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.
Writing a thesis is designed to drive one mad, I think – this is my second experience with The Thesis, having written one in undergrad as well. My undergrad thesis similarly made me do crazy things (I once took a 3 hour long nature walk in the woods in the middle of the night, as a break from editing, and let’s just say I’m not normally an outdoors person), but the bar has really been raised with this master’s thesis. Here’s a list of things I catch myself doing that make me feel like a loon:
1. Whispering “tell me what your ultimate point is” to books while at various different libraries. One of my secondary source texts has a remarkably forthright passage that starts with something like, “The ultimate point of this book is to: 1. blah blah, 2. &c.” Ever since reading that, I began wishing that all these authors would just tell me what their most pertinent thoughts are, in one sentence preferably, so I can determine whether to spend my valuable reading time on that resource.
2. Napping in my carrel at Widener Library – I always thought it was weird that people left pillows in their carrels, especially since it’s not a 24 hour library and you can check out books directly to your carrel so it’s not a matter of not being able to fit all your sources into a backpack or something. Why not just go home to nap? But now, as I get closer to my full draft due date, I find myself thinking that the pillow-people are geniuses, and I’ve started thinking about borrowing my carrel-mate’s pillow to doze off. It just feels more productive to nap in the library, y’know?
3. Eating while walking. I’ve long been a fan of portable foods, and would often eat a Nutella waffle while walking to my bus stop when I lived in DC. Now that my time is at such a premium, I’ve really stepped up my eating-while-walking game and have added hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and burritos into my rotation. I don’t think this is particularly crazy (although some of the looks I’ve been getting say otherwise), but there is this weird downside of occasionally finding rice in my coat pockets. Now, what would be crazy is trying to eat a delicious Darwin’s sandwich while mobile:
I’m sure I’ll have more to add to the list before May 1st…