Who would have thought it would be so hard to talk about yourself? I guess I’ll start with the easy part. My name is Liza Vance and I’ve been working for the Boone County Public Library as a Local History Associate. It’s kind of serendipitous that I was asked to be the Spotlight for July since I’ll be celebrating my 4 year anniversary this month. In fact, I submitted my application for the position on one of the most historical holidays – the 4th of July! There are so many things I love about BCPL, but the one thing I tell people when I talk about my job is how much I appreciate how supportive everyone is to one another. There is always someone willing to lend a hand, whether it’s helping with technology, finding something, or just assistance with a project/program idea.
Have you ever wanted to become part of the X-men? Well, you need to get a cool mutation first. Luckily, my red hair has given me that edge. Surprisingly, I am the only redhead in my entire family! People are always shocked to find out that my family heritage doesn’t include either Scottish or Irish. Believe it or not, I’m Dutch, German, and Italian. I have the hair and complexion from Germanic Europe, but the appetite and loud voice from my Mediterranean ancestors.
I’m actually a transplant to Kentucky. While my parents are both from New Jersey, I was born in Denver. Before Kentucky, we lived in Salt Lake City for over a year and by the age of 2, we decided to make the Bluegrass State our home. Despite my family being spread throughout the country, we are all very close. I’m an only child, so my cousins have been the closest thing I have to siblings. In addition to my human family, I am a dog and cat mom to 2 beagles (Snickers and Remy) and a gray tabby (Gizmo).
Two things that have shaped who I am today would be my love of history and travel. I wanted a job where I would constantly be learning and discovering. I had lofty ambitions of becoming the next Indiana Jones and work as an archaeologist in some far-off distant land. Although I haven’t obtained that exact dream, I couldn’t be happier with where my career took me. I attended Northern Kentucky University and graduated with my BA in Anthropology and History in 2017 followed by my MA in Public History in 2019. During my time at NKU, I had some really incredible experiences. I was able to do two study abroad trips; 2 weeks in Egypt and 1 week in Italy. I managed an archaeological excavation. I created my own museum exhibit. I even participated in an archaeological field school at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello!
I caught the wanderlust bug at a young age. Thanks to the perks of having a mom who worked for an airline, I took my first flight at just 3 months old! I have been lucky to do quite a bit of traveling, both domestic and abroad. In addition to my study abroad trips, I’ve been to New York City around Christmas, eaten a Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia, gone cave tubing in Belize, rode the cog railway up to Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs, and ziplined in Honduras. One of my bucket list items is to step foot on every continent. So far, 3 out of 7!
Besides travel (and working on my own genealogy), my other hobbies and interests include cooking, baking, sewing, Disney, ax throwing, going to hockey games, and seeing plays at the Aronoff. I love all kinds of music and have been to several concerts including Frank Sinatra, Keith Urban, Backstreet Boys, and Aerosmith. One thing I love to do is go antiquing. I love going into an antique store, not knowing what you’re looking for, and then seeing that one piece that you realize you’ve been searching for all along. I have an antique stereoscope, cameras, hurricane lamps, and books. But my favorite antiques are my collection of copper tea leaf ceramics. This design holds a special place in my heart because it is the exact type of ceramic I found while working on a couple of excavations.
I also love being creative and doing DIY crafts. In 2020, I created wood cut-outs of the Sanderson Sisters as part of my Halloween decorations. I was really excited with how they turned out and how much all my trick-or-treaters enjoyed them. Interestingly, my grandfather did something similar over 40 years before me. For the Bicentennial of the U.S.A., my super patriotic grandfather made wood cut-outs of 4 colonial soldiers that he displayed for his Independence bash! I guess his talent and creativity were passed on to me.
I’m so happy to be part of the BCPL family. I’m excited about the growth of the Local History department and what the Boone County Borderlands Archive and History Center at Boone County Public Library will mean to the county and the region. I’m always looking for my next adventure, so come see me and we’ll talk about travel ideas and new experiences.