Staff Spotlight – Nicole Diehm, Digital Collections Librarian


Staff Spotlight - Nicole Diehm, Digital Collections Librarian 2

Background: My mom called me her 3M girl when I was a teenager (movies, mall, and museums). During school I’d be at the movies or mall with my friends, but during the summer Mom would drop me off at the Empire State Plaza, in Albany, NY, where I’d go to the New York State Museum and Library for the day. I loved roaming the exhibition halls and library stacks. It has always felt comforting.

After college I made some life choices that took me away from the museum field. Finding I did not like a career path in banking and I became free to go where I chose, I decided to follow my parents south after they retired and moved to Florida. I then went back for my masters in History. I worked in internships and special projects, focusing on public history and oral histories. Eventually I interned at the Revs Institute in Naples, FL, and I practically refused to leave because I enjoyed it so much. They hired me fulltime and from there I was offered a position in a corporate archive. In 2020, I lost my job and I moved to St. Augustine for a position at the SAHS Research Library.

Education: I earned an A.A.S. in Business Administration from HVCC (Troy, NY) in 2001 and my B.A. in History in 2004 from Siena College (Loudonville, NY). In 2017 I earned my M.A. in History from FGCU (Fort Myers, FL) and a year later I earned my MSI from FSU (Tallahassee, FL). I also have a certificate for Digital Archives Specialist from the Society of American Archivists.

How did you get started at SAHS?: After I lost my job in 2020 I applied to over seventy positions from Florida to Alaska. When the position of Assistant Librarian at the SAHS Research Library became available, I remember thinking, “That’s the job I want.” I’d visited St. Augustine before and enjoyed it as a tourist, it felt homey. I had a Zoom interview with our Chief Librarian, Bob Nawrocki; Executive Director, Magen Wilson; and Senior Research Librarian; Charles Tingley. I felt like we would be a good fit, and they offered me the position. I moved from Naples to St. Augustine Labor Day weekend, and started immediately after. After about six months, I asked if my title could be changed because my position had become digital collections heavy. I was granted the title of Digital Collection Librarian, and I’ve been running with it ever since.

What projects are you currently working on?: My days usually consist of working on projects within our Digital Framework that we created in 2021 which includes Outreach, Preservation, Access, and Security—I affectionately refer to it as OPAS! I have cleaned up some of the records in our catalog for consistency and accuracy and am working on upgrading our online catalog to be more efficient on the back end. I tend to be the resident IT person, making sure our equipment is running smoothly. I’ve added an online Reading Room to the Research Library’s main web page, and I work on updating the SAHS web pages as well. I also work on digitizing our oral histories and manage the volunteers who help us transcribe them, along with delegating digitization projects to our volunteers.

What projects are you looking forward to?: We are working on a project with the app Urban Archive, where you use a map and add your collections information and stories to it so users can get information about the city from anywhere. We plan on creating walking tours around the city, especially in areas where people may not know to go.

Also, I plan to start a podcast which will focus on little known history around the city. Most people know the basics, I want to dig a little deeper and find the interesting tidbits and bring those to light. Everybody loves finding out a weird happening that they didn’t know before.

What do you like about working at the SAHS?: The empowerment to do my job. I am given encouragement and my opinion is valued. I have been happy at other jobs, but the support I receive here is nothing that I’ve ever experienced before. We feel like a work-family, not just co-workers, and we work together to bring the Society into the future. Our people genuinely care about each other here.

How can SAHS improve going forward?: We have already made many steps to move forward in the digital realm. The next step will be to establish our foundation and update our collections to make sure all the information is updated. Though we are moving forward in many ways, taking a step back and making sure everything is correct and consistent is the best way to make sure all our future projects move smoothly forward.