WU Libraries Staff Spotlight: James Gardner

James Gardner, Art and Architecture Library Associate, has worked at WU for almost two years. After he graduated with a double major in art history and psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, he received his master’s degree in art history from WU—and spent many hours studying in the Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library. He  lives in West County and plans to move closer to campus.

What was your area of focus when you were getting your master’s degree in art history? Modern European, 1860-1960. I was most interested in Max Beckmann because we have so much here. The St. Louis Art Museum has one of the top three collections of his works in the world, and the other two are in Germany.

Describe your job. I focus on collections management for the Kranzberg library, so that means dealing with new books and new journals and any questions regarding the collections and missing or lost books. It’s the nuts and bolts of keeping the collection in shape. I’ve also taken on a bit of seeing what we have here and at West Campus to review our collection as a whole.

What do you like best about your job? I really enjoy being one of the first people to see the new books. There’s always a good variety. I focused so much on art history and didn’t go much beyond that when I was getting a master’s, because the work is so specialized, so now I can take a step back and see books dealing with architecture and design and other areas.

Are there any recent books that stand out? Experience is a book that has a heat-sensitive cover. If you hold your hands on it long enough, the color will actually change. Jenny (Akins, Art [Studio Arts] and Architecture Librarian) ordered a 360 book last semester, as an example for someone taking a design course. It was almost like an accordion, in the way it folds out.

What do you like to do in your free time? Travel, photography, travel photography. Photography in general. I’ve been enjoying taking pictures of this whole construction project (on the East End), just trying to see the change over time. I like to travel to New York, Vegas, the coasts. I’d like to go to Seattle again.

Have you read anything good lately? I read The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. High fantasy is always entertaining—magic and swords and things.

About the author