Meet the Staff

Melica Stinnett is the Research Services Coordinator at Archives & Special Collections, overseeing the reference desk, reference inquiries, reproductions, and student workers. If you visit Archives & Special Collections, she will be the one greeting you! She has prior experience in the museum field developing exhibitions and a background in anthropology and archaeology. Her personal interests include painting, making stuff from things she finds, gardening, and taking deep dives into collections that contemplate the complexities of memory and meaning. In a past life, she was an outdoor mural artist.

How did you get into libraries? My library-adjacent career path began at the Connecticut Historical Society’s research center. Their collections are Connecticut-centric and date back to the 17th century. My BA is in Anthropology, specifically in Archaeology with a focus pre-history (Paleolithic era & Pleistocene). When you are trained to make daring inferences with tiny pieces of information from epochs past, being surrounded by historical collections and a written record was quite amazing. It was an ‘aha!’ moment for me. 

What do you love most about working in a library (archives)? I love the exact moment when I’m able to help connect the dots for a patron. You can see their research and ideas swirling around in their eyes. It is exciting to know that our resources are so valuable to many diverse individuals. 

What is a positive that has come from this pandemic? Time to reflect. 

What was your first job? Working as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the Mansfield Community Center. 

How do you prefer to start your day? Coffee, as black as midnight on a moonless night. 

What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on? Being the best student supervisor that I can be! Our student staff do an enormous amount of work for us, and we’d be lost without them. 

Tell us a fun fact about you: When I was an undergraduate, I dropped out of UConn to work on an organic farm in Hawaii. I got really tan, never wore shoes, jumped off cliffs, and learned a lot about farming. One weird thing I did at the farm was manage the compost piles, taking temperature readings and charting the results (it’s more work than you think.) I came back and finished my degree, of course!

What’s on your reading list? There’s a Joni Mitchell biography, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, that I’ve been avoiding finishing for the past year because I’m so bored with it. I should probably finish that…

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be? Woodworking, or house building. 

What’s your most hated household chore? Oh, that’s easy. Emptying the dishwasher. I handwash all the dishes and haven’t used the dishwasher in months.

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