O’Keefe Joins Yale University Libraries as Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Art Librarianship

Head shot of Alex O’Keefe
Alex O’Keefe

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2018) Alex O’Keefe, a recent University of Kentucky library and information science graduate, joins the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library and Yale Center for British Art Research Library at Yale University as a Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Art Librarianship.

“I feel incredibly grateful to be chosen for this opportunity, because everything about it is exciting! This was the position I hoped for directly after finishing my degree because it is designed to help new art library professionals gain valuable experience in many areas,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe earned her master’s degree in library science from UK’s School of Information Science, which is a part of the College of Communication and Information, in May.

“When I completed my undergraduate degrees in fine arts and humanities, I wanted to explore new career options related to the arts. In so doing, I found blogs and professional websites about the field of art librarianship,” O’Keefe said. “Reading more about the work information professionals were doing nationwide to connect the public to art resources quickly confirmed my decision to pursue an MSLS degree.”

While in the library science program, O’Keefe focused her studies on art librarianship and digital collections management. She also interned at Smithsonian Libraries as part of the school’s alternative spring break program.

“I actually learned about the Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship at Yale before I started graduate school. While I knew it was a long way off, I made a note to look back into it when I was wrapping up my degree,” O’Keefe said. “Through my time in graduate school I joined the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and volunteered with ArLiSNAP, a group for new professionals pursuing careers in Art Librarianship. When the call for applications came across the listserv it felt full-circle in many ways. Something that piqued my interest before starting school was now an opportunity I could apply for.”

The Kress Fellowship is a 10-month appointment and focuses on multiple areas of art librarianship including public services, collection development and management, special collections, and digital collections.

“This was my first time interviewing for a librarianship position, and the interview process was built in a way that was similar to many academic librarian processes. It began with a cover letter and resume, followed by a brief phone interview, and concluding with an all-day, in-person interview at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale. It did not require a presentation like other academic librarian interviews might, but it had many layers of interviews so that I ultimately met all staff members from the Haas Arts Library and Yale Center for British Art Research Library present that day,” O’Keefe said.

Projects and activities will draw on subject areas served by the Haas Family Arts Library, Haas Arts Library Special Collections, and the Library and Archives of the Yale Center for British Art including the history of art, architecture, drama and aligned area studies.

“It’s exciting to be a part of such a great team of passionate people; everyone I work with has a wealth of knowledge they are happy to share,” O’Keefe said. “It’s hard to believe a month has past, and I’m already looking forward to the new projects I’ll be taking on as my fellowship progresses.”