When we “cooked up” the idea of the “Risky Business” un-conference, the answer was an immediate “yes!” even though the themes could and should be somewhat, well…risky.
5) What’s one great thing that most people don’t know about you?
I was the lead singer of a punk cabaret band…but some people do know that. So instead, I’ll say that I taught Victor, one of the neighborhood “outdoor” cats (not feral!) to say “hello.” Someday I’ll post a video.