Meet Beck Davis, PUL’s new Cataloging and Metadata Services Fellow

Princeton University Library is excited to announce the hire of Rebecca (Beck) Davis as the Cataloging and Metadata Services Fellow. Davis joined the Metadata and Enterprise Operations (MEO) Team on June 12 and has been working collaboratively with colleagues on the MEO Team to learn to transform metadata and assist in the management and configuration of the Library’s Alma system to support the Library’s various functional areas and to help enhance their operations. 

Beck Davis

What did you study as an undergrad?

I studied History at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) and was the first person in my family with a college degree when I graduated with my B.A. in 2012. UNCP is a very small school, and my program was especially small, so I was able to work closely with my professors in developing my academic interests. I spent a lot of time in the university library. Fun fact about UNC-Pembroke, it was originally established as an Indian Normal School in the late 1800s, a school specifically meant to educate members of my tribe, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, to be teachers.

What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in librarianship?

The initial seed of interest in librarianship was planted in middle school as one of my classes consisted of helping in the school media center. I worked the circulation desk and reshelved books with my best friends. That seed finally grew almost 20 years later in 2021 as I was contemplating leaving my career in personal finance. A friend of mine working at a local public library was happy to answer all my questions about their job and their Master of Library Science program. I awoke one morning in October 2021 and decided: I’m going to be a librarian! I applied to North Carolina Central University and soon was accepted. I enrolled in the SLIS program there in spring 2022 and was able to graduate from the program in May 2023.

What drew you to this role at Princeton University Library?

I saw a great opportunity to really kickstart my new career and develop my interests in librarianship while working with some incredible folks in the field. The opportunity to network and learn was one I simply could not let pass me by. I’m happy to say I have learned a lot in just the first two months of my fellowship and everyone I’ve met has been very willing to help me in any way they can during my fellowship.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time here?

When I first met the Alma Tech Team, I was asked what I wanted to do if I could do anything in librarianship. My answer was that I wanted to improve the representation of Indigenous Peoples in libraries, but I needed the tools to do it. Thankfully, I am being given the opportunity to do that type of work and develop the necessary tools while learning to be a systems librarian as well.

What aspect of the job are you most excited about?

I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable coding can be. Part of my fellowship includes learning the Ruby programming language and using it in different ways, particularly for editing MARC records in bulk. I enjoy cataloging and working with metadata, so this allows me to work on that aspect of librarianship.

What are your career aspirations?

Right now, I am enjoying learning the ins and outs of being a systems librarian and my career aspirations may lie in that path. I do believe I would like to stay in academic libraries after completing my fellowship.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy playing video games, reading web/light novels and webcomics, and listening to horror and science fiction podcasts and audio dramas. I also enjoy spending time with my dogs and my cat, all of whom seem to support my couch-based hobbies.

Who or what inspires you?

This is the most absolutely cliché thing I have ever said, but when a drum circle song is going strong and then I glance upward, and a hawk is in my field of vision. You’d really be surprised how often that happens while I’m driving. Fun fact, some hawks have specific calls for their partners. I got to hear some just last week as a pair was flying overhead and it was neat to experience.

Published on August 14, 2023

Interview by Brandon Johnson, Communications Strategist

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications