When Kate and I first discussed her writing a post for the blog about project archivists, she said she had a lot to share. This has developed into four posts that best work as their own stand alone mini-series. So, for the next four Fridays, we’re going to see Kate go from library student to a curator of special collections. There’s really solid advice for those thinking about applying to graduate school, those in programs now, those graduating in December and May, and those who have been in the field a few years and know it’s time to take the next step. This is the first in the series.
Guest author: Kate Crowe
Curator of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Denver
What follows are a series of topically focused blog posts, all focusing on my journey from library school student (beginning in fall 2004) to project archivist (September 2007) to Curator of Special Collections and Archives (summer 2012). Each will focus on what I did/what happened, and include information on what I wish I’d known and/or done at the time.
While I hope most of it will be applicable to all students and new professionals in cultural heritage work, my entire career has been in academic archives at a mid-size private research university in the American West. Additionally, I’m a white, cisgender, middle/upper middle class lady person (she/her/hers), so all of that factors into my story and my advice as well. So, take it all with a grain of salt and all of the above in mind. I hope you find it helpful!
Choosing A Library School/Getting Through Library School (Part I)
When people ask me “Why libraries?” I usually say that I’m the child of 2 librarians, and so I didn’t really pick libraries, they picked me – also, I am highly unoriginal.
A bit of background: both of my parents received PhDs in library and information science, and my father went on to become Dean of Libraries and then Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kansas (KU). As a result, I literally grew up in large, Midwestern R-1 academic libraries, first at the Ohio State, and then at KU. Both of my parents seemed to have interesting, meaningful jobs, they made enough to give us a nice, middle/upper middle class life, and seemed to genuinely enjoy what they did. So, choosing to go to library school and follow in the “family business” seemed like a no-brainer. I entered library school right after graduating with my undergraduate degree in history. Below, you’ll see what I screwed up, and what I think worked well, and what I wish I’d known or done in retrospect. Continue reading