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Staff Q + A: Suzanne Glémot

Bookbinder, video game enthusiast, disco connaisseur

At Glémot workstation, instruments of precision and creativity combine to solve complex challenges.

How did you find your way into preservation and collections care?

I was somewhat aware of library preservation while I was a grad student working in the Conservation Lab, but was more interested in becoming a conservation technician—treating one book at a time—than I was in larger-scale collections care work. Coming out of my Book Arts and Library Science degrees, I was looking for tech jobs and book arts studio manager jobs: I really wanted to work on making or repairing books with my own two hands. The pandemic hit right as I was wrapping up my MFA, so those plans were put on hold for a while. During lockdowns and work-from-home, I focused on expanding my bookbinding skills as much as I could, and I made and repaired books from my little home bindery. Then, when jobs started opening up again in 2021, I found a collections care tech position at the Library of Congress: it was a high-volume, production-style bench position that allowed me to perform repair work on tons of books and grow my bookbinding skills through a library preservation focus. That job really opened my eyes to preservation and collections care as a career pathway and steered my library interest to collection-level preservation.

I like to frame preservation work through the question: “How do I help this book become (or stay) accessible to users, researchers, and students?”

What kinds of materials are your favorite to work with?

Never in my life did I think I’d say this, but right now I’m getting a kick out of working with old newspapers. It’s true they don’t feel great to the touch, and they are generally a preservation nightmare because of their fragility (which is caused by the fact that most newsprint is inherently acidic), but I love discovering what headline events and social movements were five years or five decades ago. It feels a little like getting to look back through time.

My all-time favorite materials to work with, though, are the books in the Conservation Lab’s Bookbinding Model Collection. I got to work with that collection in grad school, and once a week I work to organize, describe, and preserve this one-of-a-kind teaching collection, which traces the history and evolution of bookbinding crafts through time and across cultures. It’s a real gem.

How do you maintain focus on your detail-oriented work?

A cup of coffee before diving into detail-oriented work is a must, and I usually pair it with a podcast episode (or two or three). I particularly love audio essays that consider the intersection of video games and art/art history or think about why certain narrative/interactive features of video games work as well as they do. On the days where the weather is particularly overcast, I turn on some old disco hits instead…it helps the coffee go further.

Any particularly fun anecdotes about the job?

As a rule of thumb, using tape on books and library materials is a big no-no. Tape generally makes paper brittle over time and is terribly challenging to remove without damaging the item it’s on, if it can be removed at all. This year I’ve been working on repairing a couple of pop-up books, and the material I am using to repair the pop-up elements is…tape! Granted, it’s very specialized and conservator-approved tape, but I’m still tickled to be using what should be an illicit technique as a valid repair.

What advice would you give to a college student about careers, libraries, or life in general?

I think the most important thing you can do for yourself as you prepare for your life outside of school is to build community. Hopefully, you’ll end up in a really good job you are excited to show up for and grow into. But even if your job is less than perfect, the thing that will carry you through those inevitable professional and personal rough patches in life are your friends and loved ones. The same people you share meals and interests and trust with are the people who will be pumped to read over a cover letter or resume for you in the future and who you’ll help debrief after that interview. I’m a firm believer that no one accomplishes anything without some degree of help and support, and that extends to job searches and building career paths.

More concretely though: keep a running document where you keep track of all your resume activities. Cultivate a hobby that has nothing to do with your work. Remember to drink water, and stop to stretch from time to time.

Glémot’s workstation and tool collection highlight the multifaceted nature of preservation and collections care work. Presevation is both an art form and a technical skill. According to Glémot, “I am most excited for those days where I get to plug away at the bench making boxes or mending tears in paper, but any task that leads me to return a book to the stacks feels like time well-spent.” 

(Left: Glémot repairs a pop-up book.)

Author Q + A: Carmen Maria Machado

Acclaimed author, Hawkeye, former student library employee

Carmen Maria Machado has seen the stacks from every angle: as reader, shelver, and writer.  And during her time at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she came to appreciate the UI Libraries as study spaces and research resources. The Her Body and Other Parties author chatted with us about what she learned from her time as a student library employee during undergrad, and made sure to share some fittingly wry and writerly advice. 

Did you ever have a job during undergrad or grad school that you did alongside coursework? How did that affect your time as a student? 

Yeah, I had jobs in college! I actually worked in [my college] library. I wasn’t very good at it, to be super clear. I was pretty lackadaisical—I feel like I never quite mastered it. I was mostly at a little desk in the front where you could ask me questions. But then they would have me shelve, and I just could never figure out the classification system. I feel like I was always putting books in the wrong place. 

I also worked at a paint-your-own-pottery studio in college. In grad school, I was teaching because it was part of my funding package. And after grad school, I worked at Lush. I came home every day smelling like all of Lush. I’ve had a million jobs. I mean, I wasn’t really making a living full-time as a writer until a few years ago.

What’s your relationship to libraries in general? 

Oh, I love libraries. I used to spend a lot of time in my local library as a child. I literally belonged to a group of teenage library workers. Back then, me and my friend who worked in the library together left a note for our favorite librarian. We taped it under one of the shelves. And years later, my friend went back and let me know that it’s still there. 

And later—obviously when you’re doing research, libraries are a huge resource. I remember going into the UI Main Library during grad school and using the microfiche and visiting Special Collections. It felt so exciting. 

Do you have any advice for undergraduates?

It can be so hard to exist right now. But really, what I’d say is: “Always move toward your obsessions.” 

What has changed about your writing over time?

It always changes. It always is sort of shifting. When I was in grad school, I began to figure out what I wanted my voice to be, what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. But I was definitely one of those kids who always wanted to be a writer. 

What is it like to see your own books on the shelf? 

When I was younger, it always meant so much to see books on shelves. So seeing my own work on people’s bookshelves and in bookstores and libraries—it’s really surreal and beautiful. And I wish I could go back and tell little Carmen that that was going to happen one day. I always believed it would, on some level. 

You’re right in the middle of the alphabet, so that’s pretty good real estate. 

Exactly. It’s awesome. 

Virtual new book display – Jan. 15, 2024

The Resurrection

Victor Zulu has to take control of the family-owned club in which both his father and brother were killed. Will he be next? He’ll have to watch his back with gangsters coveting the club as a place to push drugs. Meanwhile, his brother’s best friend, Fana, wants to buy the club from the Zulus – but with what money? And then there’s Busie, his brother’s widow whom Victor secretly loves, but even she seems to have secrets. A thrilling tale of mystery and suspense, danger and daring.

Standing Heavy

The 1960s – Ferdinand arrives in Paris from Côte d’Ivoire, ready to take on the world and become a big somebody.

The 1990s – It is the Golden Age of immigration, and Ossiri and Kassoum navigate a Paris on the brink of momentous change.

The 2010s – In a Sephora on the Champs-Élysées, the all-seeing eyes of a security guard observes the habits of those who come to worship at this church to consumerism.

Amidst the political bickering of the inhabitants of the Residence for Students from Côte d’Ivoire and the ever-changing landscape of French immigration policy, Ferdinand, Ossiri and Kassoum, two generations of Ivoirians, attempt to make their way as undocumented workers, taking shifts as security at a flour mill.

Sharply satirical, political and poignant, Standing Heavy is a searingly witty deconstruction of colonial legacies and capitalist consumption, an unprecedented and unforgettable account of everything that passes under a security guard’s gaze.

Translated from the French by Frank Wynne


There are ruined things in the town of New Dutchess, New Jersey. A hotel that was never finished; a train line that never came. This is the town that Åsa Morgan thought she’d leave behind; this is the town Virgil Carey couldn’t leave. It’s the town where Dean Polis first started writing songs, and the town where something awful fell from a building one day. It’s where the band Alphanumeric Murders got their start, and where a series of tape recordings reveal the troubled history of the band and the lives of its members.

Ex-Members is a novel about punk scenes, old secrets, and hometowns that stalk us and break our hearts despite our best efforts to escape.

The Beads of Slavery

The Beads of Slavery is a fiction story about twins who were separated at birth grew up in different societies with diverse culture, their destiny of uniting two communities had them fall in love with the same man.

Simultaneities and Lyric Chemisms

A vital reconstruction of Italian Futurist poet Ardengo Soffici’s visual poetics, presented for the first time in English in Olivia E. Sears’s exacting translations.

With a foreword by Marjorie Perloff

With unexpected lyricism, buzzing between the entropic and the erotic, Soffici’s unrelenting poems manifest his milieu’s fascination with the metropolis. Guillaume Apollinaire called it “very important work, rich in fresh beauties.” This facsimile-style edition–with a foreword by Marjorie Perloff, helpful annotations, and an informative afterword by the translator–offers a glimpse into the vibrant early avant-garde, when modernity held tremendous promise.

Niger Delta Command

This is the first work of fiction based on the struggle of the Ogoni ethnic nationality. It is set in Bukhana. Niger Delta Command tells the story of betrayals, lies and jealousy that imploded the struggle of the Bukhana kingdom, an oil-producing tribe. The author uses suspense and flash-backs to recall how the mass movement was built, how indigenous ideologies transformed into a movement of international repute. How local people destabilized a nation-state, Ngana Federation and the major oil firm, Deep Oil.

The story is built around Patrick Deebom, a young activist groomed for a dangerous mission by his Uncle; who uses his connections in the force to set up a militia group. Navy Captain JJ Martins-Yellow and his friends are determined to free Prof. Benaale Saro Bunaale detained in military cells. Thus, they formed the Niger Delta High Command (NDHC), mobilized resources for media war against the government, stole weapons to attack oil installations, and infiltrate government security networks.

Good Actors

Sommer Browning’s third poetry collection

At birth we are given a role–it is our name. Good Actors is a side-eyed illumination of the artist as self-help guru, oracle, and sage, but more importantly as mother, lover, and friend. Part psychological experiment, part conceptual art piece, part screenplay, Good Actors is 100% a joyful celebration of language and life. And because it is Sommer, the book is hilarious, melancholy, and existential.

Relations: An Anthology of African and Diaspora Voices

Fresh and electrifying—stories, poems, and essays by African and diaspora writers, edited by author Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond.

Relations punctures the human illusion of separation. New and established storytellers reshape the narratives that divide and subjugate, revealing the truth of our shared humanity despite differences in language, identity, class, gender, and beyond. This vital anthology is Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond’s striking vision of a meeting place of perspectives, centered in the African and diaspora experience.

In a post-Black Panther world, it is an urgent and welcome embrace of the diversity of Blackness. A refreshing collection of genre-spanning literature, it offers a vibrant meditation on being—inviting connection across real and imagined borders, and celebration of the most profound relations.

A Dead Name That Learned How To Live

An honest lyric, a mighty harpoon straight from the heart, Golden’s debut collection, A Dead Name That Learned How to Live, weaves poems, family photographs, & self-portraits to share a journey of survival & living in the American south. Exploring themes of loss & legacy, nation & love language, forgiveness & fortitude, Blackness & being, Golden continually asks–What shifts within & around us when we choose to name ourselves & our kin here–our tragedy & triumphs, our human failures & feelings, our desires to be free?

Released on their parents’ 30th wedding anniversary (August 29th, 2022) as a dedicated love letter & living archive, this debut is an awe & ode towards southern Virginia & Eastern Shore Maryland, Black family pasts, presents, & futures, to Black queer beginnings & belongings outside and within the family home.

Updated hours for Jan. 9 due to winter weather

The University of Iowa Libraries have updated hours due for Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, due to winter weather.

(UPDATED at 4:15 p.m. to reflect the Main Library’s 5 p.m. closure)

  • Art Library – Closed
  • Hardin Library for the Health Sciences – Closing at 3 p.m. The 24-hour study will then open and online chat will be available until 6 p.m.
  • Lichtenberger Engineering Library – Closed with online services
  • Main Library – Closing at 5 p.m.
    • There are no delivery services within the library or between the libraries.
    • The Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio is closed.
    • Special Collections and Archives and the Iowa Women’s Archives reading rooms are closed.
  • Marvin Pomerantz Business Library – Closing at 1 p.m. with online services to follow
  • Lichtenberger Engineering Library – Closed with online services
  • Hardin Library for the Health Sciences – Closing at 3 p.m. The 24-hour study will then open and online chat will be available until 6 p.m.
  • Rita Benton Music Library – Open
  • Sciences Library – Open

    Additional Information about locations and hours can be found on the Libraries website.