My favorite part of being an arts librarian is working with the next generation of scholars develop their research skills in Art History. As a young scholar myself and an alumna of FSU I am particularly proud to give back by sharing the knowledge I have learned as both a arts researcher and arts librarian.
When Leah Sherman (MA 2012) began her undergraduate Art History coursework at FSU in 2006 she had no idea that her experiences as a young scholar would eventually lead her to arts librarianship. She picked Florida State with a plan to focus on Art History, learn Italian, and study abroad for as long as possible at the Florence Study Center – just as her mother had done in the 1960s. Visits to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice introduced Leah to Italian Futurism, and classes in early modernism in Tallahassee further piqued her interest in the historic Avant-Garde. Her undergraduate Honors thesis, “Italian Futurism and the Mob Mentality” paved the way for Leah’s graduate work and her master’s thesis, “Institution versus Individuality: Rethinking Unity in Early Italian Futurism,” under Professor Adam Jolles. As a graduate student Leah also honed her ability to juggle a variety of roles, serving as President of the Art History Association and the department’s graduate delegate to the College Leadership Council.
During the course of her thesis research both at FSU and abroad at archives such as MoMA, Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Getty Research Institute, Sherman worked with outstanding arts librarians, and these contacts inspired her to return to graduate school in 2014 for a second master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Leah also returned to the FSU Art History Department in 2014 to serve as the academic program coordinator, and early this year she accepted a position with FSU Libraries as the Visual & Performing Arts Librarian at Robert Manning Strozier Library.
Sherman’s new faculty position draws on the multitasking skills she learned in graduate school as well as her research experience. She serves as research liaison to all six departments in the College of Fine Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, and The Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Her day-to-day responsibilities include collections development, research consultations, and instructional support across all of these departments, but she also spends time researching, writing, and publishing. She is dedicated to outreach and spends time each week holding office hours within her various departments. Leah is an active member of ARLIS (Art Libraries Society of North America), CAA (College Art Association), and also ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries.) Leah is delighted that her interests and experiences have intersected in a career that allows her to “give back” to her alma mater.