February 16, 2018

Maura Marx | Movers & Shakers 2006

Access Enthusiast


‘I feel lucky,’ says Maura Marx, to have found ‘work that was and continues to be so incredibly ideal for me’ – without a long job search. A chance conversation with a Boston Public Library (BPL) manager led to her being hired for a grant project ‘in a matter of days.’

Armed with the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, she brought BPL’s John Adams Library, containing about 3000 volumes with thousands of handwritten notations, ‘out of the shadows and made it accessible.’ Seeing other collections and expertise that could form a digital library program, Marx ‘started advocating’ for these, too.

When American Library Association 2005 Midwinter Meeting attendees visited a Boston Massacre exhibit Marx cocurated, some commented, ‘Where have you been hiding these collections for the last 30 years?’ That project ‘provided a natural springboard to working with other institutions,’ says Marx, and highlighted the need for cooperative efforts. Commitment to collaboration underlies BPL’s recent move as the first public library to join the Open Content Alliance.

Beyond BPL, Marx heads Massachusetts’s Digital Commonwealth repository committee, helping create a single-access portal site where federated search accesses multiple cultural heritage collections. ‘Of course, an intangible something is lost in the conversion of an artifact to bits and bytes,’ Marx explains. ‘However, the ability to put unique objects…into the hands of users all over the world is so powerful.’



Degrees MSLIS, Simmons, 2004; M.A. Italian, Middlebury College, VT, and University of Florence
Believes we must ‘Talk, talk, talk about what we’re doing here.’