Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Profiles – Chrissy Rissmeyer, Digital Projects Metadata Coordinator, Boston Public Library

by Gina Perille

Even in library school, Chrissy Rissmeyer was more attracted to the cataloging side of library work than the research side. So it was only natural that she would be drawn to digitization—that is, converting printed materials or film into electronic files. “Digital libraries open these materials up to the wider world and make them accessible,” she raves. “It’s part of the future of libraries.”

The Boston Public Library has two digital imaging laboratories, one for books and “anything bound,” as Chrissy describes it, and the other for unbound materials such as posters, maps, postcards, photographs and negatives, manuscripts for rare books, and more. It is with the unbound materials that Chrissy shines as the library’s Digital Projects Metadata Coordinator. (“It’s an evolving title,” she laughs.)

“What I love most about digitizing is that it makes things available to people that they might not come across otherwise,” says Chrissy. For example, photographer Leslie Jones’ humorous depiction of 20th-century Boston has inspired a lively online social engagement that probably would not have occurred in a traditional library setting.

“We have some of the most fun in the building,” Chrissy says. “I love seeing people interacting with these collections and enjoying them. Sometimes it even inspires them to learn more about it.”