Last week marked my one year anniversary of moving to North Carolina and taking up my position as the Associate Archivist of Davidson College. I’ve written a bit in here before about all of the Big Life Changes that have occurred over the past year and half or so (completing two graduate degrees, moving 900 miles, etc.), but anniversaries always seem like particularly apropos times to reflect, so, here’s a few of the things I’ve done over the past year (get ready for a long-ish post!):
Probably the most enjoyable part of my job is that I get to work on a vast array of different projects and initiatives – there’s always something happening in the small (three FTE) Archives & Special Collections working group. We’re a constant hub of energy and ideas, and much of that is down to the amazing people I work with – the College Archivist & Records Management Coordinator (Jan) and the Special Collections Outreach Librarian (Sharon) have a combined 55 years of Davidson work experience, so their institutional memories and knowledge are invaluable. But even more important (to me, at least!) is their total willingness to try new things, play around with ideas, and listen to the new person in the room. Though I work most closely with Jan and Sharon, my larger department at the library (Discovery Systems) is similarly inventive and friendly, and I’ve met and begun collaborating with lots of amazing people around campus and around the state. I love working in such a supportive unit, AND they frequently bring in snacks to share – I’m living the dream, you guys.
When I came into work last Wednesday, Jan and Sharon had placed this incredibly heartwarming whiteboard in front of my office:
My duties in the Davidson College Archives & Special Collections include supervising student workers, and this summer we had a bevy of them – five total! I’ve been in supervisory roles before – I was in charge of an office as an undergrad, and I had an intern work under me for a summer when I served as the archivist of the Nichols House Museum. However, this summer was my first experience with student workers in an academic library/ archives setting, and my first time supervising so many at once.
All in all, I think the summer ended up being incredibly productive, and our student workers were all amazing! I learned a lot by working with them this summer – it was challenging (in a good way) for me to train a new corps of students, and although I tried to balance out work I knew would most likely be tedious (scanning for hours) with some more exciting or creative projects, I’m aware that some of the tasks might not have been enjoyable. However, these five women handled every assignment with good grace, and I enjoyed getting to know all of them (as did the rest of the archives staff!). All of our students did some digitization work (primarily scanning, uploading, and entering metadata for student publications), although each had a variety of projects and assignments.
Here’s a roundup of the blogs the students wrote to summarize their experiences:
Astute readers may have noticed a new name join Jan (the College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator) and Sharon (the Special Collections Outreach Librarian) here on Around the D – mine, as a matter of fact! I joined the staff of E.H. Little Library as the Associate Archivist back in October, and inspired by my old graduate school colleague Stephanie Bennett‘s recent post on what archival processing is all about, I decided to write about what I do on a day-to-day basis. So, notes and highlights on what each day of the first week of classes for the Spring 2014 semester held for the Associate Archivist of Davidson College:
MONDAY (January 13)
Generally, the first thing I do when I get into the office each morning is make a cup of tea and catch up with my inbox. On Monday mornings, there’s usually several dozen unread emails – in part because I subscribe to an assortment of professional listservs.
Post-email-checking, I updated the Archives & Special Collections Twitter, and then went to a Discovery Systems departmental meeting on student workers (possible projects, how many summer students, etc.). I spent the rest of the morning preparing for a class visit to the archives later in the day (including selecting documents and setting up their display with Jan), and working on the Around the D entry to post on Wednesday morning. Sharon and I nailed down a few details related the illumination live demonstration event (set for January 28th, from 11 AM to 12 PM).
After taking a late lunch (1:30 PM to 2:30 PM is my standard), I drafted a short news blurb related to the blog topic for the library’s homepage and updated the Archives & Special Collections Facebook. Then Jan and I hosted the first archives class visit of the semester, Dr. Anelise Shrout‘s HIS 458: American Environments to 1893.