Rachel Starr Suntop



University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MLS in Library and Information Science, 2015

  • Completed a Graduate Certificate in Special Collections. This Certificate included courses in the following topics: preservation, conservation, archives, rare book librarianship, artists’ books, bookbinding, paper manufacturing and production.
  • Other specialty areas include research of diverse populations in the library profession, art librarianship and the Maker Movement in libraries.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MA in Textiles, Clothing and Design, 2002, Minor in Papermaking

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, BFA with High Honors in Ceramics, 2000

Library Experience

The Ringling Museum of Art Library, May-August 2015

  • Paid internship at the Ringling Estate in Sarasota, Florida. Research selected books from the private library of John Ringling; survey titles from John Ringling’s collection still available on the book market for display at Ca’ d’Zan.

Graduate Assistantship at the University of Illinois Library, August 2014-May 2015

Reference and Information Services:

  • Performed reference services in person, on the phone, by email and on instant messaging.
  • Participated in weekly training meetings related to specialized topics in these services.

International and Area Studies Library:

  • Specialized in promotion and outreach programs, specifically Chai Wai events: a series of interactive lectures on contemporary global issues.
  • Supervised several graduate students with the development of the library’s blog.
  • Designed and promoted international events of interest in a monthly calendar.

Social Science, Health, and Education Library:

  • Promoted issues relating to multiculturalism and diversity on campus through the designing and installation of exhibits.
  • Assisted with advanced reference inquiries.
  • Collaborated with the organization and cataloging of archival materials.

 Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois, January-August 2014

  • Aided in the implementation and organization of the “Knot Forgotten” crochet show. Planned the events for the show, including the designing of promotional posters and the creation of crochet installation art displayed on the Lorado Taft sculptures flanking main entrance to the library.

The Ingalls Library at the Cleveland Museum of Art, May 2014

  • The internship at this world-class institution involved a cataloging project using the library’s database, analyzing new acquisitions, and becoming familiarized with MARC and OPAC systems. Contributed to a LinkedIn Data Project and job shadowed staff in various positions.

Champaign Public Library, Library Page, March-August 2014

  • Sorted and shelved library materials at this four-star library that won the American Library Association’s 2014 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award. Merchandised books and other library materials to enhance their appeal and promote their use by browsers. Provided customer service by answering patron’s questions.

Internet Public Library, Volunteer, Spring 2014

  • Answered patron’s reference questions. Reviewed the queries by providing sources with authoritative information and evaluation of the sources.

Books for Prisoners, Volunteer, Fall 2013-Spring 2014

  • Read prisoner’s letters that contained their requests for books (general or specific). Selected       books that best suited the needs of each person, packed the various materials and replied to     letters.

Champaign Public Library, Volunteer, November 2013- March 2014

  • Volunteered in the shelving and circulation department. Retrieved materials for customer holds, arranged materials by alphabetical and numerical order and sorted by the Dewey Decimal System. Assisted patrons with their questions.

University of Illinois, Oak Street Conservation Center Volunteer, May 2012-May 2013

  • Repaired damaged books, including antique and rare books. Repair techniques included spine replacements, halfbacks, re-casings and paper mends. Used archival materials to preserve items. This position required the commitment of four hours weekly.

Museum Experience

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Internship in Arctic Studies Center, March-June 2006

  • Researched Native Alaskan headwear and created replicas for the museum’s permanent collection to be used for display and study purposes.
  • Studied costumes of Mongolia from the Genghis Khan era.
  • Frequent inspection visits to the supplemental storage facility at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.
  • Created unique headdresses for the Mongolia 800 festival at the Smithsonian.
  • Returned to present a felt making demonstration during the festival.

The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.

Internship in Eastern Hemisphere Collections, October 2005 to January 2006

  • Worked with registrar to catalog collection.
  • Cleaned and packed museum objects.
  • Used the ARGUS museum database software.
  • Responded in writing to requests from general public for the identification of clothing, tapestries and carpets.
  • Assisted with the research, editing and planning of the upcoming “Harpies and Mermaids” show of Greek Island embroidery.
  • Researched and published a paper about the museum’s collection of Miao children’s clothing.


Other Work Experience

Owner of Coolclimates (online store), 2008-present

  • Development and maintenance of this site requires producing inventory, writing description of objects, international shipping and fulfillment of orders.

Alterations Associate at the Magic Needle, Urbana, Illinois, 2007-2013

  • Clothing, accessory, and home furnishing repairs, sewing, mending, running the cash register, performing transactions, attending to customer’s needs, fulfilling special requests and custom orders.

The I.D.E.A. Store, Champaign, Illinois, November 2010-July 2014

  • Organized, sorted and merchandised supplies. Specialized in textiles and materials for creative reuse. Stocked the store, rotated inventory and provided customer service.

University of Illinois, Illini Union Bookstore, Extra Help Professional, Summer 2003-Spring 2010

  • Duties included running the cash register, performing transactions, textbook and supply inventory and customer service.


Professional Affiliations

  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • Special Libraries Association (SLA)

Professional Development

  • American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference, Chicago, Illinois, January 2015

Technical Skills

  • Web page development: HTML5, XHTML, CSS and Dreamweaver.
  • Citation management software: RefWorks
  • Graphic design software: Adobe Photoshop, InDesign (fair)
  • Web 2.0 social media platforms
  • Computer: Mac and PC literate
  • Microsoft Word, Publisher

Relevant Course Projects

Independent Study in Libraries and Makerspaces, Spring 2015

  • Creating a course and syllabus with topics, readings and assignments. The syllabus and projects will be shared with the school, Makerspace Urbana and the CU Community Fab Lab to foster future developments in related courses.

Administration and Management of Libraries and Information Centers, Fall 2014

  • Created an imaginary library portfolio for a special library. The portfolio included a description, budget, and organizational chart; grant application, strategic plan, request for quotes, hiring plan and a promotional brochure.

Library Services to Diverse Users, Fall 2014

  • Produced a systematic bibliography of contemporary issues in Native American librarianship.

 Administration and Use of Archival Materials, Fall 2014

Introduction to Bibliographic Metadata, Summer 2014

  • Cataloged a portfolio of eighteen diverse materials (including printed and electronic books and audiovisual materials) in MARC format.

 Book Arts Seminar, Summer 2014

  • Developed an artists’ book collection utilizing an allotted budget.

Reference and Information Services, Spring 2014

Preserving Information Resources, Spring 2014

  • Conducted an assessment of the Ricker Library of Art and Architecture collection of rare materials and wrote up of a mock grant.

 Libraries, Information and Society, Spring 2014

  • Completed a poster project and annotated bibliography about ethnic diversity in libraries.

Introduction to Technology, Fall 2013

  • Produced a collaborative group web page about Community Informatics.

 Library Information Systems and Organization, Fall 2013.

  • Published a group web page on an imaginary library with a specific metadata schema and user base.

Fellowships, Assistantships and Honors

  • Graduate Assistantship, University of Illinois, 2014-2015
  • Awarded with a summer tuition waiver in GSLIS classes from the Champaign Public Library, 2014
  •  Four semesters of Graduate Assistantships at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one Fellowship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2001-2002.

Professional Residencies

Hafnarborg Institute of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjordur, Iceland (2005)

Red Cinder Creativity Center, Na’ahelu, Hawaii (2004).

  • Visiting artist program, development of new artwork, networking and regional travel.


Guest Lectures and Demonstrations

  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
  • The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C,
  • University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Lillian E Smith Foundation, Clayton, Georgia
  • Hafnarborg Cultural Center, Hafnarfjordur, Iceland



  • Artwork has been shown and exhibited nationwide and internationally from 2002-2010. Venues include the Robert Hillestad Gallery at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of British Columbia, the Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Textile Center of Minnesota, Minneapolis.




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