What inspires you? Rebecca Friedman, Assistant Librarian, Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology


Rebecca K. Friedman provides reference and instruction services at Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology. Previously, she worked primarily at art research libraries in New York City. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College and a combined Master of Science and Master of Library Science in History of Art, Design and Architecture, as well as Information and Library Science, from Pratt Institute. Her scholarly interests include service to graduate students, art library collecting in the 21st century, work and family issues, Venetian art and architecture, and Jewish art and objects.

Rebecca Friedman

What inspires you? 

I like the challenge of figuring out a research question or problem. I enjoy working with people and being available to them and being helpful to them, even though I would call myself an introvert. I think when I'm passing on knowledge, it somehow makes the interactions with people easier. Just getting to know all of the resources that are out there. It's a specialized field. I'm very heavily involved with my professional organization called the Art Libraries Society of North America. 

Art and architecture librarianship is a special type of librarianship. I mean, we're very print heavy and image-heavy, and all have sorts of special formats. It’s amazing how many print monographs and exhibition catalogs are still being published, and there are ever-evolving developments in the electronic realm. Art,architecture, archaeology and related are really fun fields to be working in.


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

When I was a library school student, I was working in libraries from the beginning. I think that was crucial and helpful. And I think depending on the subject area that you're interested in, job searches can be competitive. One has to be geographically flexible if at all possible.

I'd say get experience early doing the kind of work you want to do. And be open to the fact that there are different kinds of work in libraries and try to get that experience early. I think in another universe I might have been a cataloger, but it was really hard to get that experience as mentorship is key.  One must research the kind of work  that’s out there, whether it's back-end technical services or public service or digital collections or whatever the case may be. 

Networking is also key. Knowing people, reaching out to people, asking questions, getting involved, and going to events. And professional organizations are a great way to get involved and they welcome student input and participation.

Published on April 20, 2022

Interview by Brandon Johnson, Communications Specialist

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications