Ephemera lovers would have a field day in Jackie Dooley’s office at Langson Library. Every available space and surface has been taken over by books, brochures, magazines, cards and clippings.
Dooley ’74 has good reason to accumulate a small storehouse of printed matter: She’s the head of special collections and archives for the UCI Libraries. It’s her job to be an antiquarian packrat.
“For a person interested in a lot of things, working in a library is like being in a great playground,” she says. “You get to learn about the areas your library specializes in.”
Indeed, Dooley can field all kinds of questions about the contents in special collections, including the Critical Theory Archive, which holds Jacques Derrida’s personal papers, the Southeast Asian Archive, Regional History, and Dance & Performing Arts, featuring the papers of UCI dance professor Donald McKayle. She spoke Dec. 8 about the libraries’ work on documenting the history of Crystal Cove at the UCI Libraries Speaker Series.
“People are amazed we have these materials,” Dooley says.
Making the materials available means mastering the world of print – storing and handling centuries-old books with pages as fragile as butterfly wings – and today’s technology. Posting archives online helps draw students, researchers and community members from around the world to see the collections.
Dooley, along with archivists Rachel Sandoval, Anne Mar and others, recently launched the libraries’ Anteater Chronicles, a UCI history Web site featuring timelines, maps, charts, a database of all UCI buildings, and other documents. Although the site celebrates UCI’s 40th anniversary, Dooley considers it an ongoing resource that will be continually updated.
“Being an alumna has been an advantage,” she says. “I was on campus in the ’70s, so all the names on the site resonate with me.”
Dooley received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from UCI and a master’s in library science from UCLA. She returned to UCI in 1995 after working at the Getty Research Institute, UC San Diego and the Library of Congress. She’s married to Stephen White, UCI professor of physiology and biophysics.
“When you’re a librarian, everything you’ve ever known or done is useful,” Dooley says. And when the librarian doesn’t know the answer to a question, she does what most people do: She looks it up.