April 23, 2018

Jennifer A. Ferretti | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Community Builders

Jennifer A. Ferretti

CURRENT POSITION

Digital Initiatives Librarian, Maryland Institute College of Art Library, Baltimore

DEGREE

MSLIS, Pratt Institute, 2014

FOLLOW

@citythatreads on Twitter; @thecitythatreads on Instagram; JennyFerretti.com; we here

Photo by James Singewald

MS_logo_300x81

Here To Stay

Jennifer Ferretti has been a digital librarian for more than ten years at various institutions. A fine arts graduate from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), she returned to MICA in 2015 to lead digital initiatives. “I never wanted to be a librarian,” says Ferretti, because “I didn’t know what librarians did. I never had a librarian I connected to and never met a Latinx librarian.” A supportive internship supervisor at the Smithsonian (2007–08) and a strong community on “librarian Twitter” changed that. “Twitter was a way for me to write myself, my experiences, into this profession.”

Ferretti grapples with diversity in collections and in the field. On the collections side, she says, we should be asking, “Who is being represented? Whose work is deemed important enough to archive? Who has the privilege of knowing this collection exists?” On the people side, many library and archive workers of color are the “only” at their institutions or organizations, she points out, enduring prejudices, racism, microaggressions, and general ignorance with little or no support system. Frustrated by isolation and determined to bridge geographic distance, Ferretti built an online community through We Here, a supportive space for library workers of color. “I don’t feel like We Here is mine,” she says. “I am but a small piece of it.”

After one year, We Here connects more than 600 members via multiple platforms, including Google and Facebook groups and a closed Slack channel. A major challenge going forward, says Ferretti, “is to…retain library and archives workers of color.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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