Name: Katina Strauch
Professional Titles: Founder and Convener, Charleston Conference and Fiesole Retreats, Editor, Against the Grain, Assistant Dean Technical Services and Collection Development, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Chair of the Board The Charleston Advisor
Organizations: College of Charleston, Charleston Information Group, LLC, The Charleston Company
You must be both amazed and proud to see how the Charleston Conference has grown over the years into a major event for librarians. As the leader and visionary for this event what are some of the challenges you face as it continues to grow?
The Conference has truly grown in an amazing way. This is because the scads of people who help run it have very creative and innovative ideas and the energy to make things happen. Going forward, there are issues with size as well as content. The Conference can’t get much bigger because of space limitations and philosophy. We want it to remain informal and relatively small. Because of the ongoing changes in scholarly communication, the content must develop and expand. We have begun to conduct new seminars and workshops. Other innovations are in the works.
Your conference attracts many leaders from libraries, publishers, vendors and consultants of all shapes and sizes. Is there any one characteristic that you see that these folks have in common?
Flexibility and creativity and a sense of humor and fun are all important characteristics. Also a willingness to embrace new ideas about programming, content, and whatever else comes along. Believe me, there are plenty of unexpected and unpredictable issues that surface all the time.
Spanning away from the conference – can you share a standout moment or two from your time as a librarian at College of Charleston?
Just one? The building of the Addlestone Library in 2000 has made it a centerpiece of the community and the state, The expansion of the College as a major research venue is happening right now with our partnership with the South Carolina Historical Society and renovation of the building in 2014. When I came to the College in 1979 it was a sleepy, small, unknown venue with 150 faculty and 4000 students and three masters degrees. Now we have close to 500 faculty and 10,000+ students with a growing number of graduate degrees and the real possibility of doctoral degrees.
One last question: If you could meet any leader past or present, who would it be? Why?
Hmmm. There are so many people. I regret that I never had the opportunity to meet Bill Katz. He was an amazingly creative, energetic, kind and unassuming man. I wish I could have had more time with Ed Holley who could have told us more about library history and its relevance to today. Historically, I would have liked to have met Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) who I understand was a librarian for a small time. I am also a huge opera lover and wish I had had a chance to meet Maria Callas who was Greek and loved all kinds of books.
Here's to a great time in Charleston and Katina, thank you for making it all possible. Be on the lookout for Mission Bell Media CEO Rolf Janke at the conference and tell him his Santa Barbara crew says hello!