On April 1, Kara Bledsoe joined Ithaka S+R’s Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museums team. In this interview, she reflects on what brought her to Ithaka S+R and what she hopes to accomplish through her work with us.

What attracted you to Ithaka S+R?

My background is in management consulting for cultural organizations. I drafted strategic plans, facilitated visioning workshops, and evaluated clients’ operations to help them optimize the balance between market forces and their missions. Most of the research I have done has been relevant to the wider sector but remains proprietary, so I am very appreciative of the opportunity for producing public research at Ithaka S+R, in addition to continuing consulting work. I am also attracted to the culture of the workplace. All of my coworkers are intelligent and passionate, and the atmosphere is open and collaborative.

What projects are you currently working on?

Right now I’m on a team conducting interviews with university librarians about how their institutions evaluate Big Deals and advocate for more favorable terms. This project is another layer to the Open Access conversations, calling into question “business as usual” in scholarly communications and publishing. We are also asking about what tools and services would best support academic libraries in their decision making around collection management.

What are your larger goals for working to improve higher education and cultural sectors?

I would very much like to explore the needs of neurodivergent scholars, the experiences of women of color in STEM, the state of HBCU libraries and archives, and the future of Black cultural institutions. What all these topics have in common is my desire to highlight the value of diversity and inclusion and the need for more support for marginalized communities, scholars, and institutions.