Erin White


Erin White


Head, Digital Engagement


Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries



Graduation year: 


What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?

I came to SILS straight out of my undergraduate studies at UGA. I was a sociology and journalism major, but had been working part-time as a web designer for the university for a few years and decided I wanted to pursue the web as a career. I wanted to learn more about systems analysis, database design, and information science concepts, so I applied to SILS. I didn't intend to become a librarian, but once I left the option open as I applied for jobs. Turns out VCU Libraries had a perfect job for me!

How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?

I've lucked out - VCU has offered me increasing responsibilities since I arrived right out of library school in 2009. I began as a web applications developer, reporting to web manager (and fellow SILS alum) Susan Teague-Rector. When she left VCU I assumed some of her responsibilities including supervising our part-time developer and setting strategy and vision for the website. Since 2010 I've grown the web team to include two other full-time folks. Last year, VCU Libraries reorganized and I became a department head, overseeing our outward-facing web experiences and our digitization efforts. I'm very happily approaching my 8th anniversary at VCU in July.

In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?

I lead a team that is responsible for all our public and staff-facing web interfaces as well as digitization of materials for our institutional repository and digital collections. We've also begun to explore work in the digital humanities, working with subject matter experts on-campus to create digital projects. My job is to corral all these projects, support a talented team, and articulate a broad vision for our library web and digital projects.

What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?

A couple of years ago my team built an interactive map of the spread of the second Ku Klux Klan, working with a tenured history professor. It was our first digital humanities project. The map got us on the front page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the site saw visitors from all over the world. We are still getting emails and link-backs on the project over a year later.

What were some of your best experiences at SILS?

I so enjoyed working in the SILS IT lab with Aaron Brubaker, Scott Adams, and a gaggle of talented other SILS students. I got to learn a lot more about server administration and networking and got to meet pretty much everybody at SILS. That job was never boring.

What inspires or motivates you?

Seeing what my fellow SILS grads have done inspires me regularly. It's so exciting to see folks who graduated with me who are now running libraries, working on cutting-edge projects, spearheading nationwide initiatives, and otherwise making their marks on the field.