Laura Romans is the manuscripts archivist in Special Collections of UT Libraries, a department that maintains unique and historical documents. She has worked in Special Collections since June 2015.
Romans oversees the collections of personal historical documents such as letters and other private papers. She spends her days organizing these collections, which range from single diaries to several hundred boxes of materials.
Romans also facilitates the use of these materials by creating exhibits and making documents available online.
Why this field?
Romans has loved history for as long as she can remember—a passion inspired by her parents.
“They’re both pretty voracious readers who appreciate history,” she said.
What really set Romans on the path to her career, however, was a work-study position during her undergraduate years at Middle Tennessee State University. Romans was placed in MTSU Library’s special collections department.
“That’s sort of when I realized that this was like an actual career path,” said Romans. “I found it really exciting to be able to work hands-on with history.”
Romans earned her master’s degree in library and information science at the University of South Carolina. During this time she decided she wanted to work on a college campus.
Whether it’s going to concerts, attending sporting events, or simply watching Netflix, family time is paramount for Romans.
Her passions include travel and food.
“I feel like my husband and I do a lot of traveling, even if it’s just weekend trips,” she said. And when they visit a place, they like to dine on the city’s most iconic and well-known cuisine.
One such adventure was exploring the most popular pizza places in Chicago.
Among her favorite trips was a 10-day visit to Germany with her husband and his family. Romans’s husband is originally from Germany, which made the visit even more special.
Trips to Ireland and elsewhere in Europe are on her bucket list.
If she didn’t do this . . .
Speaking practically, she imagines herself being a high school history teacher. More idealistically, however, her dream would be to open a boutique.
“It would be things like clothing, records, and books—a little bit of everything,” said Romans.
Favorite spot on campus
While Romans admits she’s a bit biased toward Hodges Library, she also enjoys walking through the courtyard of nearby Melrose Hall.
“To me, it sort of has this Hogwarts feel to it,” she said, referencing the Gothic structure of the archways.
Another favorite UT spot: Hoskins Library, which houses a great deal of Special Collections’ storage.
“It’s also very Hogwarts,” she added.