In our blog segment “Interview with a Librarian” we sat down with our newest librarian, University Archivist and Records Manager Abra Schnur, to find out more about her!
1. Tell us a little about your position in the library?
I am the University Archivist and Records Manager. As my title suggests, I manage archival materials that pertain to the history and official transactions of the university. This entails appraising (or selecting) material for permanent retention in the archives, and arranging and describing that material for use by not only students and researchers, but also by producers and publishers, alumni and relatives, and Trinity leadership, development, and marketing.
2. Where did you go to school?
I received an Associate in Applied Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting from San Antonio College. After that I attended the University of North Texas and received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. Then a few years later I went back to UNT through their online library and information science program and received my Master of Library Science with a focus on archival management.
Fun Fact: While at San Antonio College I was a DJ for KSYM 90.1. That led to an opportunity to be an announcer and reporter for Texas Public Radio for a few years.
3. What is your favorite part about working with students in the library?
I enjoy training and working with students in the archives. Students are sometimes an untapped resource for an archive and special collections. They can contribute greatly by doing professional work as long as archivists take the time to properly train student staff and interns. After I get situated I plan to have at least two or three student workers at all times and I hope to develop a sustainable internship program.
4. What made you decide to become a librarian?
I’ll give you two answers, because it depends on who I am talking to, but both are true.
1. The movie Party Girl starring Parker Posey was a huge influence on me wanting to work in a library. And believe me when I say there is a whole sub-group of librarians where this is the case.
2. When I went back to school to get my bachelor’s degree, my intention was to pursue journalism. At the same time I got a job as a shelver in the library and would regularly walk past a door with a sign that said “Oral History Program” on it. Long story short I became very interested in oral history and qualitative research methods. Not just wanting to report on culture, but trying to understand it a bit better, I switched my major to anthropology. I didn’t have any misgivings about how difficult it might be to actually become an anthropologist (though I did about becoming an oral historian), so I continued to work in libraries after school. I was part of a team that worked on preparing 19th century medical dissertations for digitization and that solidified my desire to work in archives and special collections.
Fun Fact: I’ve been in some bands — most recently a band from Houston called The Motion. We still play every now and then.
5. What was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (HV6574.G7 K44 2019).
It’s a really great historical narrative about the Northern Ireland Troubles. I was particularly interested in this book because much of the research came from oral histories that were conducted with major players involved with the IRA and the Loyalists. For more info on the major implications of the oral history project, please read this article published by the Chronicle for Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/belfast.
Before that I read Run, Brother, Run by David Berg. It’s a memoir about the murder of his brother by notorious hitman Charles Harrelson.
6. What resource or part of the library do you hope students use before they graduate?
Special Collections and Archives! The reading room is a great space for studying, but of course my wish is for students to use the materials in their research. I am really looking forward to getting the university collections in order to accommodate that.
7. What’s your favorite part about Trinity University so far?
The literal and figurative warmth I feel from the library (I worked in a really cold place prior where I wore gloves and a blanket at my desk) and the campus as a whole. I’ve been welcomed by everyone. I’m looking forward to forming relationships and partnerships across campus.
Need help with your research or project? Contact one of our librarians today!