Up and Away With Nick Hirsch

Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library

Up and Away With Nick Hirsch

Staff as a Resource -- Part 4

Nick HirschNick Hirsch, a friendly presence at the library's checkout desk, just graduated with a B.A. honors degree in history from the University of Maryland, College Park. He went through much tension and turmoil studying for his finals, applying and appearing for interviews all over the country and working almost full time at the library. However he maintained a dignified and professional outlook at the library, with a cheerful word and smile for the customers who came through.

Introduced to science fiction at a young age through his father's extensive library collection, Nick emerged as a lifelong student of this genre. He grew up on Terry Brooks, Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman, Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert, and of course Stephen King and Anne Rice.

He enjoys Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Clive Barker and John Scalzi,  Frances A. Yates, Donna Haraway, David Sedaris, and Jean Baudrillard.

Y the last man

Nick also enjoys reading graphic novels, his favorite being the Testament,Cairo, Lucifer, and Y: The Last Man.

Nick shared his joy in reading through his Saturday morning story time for children ages 3 to 6 -- a popular program with the families in the Shaw community. He started, and maintains, a blog on children’s sci-fi books.

His newest project, “South of U,” was inspired by his grandmother, who was a community activist for many years during Nick’s childhood. This influence, paired with interest in history inspired Nick to plan and execute an oral history project that “focused on the connection between what we think of as 'history' and the real, lived experience of the people who live here,” says Nick.

The project involved extensive research, interviews with local people who remember the 1968 riots here in Shaw, and the long recovery that followed. Principal filming for the oral history project is completed and a final edited film is expected to be completed in Fall 2012.

Nick enjoys dabbling in all kinds of writing, including plays, short stories and blogs. A play he wrote called “Buzz” was performed onstage in 2008, just before he moved to D.C. “Cyborgs as Discourse," a brief paper on cyborgs and feminism, was published in the Spring 2011 edition of JANUS (school undergrad history journal). His honors thesis was on cybernetics and social sciences, titled “A Machine for Learning."

His hobbies include painting and drawing, dancing, gardening, cooking (especially baking), hiking, gaming (roleplaying games, videogames and board games), and most recently fire-spinning. He is a movie buff and critic, often enjoying badly made movies that he and his buddies enjoy deconstructing. He is a fan of TV shows Battlestar Galactica, Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Tudors and anything Joss Whedon ever touched (even Alien 4).

Unfortunately, however, we have to say bye to Nick as he leaves the DCPL system this summer to join the History of Science doctoral program at the University of California, San Diego.

Nick intends “to continue community involvement while also pursuing an academic career in the history of science, and also will continue to write fiction, plays, nonfiction, and whatever else takes my fancy.”

He advocates for equality of women and minority groups, including every race and sexual identity. “You are defined by who you choose to be and what you do with the life you are living," he says. "Be the best person you can be, be an active participant in every aspect of your own life, and the rest mostly takes care of itself."

Check other staff members of the Watha T. Daniel / Shaw Library:
Martin Burrows | Kandace Britton | Jamilla Coleman | Casey Danielson | Anina Ertel | Towanda Gravitt |Ellen Hungate | Elaine Pelton | Eric Riley | Jayanthi Sambasivan | Paul Sweeney