Meet Your Librarian—Art, Architecture, and Art History

Morning Star Padilla (Diné/Chicana) is a UO subject librarian and the head of arts and humanities liaisons with subject expertise in architecture, art, art history, historic preservation, and product design. You can usually find her in the Design Library, where her office is located, which also serves as a curation room for historic artwork, zines, and hundreds of print mediums.

#MeetYourLibrarian Morning Star Padilla
Morning Star Padilla is the head of the Arts & Humanities library liaisons.

Previously earning her MLIS and MAS (Archival Studies) from University of British Colombia, an MA in Community Development from Clark University, and a BA in international Studies from Portland State University, Morning Star first joined the University of Oregon in 2022. Working as a librarian in Vancouver British Colombia, she saw an ad for the job of a subject librarian at the University of Oregon, which combined all her interests—making her the perfect fit for the position.  

Starting with Students 

“It all starts with the students,” is Morning Star’s philosophy. With her expertise and knowledge in art research, she is eager to assist anyone seeking help, and does more than offer her services as a subject librarian to help them find what they’re looking for. For many students across campus trying to hone-in on a specific research question or collection can be hard. But with just a brief description of what a student is looking for, she can find just about anything.  

Recently, she helped a student who was researching the ethics of separating art from the artist. The student wanted to explore Pablo Picasso’s work alongside his notorious lifestyle. Morning Star helped that student specify the topic and then identify a variety of appropriate sources including journals, newspaper and magazine articles, books, and even letters from Picasso’s wife. 

Sharing Resources and Teaching 

Checking which classes are being offered each term, Morning Star uses that information to create displays of materials from the collections to introduce students and new faculty members to what’s available in the Design Library. Professors often ask Morning Star to attend their classes to share information about the library including how to navigate the three floors of library spaces inside Lawrence Hall, find materials in the collections, and reserve study and collaboration spaces.  

With Morning Star, getting help is the name of the game. One of her primary jobs is to talk with students about their research process and help them identify what they need. The last thing she wants is for students to hesitate to ask for help. She emphasizes that it’s okay not to know what to ask for. By sharing what they’re working on, students and other researchers can get Morning Star’s help to clarify their research questions and find the materials they need to support that work. She says, “You never live the same day twice. There is always something to learn.” 

Subject specialist librarians—also known as Liaison Librarians or Teaching Librarians—like Morning Star offer many instructional opportunities beyond library orientations. Faculty members can invite them to teach lessons related to a specific class or have an entire class come to the library to view special collection materials.  

These librarians also: 

  • Collaborate with faculty to review the learning outcomes of the course syllabus and/or program so that information literacy skills can be incorporated 
  • Teach how information in the discipline is organized and what information is accessible from what pathway 
  • Discuss how to obtain open or freely available resources in service of their research goal 
  • Teach students how to scope a broad topic into a manageable research project  
  • Design learning exercises for information discovery in the discipline    

Growing Collections 

With a growing interest in arts across campus and the Eugene community, Morning Star actively works on expanding the artist books collection. One of the ways she is growing the Design Library’s collection is by buying comics and zines from Latin and Indigenous artists, especially those who visit the UO and give talks about their work. Morning Star hopes to grow the special art collections so students across campus and the Eugene community can access an even broader collection that includes more artists of color working in a wider variety of media.  

Visit the Subject and Area Librarians webpage to find other subject specialist librarians and follow #MeetYourLibrarian and @UOLibraries on social media to learn more about how subject specialist librarians serve our UO and civic communities.   

—By Lucas Chapman (Class of ‘24, Journalism: Advertising) communications assistant, UO Libraries