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Craig Fansler, interviewed by
Interview by Robyn Corapi
What do you do here at Wake Forest?
Craig Fansler works in the ZSR Library with Special Collections and Archives. He helps to
preserve aged volumes and one-of-a-kind documents, as well as to create unique artwork to
promote the library. Some of his work can be viewed in the exhibits he designs in the library. His
creative bookmarks with handcrafted images that are printed using Wake Forest’s very own
letterpress can often be found at the ZSR circulation desk. He also supervises student assistants
that are interested in a career of preservation, and he teaches workshops on printing.
What made you want to be a preservation librarian?
Fansler has a background in art and graphic design. He once saw a group of students holding
handmade books, and curiosity drove him to take courses at the Appalachian Center for crafts.
His experiences led him to pursue a career as a professional librarian. He also received his
Master’s degree in Library Science at UNC Greensboro.
What are some of your favorite projects?
Fansler has completed many projects while working at Wake Forest. Among the most significant
are his repairs of Civil War letters and the Gertrude Hoffman posters. These windows into the
past came to him in fragile, unusable states. The Civil War letters were incomprehensible before
Fansler repaired them. Now anyone can read the letters written by Major John W. Cameron
requesting supplies for the troops in the Civil War. Additionally, the Gertrude Hoffman posters
displayed a dancer during the
20th
century. Her dancing style caused great controversy and
eventually got her arrested. She later formed a group called the Gertrude Hoffman Girls. These
posters were discovered inside a trunk and were very delicate. Fansler used sheets of mylar to
preserve the posters that can now viewed in Special Collections.
What about your job makes you happy?
Craig Fansler finds joy in the process of taking a deteriorating document and turning it into a
useful source for research. By preserving literature students can utilize physical primary sources
to learn. He also enjoys using his art background to create artwork that he can share with others.
He describes his career as his dream job because he does what he loves, and has the opportunity
to share this with people who truly appreciate it.
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