Library volunteer Laura Woodard developed a love for art while taking her first art history course as a music student at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. After graduating, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in art history from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and gained museum experience by volunteering at the Met Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s branch dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe. After college, a friend of Laura’s began library school, and she realized that this career path closely aligned with her own qualities and interests. As a student in the University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies, Laura was especially interested in coursework on archiving and handling special materials, essential skills unique to art librarians. Since finishing her master’s degree, Laura has worked extensively in library systems in Atlanta, while also staying up to date and connected in the special field of art libraries.
In Birmingham, as Laura looked for opportunities to work in an art library, BMA Chief Curator Anne Forschler-Tarrasch was seeking assistance with a growing backlog of art books in need of cataloging. The Museum’s Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library is one of the most comprehensive art research libraries in the region, and a vital resource for the Museum’s collections curators and Birmingham public. Laura reached out to Anne, and began volunteering the following week. Since March 2018, she has been able to put countless publications into circulation. She appreciates the scope of the library’s collection, attributing it to the Museum’s diverse collection of art objects.
Thank you, Laura, for sharing your time and expertise at a time when it is needed the most!
Are you interested in learning more about art, giving back to your Museum and community, and meeting friends with similar interests? Be a part of the Birmingham Museum of Art by volunteering! Visit our Volunteer page for a list of volunteer opportunities.