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:
To give a better idea of what I do at work, over the course of the past week and a half, I:
- went to Chapel Hill on Tuesday the 14th for a data visualization workshop and to speak on a Society of North Carolina Archivists‘ panel for current SILS students
- taught two sessions of Mark Sample’s History & Future of the Book course (tomorrow I’ll teach a third session; expect to see more here in the future about their class outputs…)
- handled last minute preparations/ emails for and then attended THATCamp Piedmont (schedule and collaborative Google docs here) after a few months of serving on the planning committee
- worked on two different conference panel proposals
- wrote a short blog post for Around The D
- taught a session of Dr. Saeyoung Park’s Science and the Body in East Asia course (see our in-class exercise results here)
- gave a short presentation on digital archives at the monthly education and technology gathering on campus (GitPub)
- tweeted the weekly #DavidsonianCentennial link (celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Davidsonian, Davidson’s weekly student newspaper)
- and, of course, the standard amount of meetings, reference questions, email correspondence, etc.
As for upcoming events/ intiatives, the first ever Piedmont Triad Home Movie Day/ Personal Digital Archiving Day on November 8th. HMD/PDAD is a collaboration between Davidson and Wake Forest University’s library, the brainchild of many conversations between Chelcie Rowell and myself. See more about the event on WFU’s blog here, and if you live in the area, please come out and build community with us!
Now that I’m in a full-time position without also being in school, I felt like I had a sudden wealth of free time. Instead of leaving work and heading straight to the library to work on a paper (or vice versa), now I could choose to spend my evenings and weekends doing whatever I wanted. I decided to devote a portion of that time to professional organizations, which is how I ended up as a Member At Large for the Society of North Carolina Archivists’ Executive Board, as well as the assistant chair of SNCA’s Program Committee, and as a member of Society of American Archivists’ Standards Committee. I’ve really been enjoying working with both SNCA and SAA – I’ve gotten to meet a ton of new people, and get to participate in some really meaningful initiatives.
PRESENTATIONS & CONFERENCES
I’ve had a really full year on the presentation front – as with my commitment to professional service activities, I decided to use whatever free time leftover after work, professional service, yoga/ adopting a tiny baby kitten/ exploring North Carolina to read/ research/ think/ write to my heart’s content, which ended up producing a lot of new projects and resulting in a desire to get out there and talk about stuff. Here’s a few of my favorite conferences from this year, in chronological order:
HASTAC 2014 in Peru (April 2014) – my first international conference, and also my first HASTAC experience. I felt like I learned a TON from my fellow conference-goers, and I got some valuable feedback on my presentation, “Librarians and Study Abroad: An Opportunity for International Communication and Engagement” (slides here). I also took some vacation time prior to the conference to explore Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu, all of which were AMAZING.
Data Driven: Digital Humanities in the Library in Charleston (June 2014) – this was the first time that this conference was held, and also my first trip to Charleston. I think that the community gathered at the College of Charleston for this conference made it one of the most rewarding ones I’ve been to. I co-presented, along with my co-worker Jan Blodgett, and our supervisor, Craig Milberg, on Davidson’s engagement with DH through the archives (“Curriculum Driven: A Liberal Arts College Archives Path to Digital Humanities,” Prezi here).
DH 2014 in Switzerland (July 2014) – another “first” conference for me, I was particularly excited to go to DH 2014. Not only was it in Switzerland, but I collaborated with a supervisor from a previous position, Sara Sikes from the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Adams Papers, on a poster (here), and it was great to catch up. This was another conference where the community gathered really was a community, and I feel really fortunate to have been a part of it. I also took some vacation time around this conference, so in addition to exploring Lausanne, I also went to: Milan, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Lauterbrunnen/ Swiss Alps (including hiking with my old boss), Rome, and Venice.
Society of American Archivists Annual meeting in DC (August 2014) – continuing the pattern, another first for me, as I’d never attended an SAA Annual before. The conference can be a bit overwhelming, but I relished the opportunity to attend committee meetings, tweet-n-learn during sessions, and catch up with my advisor and friends from my graduate program.
So, as you can see, a very full year one – here’s to an equally full and exciting year two!