What inspires you? Holly Hatheway, Head of Marquand Library

Bio: Holly Hatheway

Holly Hatheway directs the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, focusing on collection development, digital projects, and administration. Previously, she held library leadership positions at University of California, Berkeley, and the Haas Arts Library at Yale University. She earned a dual Master of Science/Master of Library Science in Art History from Pratt Institute. Her research interests include graphic arts and publication design, political propaganda, and historiography of art.

Holly Hatheway

What inspires you? 

What inspires me is that the work is a long continuum and never ending. I take stewardship of collections very seriously, as long in the future someone will benefit from my collection building and caretaking– as I have from past librarians. Preparing for an unknown future is an exciting and challenging puzzle. What we think is a great collection today is continually changing.  Marquand’s collection began in the late 19th century and has evolved with changes in the discipline of art history, the scholars in Princeton’s Art & Archaeology department and allied humanities, and the art world and market. Marquand is very special because it is very comprehensive — it is a growing legacy collection started by Allen Marquand, who founded Princeton’s first formal art history program in the United States, and our teaching museum. Over the 20th century Marquand has missed, or overlooked, acquisitions needed for today’s scholars. It is satisfying and inspiring to focus on gaps due to changing emphasis in collecting.

In the nineties when I was in graduate school, multiculturalism in the discipline of art history was emerging.  Emphasis on study and scholarship in modern Latin American art, for example, became more mainstream along with other areas of the Global South. Over the last twenty years global contemporary art, art of Indigenous peoples, and other “traditionally” underrepresented cultures, groups, genders, etc. has been a conscious focus of collecting strategies in art librarianship. It is very inspiring to now see an explosion of interest in these collecting gaps in all disciplines of the humanities and sciences. Today, we are finally being supported and encouraged to more appropriately catalog, further correct collecting gaps, and share the work and scholarship of traditionally underrepresented artists and scholars.

Do you have any advice for someone pursuing a career in librarianship?

I think it depends on what kind of library career you want to pursue. If you're interested in being an academic librarian, subject specialist or selector, it is very important that you have a second subject master's degree. Not just because it's a valued credential that gets you through the door, but it allows you to know what your students are going through academically. It's really hard to help someone write a thesis or dissertation, or do research at the undergraduate level, if you haven't done it yourself. 

For leadership and administration, especially in art librarianship, you need to learn how to navigate all types of academic libraries and archives, often abroad and with scholarship in all languages, to better understand building and maintaining collections and services.  Excellent business, organizational development, and supervisory skills, are equally important to subject knowledge if you're pursuing administration and leadership positions. Mentorship of early career librarians and succession planning are vital to good stewardship. Everyone should leave library collections and services better than they found them.

Published on April 19, 2022

Interview by Brandon Johnson, Communication Specialist

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Communications Director