The Spotlight is an occasional feature that will profile a Libraries staff member.
Rina Vecchiola joined the staff of the Libraries in 2005 as reference librarian/instruction and outreach coordinator. In 2006, she was promoted to her current position of art and architecture librarian. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history/international relations from the University of California-Davis and a master’s degree in the history of art and architecture from the University of California-Santa Barbara. She earned her library science degree at the University of California-Los Angeles. Before joining the WU Libraries, Rina worked as a research librarian at the University of California-Irvine and as a librarian at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. She lives in Des Peres with her husband, Eric Lutz, associate curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM).
What do you like best about your job?
We have a beautiful space to work in and wonderful resources — rare materials, photos, large folios. I like the fact that we’re centrally located for the faculty and students. We’re embedded in their building — they’re all around us — and we’re able to be in regular contact with them. I really enjoy helping students with their research projects.
Have you seen any memorable art exhibits recently?
“Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum,” the exhibit that’s now at SLAM, is really great. I saw a wonderful retrospective of Doris Salcedo at the Guggenheim Museum last summer. The exhibit of work by textile artist Sheila Hicks that was recently at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis was also memorable.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy walking out at the Shaw Nature Reserve, and I like watching women’s sports, especially tennis and soccer, preferably live. The Olympics have been great. I’m also a big knitter — I always have a project going. Right now, it’s a scarf/cape thing.
You coordinated a June trip to the Netherlands for some of the members of your professional organization, the Art Libraries Society of North America. What stands out about the trip?
We visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and got a behind-the-scenes tour of the conservation lab, where we saw Van Gogh paintings that had been removed from their frames, which was pretty amazing. They were on tables. The conservators were studying their pigments to see how they had changed over time.
What are you reading these days? The Days of Abandonment, by Elena Ferrante, and String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis. I just finished Vertigo by Joanna Walsh.