James Madison, Troll Dolls, and Glam Rock: Eight Questions for Tiffany Cole

Special Collections is very excited to welcome three new staff members this year. In fact, we’re enjoying our new colleagues so much we wanted to be sure to share them with you. First up, we introduce Tiffany Cole, Reference Coordinator, who began her new position in July.

Tiffany at the reference desk, where you will find her much of the time.

Tiffany at the reference desk, where you will find her much of the time.

Tiffany is a native Virginian, born and raised in the Harrisonburg / Rockingham County area. She received her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University and completed her graduate work in public history at James Madison University. At J.M.U. she wrote her thesis on the moonshining culture of Rockingham County using oral histories as the principal primary source material. Prior to coming to U.Va., Tiffany held positions at J.M.U.’s Special Collections as an archives assistant and James Madison’s Montpelier as Assistant Curator of Research. We asked Tiffany to answer a few questions about herself:

What was your first ever job with books or libraries?

As an undergraduate at Eastern Mennonite University, I did a semester work study stint in the university library assisting with ILL, reshelving, shelf reading, etc.

 

What was the first thing you collected as a child? What do you collect now? (oh, c’mon, admit it).

As a rule I try to live a clutter-free lifestyle. You will not find any tchotchkes, knick knacks, trinkets, baubles, or gewgaws in my house. That said, as a child I was really into troll dolls and amassed quite a sizable collection. Now, as an old married lady, I collect vintage Pyrex bakeware. I have become my mother.

Since Tiffany's arrival we've experienced a sharp uptick in troll sightings in the stacks. Fortunately, trolls produce no threat to collection materials, but we are monitoring the situation just in case.

Since Tiffany’s arrival we’ve experienced a sharp uptick in troll sightings in the stacks. Fortunately, trolls produce no threat to collection materials, but we are monitoring the situation just in case.

Hopefully you’ve been roaming Grounds and Charlottesville a bit since your arrival. What’s your favorite new discovery other than Special Collections?

The Corner. I’m pretty familiar with Charlottesville and the surrounding area, especially the vineyard and winery scene. While I never really spent much time on the Corner, I became fascinated by the immediate area after watching The Parking Lot Movie several years ago. I’m definitely looking forward to trying out all the restaurants and local joints. Suggestions are encouraged and appreciated!

 

Name something about Special Collections or U.Va. that is different from what you expected.

The variety of material in Special Collections continues to amaze me. I took for granted that U.Va. was strong in Virginiana and early American history, specifically manuscript collections. However, I never fully appreciated the breadth and depth of the materials in our collection relating to American literature. While the experience of reading William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying in AP English nearly gave me PTSD, I now feel compelled to go back and reread it. Faulkner deserves a second chance.

 

If you could be locked in any library or museum for a weekend, with the freedom to roam, enjoy, and study to your heart’s content, which one would you choose?

The library and archives at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s the only place on Earth that appeals to both my appreciation of rare materials and manuscripts and love for glam rock and hair metal.

 

When you came to interview, we showed you the miniature book collection. If you can remember, tell us what you thought to yourself when you found out we had 14,000 miniature books.

“So where are the miniature book trucks and miniature book cradles?”

 

Tell us your go-to Thomas Jefferson quote (if you don’t have one, get one. You’ll need it!).

First place (I know it’s cliché): “I cannot live without books.”

Runner-up: “I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk, & restorative cordial.”

 

You’ve chosen to work in Public Services, so clearly you like to communicate! Pick one form of communication:

Tumblr
Facebook
Twitter
Texting
Landline
U.S.P.S.
carrier pigeon
other: human contact

Explain your choice:

I prefer to communicate the old fashioned way – in person. I find it much easier to converse with people when I can read their mannerisms and social cues. Otherwise, I prefer texting to phone conversations and Twitter to Facebook. As a recovering Facebook addict, I’m proud to say I’ve been clean, with a deactivated account, since February 2014.

As you can imagine, we are all so happy to have someone with Tiffany’s sense of humor AND massive knowledge of Virginia on our staff. Welcome, Tiffany!

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2 thoughts on “James Madison, Troll Dolls, and Glam Rock: Eight Questions for Tiffany Cole

  1. What a good idea to introduce new staff members in this way! Now I’ll have no excuse for not putting a name to a face. Tiffany certainly brings excellent training and experience to a wonderful job.

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