Lisa Pappas has worked at the University of Michigan for seventeen years. Today, she is not only a recurring contributor to the Clements Library, but she is a regular researcher as well. “I’m just a community member with an innate sense of curiosity,” Lisa said during our phone conversation. Her curiosity first brought her to the Clements when the University was celebrating its bicentennial anniversary. Interested in looking at the Treaty of Fort Meigs–in which the Anishinaabeg ceded land that would then be used for the University of Michigania, she visited the Bentley Historical Library and the William L. Clements Library. After her first visit to the Clements, Lisa attended a Behind the Scenes Tour and was delighted to see more of the archives and learn about conservation efforts.
Having spent a fair amount of time at the Clements Library, doing her own research, Lisa was quick to answer, when I asked about her favorite item or collection. She loves the Richard Porht Jr. Collection of Native American Photography and the Michigan Collection. “Researching at the Clements,” Lisa said, “feels like a sacred experience.” I know what she means: When you are in the Avenir Foundation Reading Room, with its vaulted ceilings and walls of books behind glass doors, everyone uses hushed voices and slow movements. She explained how the staff carefully handled the collection materials and taught her how to do so as well–using foam wedges to support books, keeping loose manuscript pages in order, and holding photographs appropriately.
As a book-buyer for thirty-five years and an impressive library of her own, I think you could call her a bibliophile, but Ann Cassidy didn’t label herself as such during our conversation. She attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate student, majoring in Middle Eastern Studies. While she did not visit the Clements as a student, she attended a Jane Austen literature class later in life which brought her here. During that class, she remembers looking at : “The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined: Comprising Ample Directions for Preparing Every Article Requisite for Furnishing the Tables of the Nobleman, Gentleman and Tradesman,” by John Mollard and published in 1802. Thus began Ann’s relationship with the William L. Clements Library. (This book is part of the Jan Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive that was housed at the Clements Library, but transitioned to University Special Collections in 2013.)
“One thing I really admire about the Clements–and interests me a lot as a bookseller–is thinking of ways to reach out to the community for education that is not involved with academia,” Ann said. She has really enjoyed the different educational opportunities that our library has offered, including the various exhibits, lectures, and Bookworm episodes. Her participation in the events is what inspired Ann to start giving. Around December 30, every year she would scramble to make donations to her chosen organizations and one year she realized that if she increased her gift by a little bit and spread it over the year with automatic deductions, she could make her life easier! She told me that she loves seeing the Clements line-item on a monthly basis and getting regular updates from the development staff–keeping her in the know of how her dollars are at work.
Many thanks to Lisa, Tom, Ann and all our regular contributors. Knowing that we have consistent gifts helps us at the Clements Library plan for what’s possible. Please do your part by setting up your recurring contribution today.