Valerie Harris is Associate Special Collections Librarian and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where she has coordinated reader services and managed the rare book collection since 2006. She holds an MS from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining the faculty at UIC, Valerie held positions in rare books and manuscripts at the University of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum and the Frank Lloyd Preservation Trust in Oak Park, IL.
I became a special collections librarian because of my dedication to the preservation of and access to our cultural heritage. I strive to help faculty, students and the greater scholarly community discover and access the world of the past as found in artifacts, especially documents.
In my research, I explore the role of the librarian in transforming the experience of using special collections, both the role of the librarian in providing access to the materials comprising the collections and the effect of the site-of-use on user perceptions.
Valerie Harris and Kathryn Stine. Politically Charged Records: A Case Study with Recommendations for Providing Access to a Challenging Collection. American Archivist 74, 2 (Fall/Winter 2011): 633-651.
Valerie Harris, "How Can I Help You?": Becoming User-Centered in Special Collections. Archival Issues 32, 2 (November 2010): 71-97.
Valerie Harris, The Rediscovery of the Sierra Leone Collection. MAC Newletter 37, 4 (Apr 2010).
Valerie Harris, Janet Olson, Heather Stecklein, Sweet Homes, Chicago: An Architectural History. Archival Outlook (May/Jun 2007): 9, 26.
Valerie Harris, The Diverse Talents of Maginel Wright Barney: The New York Years. Wright Angles 32, 1 (Feb/Mar/Apr 2006): 9.
Works in Progress
Valerie Harris and Peter Hepburn. “Trends in Image Use by Historians and the Implications for Librarians and Archivists."
Bergis Jules, Lisa Calahan, Valerie Harris, Sherry Williams, Bea Julian, “Revealing Hidden Collections of Under-Represented Groups.” Black Metropolis Research Consortium conference, Chicago, IL. October 2011.
Valerie Harris, Peter Hepburn. “We Built It—Will They Come?: Tracking the Use of Digital Image Collections Through an Analysis of the Literature of History.” Society of American Archivists annual meeting, Chicago, IL. August 2011.
Valerie Harris, Kathryn Stine, Daniel Meyer. “Avoiding Turbulence: Donors, Deeds and Descriptions.” Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting, St. Louis, MO. May 2009.
Valerie Harris, “Successful LSTA Grant Projects: Digital Imaging Projects Tips.” Metropolitan Library System, Burr Ridge, Illinois. March 2008.
Valerie and Margaret Strobel, "Don't Throw It Away (Well, Okay, Throw Some of It Away)." College of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago. April 2007.
Valerie Harris, "Sources for Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun at the University of Illinois at Chicago Library." National Archives (NARA)-Great Lakes Region, Chicago, Illinois. March 2007.