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Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

Meet the KSRL Staff: Tiffany McIntosh

This is the latest installment in a recurring series of posts introducing readers to the staff of Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Today’s profile features Tiffany McIntosh, who joined Spencer Research Library in August 2022 as an Administrative Associate.

Headshot of a smiling woman.
Administrative Associate Tiffany McIntosh. Click image to enlarge.

Where are you from?

I’ve lived most of my life in Lawrence but just recently moved to Meriden, which is a small town just north of Topeka.

What does your job at Spencer entail?

I primarily serve as the student supervisor and run the reception desk. I am also responsible for scheduling, supply orders, and other day-to-day administrative tasks throughout the building. Starting in Spring 2023 I will also be working at the reference desk.  

How did you come to work in Public Services?

My answer is a little less straightforward than others’ are. I graduated from KU with a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) in anthropology and religious studies in May 2021. Since graduation I missed life on campus and had been searching for a position within KU. I browsed KU’s website for months waiting for something that seemed fitting.  When I saw the posting for the Administrative Associate position at Spencer, I knew I would be able to use past job skills to excel given my strong background in customer service. I also knew the position would be a step in the right direction considering I plan to attend a master’s program in museum studies. 

What is one of the most interesting items you’ve come across in Spencer’s collections?

Currently the thing I find most interesting is a book we have by Joseph LeConte that was printed in 1895: Evolution and Its Relation to Religious Thought (Call Number: B17361). We also have a first edition of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (Call Number: Ellis Aves B108). It’s very worn and well-loved but super cool to look at. Along with the first edition, we have a copy from 1909 (Call Number: B17375) that is, interestingly enough, Volume 11 in The Harvard Classics. Per Wikipedia, the collection “is a 50-volume series of classic works of world literature, important speeches, and historical documents compiled and edited by Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot.” There are a lot of other really cool books in Special Collections that relate back to my undergraduate classes (including works by Darwin, LeConte, and Charles Lyell) that I’m super excited to work with.

I also find the children’s book collection quite interesting. Older book covers are very unique and colorful. They’re fun to look at without even opening the books. I love browsing the stacks and reading the different titles of the books and seeing the illustrations. The content of children’s books has definitely changed quite a bit over time.

I’m convinced there’s something for everyone in our collections.

What part of your job do you like best?

I would say one of my favorite things about my job is listening to the curators and librarians talk to patrons about things they’re passionate about. You can really hear the joy and excitement in their voices when they get to talk about their work. I would also say I enjoy working with the students and giving them opportunities to grow both professionally and individually. Most importantly, I love how the collection is seemingly never-ending. Every time I go into the stacks, I find new things that interest me.

What are some of your favorite pastimes outside of work?

I enjoy being outside (I go birding with my younger brother), spending time with my cats, and quilting. I also try to spend time with family since I don’t see them as much since moving. I start graduate school in January 2023, so I’m sure most of my time will be spent on homework (which I really don’t mind).

What piece of advice would you offer a researcher walking into Spencer Research Library for the first time?

Similar to what others have said in their “Meet the KSRL Staff” profiles, use your resources. The collections are massive, and talking to the people who work here can really improve your findings and experience. The library alone is a great resource, but the people who help build and maintain the collections have a wealth of knowledge that can really take your research to the next level.

Tiffany McIntosh
Administrative Associate

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