Jason Beatrice Lee, a 2008 SLIS graduate, has been named the first ever OCLC Minority Librarian Fellow. As part of the year-long paid program, Lee will work in three major divisions of the world’s largest library cooperative: member services, research, and digital collection services. Her initial three-month assignment to member services includes orientation to the OCLC member community and assistance with governance projects. She will also participate in the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program, a 30-day program that includes career development and continuing education for library professionals from developing economies.
“My experience so far has been really inclusive,” said Lee, who started the fellowship at OCLC’s Dublin, Ohio, headquarters in January. She’s been invited to blog about her experiences, join a Social Metadata Working Group, deliver a presentation on opportunities with terminologies, participate in round-table discussions, sign-on to help pilot a new WebJunction portal, and begin developing an outcomes-based assessment of the OCLC governance structure transition from Members Council to Global Council. She’ll spend the last six months of her fellowship in Seattle, exploring opportunities to digitize historically important collections.
Lee earned her undergraduate degree in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She credits the “interdisciplinary nature” of the degree with sparking her interest in archival studies. She moved to New York after graduation, working as a Photo Researcher for Corbis. There, she learned about descriptive control and digitization from her colleagues. After six years of working in the stock photography and syndication industry, Lee decided to earn her MLIS and focus on archival studies beyond the commercial realm.
Lee says that some of her most valuable SLIS courses were Encoded Archival Description with Lori Lindberg, Academic Libraries with Renee Jefferson, and Digitization and Digital Preservation with Robin Dale.
After completing her fellowship next year, Lee plans to pursue a professional archival position for her next career move. She’s particularly drawn to the idea of working in special collections, whether it’s a museum, academic library, or archives.
A huge “Battlestar Galactica” fan, Lee also enjoys learning culinary arts and collecting everything from old records to vintage hats. Her OCLC fellowship also allowed her to indulge her love of road trips, taking Interstate 40 from Los Angeles to Ohio when she moved to start her fellowship.
The OCLC Minority Librarian Fellowship program provides a unique opportunity for aspiring library professionals from historically under-represented groups. The 12-month program offers the selected Fellow two three-month assignments within specific divisions of OCLC, and one six-month assignment with a specific operating unit within the OCLC organization.