The New York Public Library
Elisabeth C. Rivard
My responsibility at the NYPL was to re-catalogue prints from the collection, primarily its outstanding holdings of seventeenth and eighteenth-century British mezzotints. The chance to zero in on each object, and research the subject matter, medium, and printmaker was endlessly fascinating. By making this information public and searchable, I helped to ensure that all library patrons could make the same discoveries. The experience was incredibly rewarding, and I do not exaggerate in saying that I was excited to come to the Study Room every single day. Besides the work itself, there were countless opportunities for me to learn about the collection and the field as a whole. I had regular conversations with other staff members on upcoming exhibitions or recent acquisitions. I met print dealers who gladly shared their expertise. I witnessed how the Study Room operates as an open repository, available for a wide range of pursuits. I anticipate that my own academic research will concern prints and/or drawings, perhaps a topic culled from my work this summer. More importantly, I now have a better sense of the field and all those involved in the study and preservation of works on paper.
Whatever direction my career takes, I plan to remain in the museum and institution sector. My experiences in the Study Room crystallized this intent, and I hope to continue working with prints and drawings. I have the IFPDA Foundation and NYPL staff to thank for this wonderful opportunity, and all the knowledge and joy that I gained from it.