An Interview with iSchool Alumni: Chlöe Van Stralendorff

iStudent Blog

Published: January 14, 2024 by Kesheena Doctor

As part of the iSchool I’ve attended many conferences and met working professionals. I have also met many iSchool alumni, who have been very generous with their time and expertise. We often chat about the profession, the iSchool, recommended iSchool courses, and even how to survive INFO 289 e-Portfolio.

This past August, I was able to attend the 2023 Zine Librarian unConference, which is a conference for librarians invested in zines and librarianship. I wrote about it in a previous blog, which you can read here. While there, I met iSchool alumni, Chlöe Van Stralendorff.

We attended a few conference sessions together and were able to chat for a while about zines, mutual colleagues, challenges of BIPOC in librarianship, and the iSchool. I really enjoyed spending time with her and appreciated her support of a MLIS student and iSchool alum. After the conference, I reached out and asked her to provide more insight into her time at the iSchool and her journey afterward.

What type of work do you do in your current role?

I curate and manage digital collections for the Art Department at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I also manage the Visual Resources Center (VRC), where students can get help with image research, copyright analysis, image permissions for publications, digitization projects, and Risograph printing.

What is the favorite part of your current role as a Visual Resources Curator?

That’s a difficult question! It’s between delving into image research or connecting users with visual literacy resources. On a good day, I get to do both!

What was your career pathway while at the iSchool?

My career pathway included many bumps, forks, and pivots but I eventually focused on the Leadership and Management Pathway.

Were there any classes you took at the iSchool that were helpful to your career?

Most definitely! INFO 240 –– Information Technology Tools and Applications, INFO 247 –– Vocabulary Design, INFO 248 Beginning Cataloging and Classification, and INFO 282 Digital Asset Management were classes that gave me practical knowledge and skills for my career. I still think about the assignments today!

Were there any iSchool resources or student groups that helped you with your career as well?

The ALA Student Chapter was a helpful introduction to the field! It’s also where I discovered the ALA Spectrum Scholarship and information about conferences.

Did your professional plans change since leaving the iSchool? How so?

Before the iSchool, I was deeply invested in art libraries and archives but I found myself leaning into a management role at a public library and pursuing a second Master’s degree. As an early career professional, I’m grateful for that experience, but transitioning many years later back to what led me to the field is gratifying and fulfilling.

Are there any conferences or professional groups that you recommend for iSchool students who are interested in a similar career?

If you’re interested in where libraries and art intersect, check out The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), College Art Association, and the Visual Resources Association (VRA). They all offer extensive workshops, summer intensives, and lectures. My recommendation is to find professional groups that uplift and support you! For me today, that is We Here and ALA Spectrum.

We met at a ZLuC, a conference that highlights zines and librarianship. How do you think zines support library work?

Libraries are positioned to build meaningful connections with communities, all while sharing resources and services that represent those communities’ needs. Zines allow people to share experiences, opinions, and information without censorship from publishers or by mainstream priorities. Zines represent that same access to knowledge and literacy as libraries –– a platform for capturing common humanity, empathy, and information. They’re necessary in library work!

Do you have any other advice to share with current iSchool students?

Embrace your curiosity and let yourself explore your professional interests! Prioritize internships, find your advocates and put yourself out there.

What books, zines and/or artists have you been into lately?

These days I’ve been reading memoirs and graphic novels. I recently read “The Ugly Cry” by Danielle Henderson (memoir) and “The High Desert” by James Spooner, both stories pull you right into the pages.

Many thanks to Chlöe for taking the time to share her many insights as a former iSchool alumni and as a working academic librarian. If you enjoyed reading about these types of experiences, be sure to check out the Community Profiles: Alumni blog