June 18, 2018

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

Jennifer A. Ferretti


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


MSLIS, Pratt Institute, 2014


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

Photo by James Singewald


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.

Fund Your Library: Tools and Tactics for Getting to Yes!
Whether you’re going to voters, city councils, school boards, college board of directors, or any other funder, the fundamental issues are the same: how do you convince the stewards of a limited budget that the library is their best investment?


  1. YOU ARE COOL!!!

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind