March Alumni News

Michael North (MSLS 1995) has been named the Head of the Reference and Reader Services Section of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress. In this position he will oversee all public service and reference operations of the Division as well as coordinate the Division’s digital and social media efforts. Mr. North comes to the Library of Congress from the National Library of Medicine, where he has been the Head of the Rare Books and Early Manuscripts Section in the History of Medicine Division since 2003. In that position, he has overseen the History of Medicine Reading Room and cataloging, conservation, preservation, and acquisitions for the rare book and early manuscript collections. He has also been centrally involved in the creation of a book digitization program at the Library, especially in the selection and preparation of rare books for scanning. He originally came to the National Library of Medicine as a Rare Book Cataloger in 2000 from the Grolier Club of New York, where he was Curator of the Library, and he held previous positions in special collections at the New York Academy of Medicine and Georgetown University Libraries. Mr. North joined the Rare Book and Special Collections Division March 21st.

Larry Roeder (MSLS 1977) has been managing two pro bono projects that recently received major recognition. One project is to write the history of Conklin, a defunct, mainly African-American hamlet in Loudoun County. To do that, Larry has been examining original documents from the 19th century and early 20th century in the archives of a church which was started by former slaves, as well as the archives of the Loudoun County Public School system. He also instructed a Middle School history club on Black History and introduced them to artifacts and the descendants of enslaved Americans. In return, they created a large mural depicting the village’s history. Larry and the club were cited for their efforts by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on February 18, 2016. See https://conklinproject.wordpress.com/awards/

The other project involves cataloging, creating a preservation program and analyzing a massive cache of records that were lost for half a century under the stairs of an abandoned school house in Loudoun. Beginning with documents from the 1860s, the records mainly trace the evolution of the old segregated system from the end of the Civil War to integration. Larry is leading a team to document the African-American experience, and the cache is rich with personal letters from citizens asking for help with their schools. In June 1867, a “colored” 16-year-old boy named Edwin Washington worked in a hotel in Leesburg, Virginia, for five dollars a month plus board, with the “privilege of coming to school” in between errands. Unfortunately, this meant he couldn’t attend school on a regular basis, or at all during court weeks. Still, he went to class whenever he could. Larry’s research project is a monument to all of the African-American children and their parents of that time and through the end of segregation in Virginia in order to honor their bravery and tenacity to learn. The project was recently cited for excellence by the Virginia House of Delegates in March, 2016, due to the historic importance of preserving the files. See https://loudounschoolproject.wordpress.com/

Currently Larry works part-time as the Data Manager in LIS.

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