Welcome, Christopher!


On June 19, the Graham Library welcomed Christopher Hogendoorn to the role of Special Collections & Digital Initiatives Librarian for one year. He is an alumnus of Trinity College (1T4), and a graduate of the iSchool. If you are a long-time patron of the library, you may remember Christopher from his time as a student assistant in both the library and the Trinity Archives. He joins us from North Carolina State University Libraries (NCSU) in Raleigh.

We asked Christopher for some fun facts about his past experience as a Trinity student, as well as a glimpse of the year ahead.

What is your fondest memory of Trinity?

This is like asking a parent which of their children is their favourite. However, if I have to pick one, it would be early in the morning on 30 November, 2013. This was the night of Bubbly, Trinity College’s annual “champagne” social, hosted by the Literary Institute, of which I was Prime Minister. We had run out of sparkling wine about quarter to midnight, which historically has led to a mass-exodus from Seeley Hall. My brilliant Music Committee, though, at my request had put together a playlist more suitable to a family wedding than a university party (think “Runaround Sue” or “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”). People stuck around, everyone had a great time, and when the requisite “Don’t Stop Believing” came on to end the party at 2:00 a.m., the hall was still packed and we had a hard time getting the students to leave. Having put so much effort into organizing an event like that, and seeing people really enjoy it, is definitely one of the highlights of my time at Trinity.

What do you think is the best-kept secret at Trinity College? 

Most things at Trinity don’t stay secret for long, so if you discover something you never knew or heard about before, I can guarantee half the college already knows. One area of Trinity that I know is certainly underutilized is the Stedman Library at St. Hilda’s. It may not be a secret per se, but after the Graham closes this is the best place to work and study in the whole college. At least when I was a student, few people ever made use of it, and the aesthetic is definitely conducive to productivity. Who doesn’t love a good wall-mounted bookshelf?

Can you tell us a bit about the work you did at NCSU?

I was hired as the Digital Project Librarian for the Special Collections Research Center at North Carolina State University Libraries to complete the final six months of a two-year Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)-funded grant project called “Better Living in North Carolina”, a partnership with the F.D. Bluford Library at North Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University. The objective of the project was to digitize the annual reports and publications of North Carolina’s Cooperative Extension Service. The Cooperative Extension Service is a program run by the state over the last century aimed to better the lives and output of farmers and their families. Much of the material consisted of reports written by various agents and members of the service regarding rural life in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. On a day-to-day basis, I oversaw the digitization done by graduate students, insured that the hundreds of thousands of images and associated metadata entries were accurate when creating the digital items, promoted the project to the university community, and worked with our vendors and partner university to ensure that production was smooth and consistent. For an idea of what the collection consisted of, check it out here.

What are you looking forward to most over the next year?

Planning and implementing a digital exhibit of some of the Graham Library’s special collections holdings is definitely going to be a fun project. I also love assisting researchers; there’s always an element of detective work involved, and the researchers that are making use of our rare books and special collections often have fascinating projects that they’re eager to talk about. Really, I’m looking forward to any excuse to go down to the rare book room. It may not be for everyone, but the excitement of picking up, say, a 500 year old Renaissance text on epigraphic inscriptions found throughout Rome never really goes away, no matter how many times you do it.

What books are you reading right now, or which podcasts are you listening to?

Embarrassingly, I can’t remember what the last book I read was, although I plan to change that imminently. I am, though, an enthusiastic podcast listener. I’ll limit myself to five that perhaps may not appear on the Apple Podcast featured page (and some that have a definite Trinity College connection): The Beaverton Weekly Report, Discover Library and Archives Canada, Hello from the Magic Tavern, Invisible City, and The Wrong Station. I’m currently subscribed to over 60 podcasts, so if you’re ever looking for a recommendation, you know where to find me.

Christopher Hogendoorn is the Special Collections & Digital Initiatives Librarian in the Graham Library. He can be reached at christopher.hogendoorn@utoronto.ca.

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