Who am I? 

Hi, my name is Amy Hildreth Chen. I’m currently an academic librarian at the University of Iowa, where I support the English and Communications departments while writing books and running a game development lab. I obtained an English PhD from Emory University in 2013 and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Alabama through the Council on Library and Information Research (CLIR) in 2015. See my CV or resume. If you want to follow me online, check out: ALA Connect, Google Scholar, HASTAC, Humanities Commons, Iowa Research Online, LibGuides, LinkedIn, ORCID, Slideshare, and Twitter.


What do I research? 

I study literary archives and academic life. Within the United States, the dynamic trade in literary papers began in 1955 and continues today. While each collection is as unique as the writer who created it, the market's overall shape and direction can be tracked to show how it evolved from a trade that cheaply met the needs of a new, larger generation of researchers following World War II into the multimillion dollar market of the present. Placing Papers: The American Literary Archives Market (University of Massachusetts Press, Spring/Summer 2020) documents this history by identifying its stakeholders' previous and current needs to argue that in the future the market will consolidate around the most privileged members of each group of stakeholders in a phenomenon widely known as the Matthew Effect. 

My current book project, Minimalist Academic, combines evidence-based practice with personal insights drawn from my life as a humanities PhD and librarian to teach readers to tackle their research, teaching, service, and life efficiently and effectively. Designed to be a guidebook, each topic in Minimalist Academic is given one page. A short explanation at the top of the page explains how to hack the subject while bullet points below provide a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) summary.

How do I teach?

I practice game-based learning (GBL). I develop Open Educational Resource (OER) card games through my lab, Human Games. So far, I’ve created three games. Codex Conquest explores the rare book market, Mark investigates early modern visual culture, and Egghead pairs male and female birds with their eggs and nests. These games have earned two grants, been played in locations ranging from Venezuela to the UK, and featured on Talk of Iowa and Columbia University’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

Where do I serve the Profession? 

As my career has been multi-faceted, so is my service. I retain roles that maintain my investment in literary studies such as serving on the Libraries and Research Executive Committee for MLA; benefit from my work experience in three different special collections repositories like being the Chair for the Publications Committee for RBMS; and help me influence the future of the humanities on my campus through the Humanities Advisory Board at The University of Iowa.