Category Archives: Transitions

Transitions: Adam Minakowski

This post is part of our “Transitions” Series, which highlights the experiences of recent graduates and early career archivists. If you are an early career archivist (0-5 years in the field) who would like to participate in this series, please contact us.

Guest author: Adam Minakowski
Reference & Special Collections Librarian, U.S. Naval Academy
Formerly: Reference Archivist, National Anthropological Archives.”

Minakowski,Adam
This blog post comes at a good time for me as I feel I’ve reached a kind of milestone. Archives is a second career for me (well, third or fourth for those keeping score), and after reaching a certain level in terms of responsibility and salary in my prior marketing/communications career, I’ve achieved a goal by making it back to the equivalent level in my library/archives career. Looking back at the five years it took to get there from the time I entered the iSchool at University of Maryland, College Park in 2010 to joining the U.S. Naval Academy as Special Collections & Reference Librarian in 2015, I can see a lot of things I did right and some things I can do better in the years ahead.

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Transitions: Lindsay Schettler

This post is part of our “Transitions” Series, which highlights the experiences of recent graduates and early career archivists. If you are an early career archivist (0-5 years in the field) who would like to participate in this series, please contact us.

Guest author: Lindsay Schettler
Special Collections Librarian, De Paul Library, University of Saint Mary
lindsay.schettler@stmary.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/lindsayschettler

lindsayschettlerI am the Special Collections Librarian at the University of Saint Mary, a non-profit, private Catholic liberal arts university in Leavenworth, KS. The De Paul Library has three full time librarians and two part-time library research assistants. We have a handful of student workers and a Graduate Assistant who works closely with me in Special Collections. I am the first Special Collections Librarian in over 20 years. De Paul Library has gone through such a transformation in the past 3 years, from a 1950 traditional-style library structure to a vibrant, student centered learning commons. My position includes collection care and management, digital curation and preservation, outreach and exhibits, instruction and program development, and special collections library administrative tasks.

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Transitions: Jane Thaler

This post is part of our “Transitions” Series, which highlights the experiences of recent graduates and early career archivists. If you are an early career archivist (0-5 years in the field) who would like to participate in this series, please contact us.

Guest author: Jane Thaler
Post-Holocaust American Judaism Project Archivist, University of Colorado Boulder Special Collections and Archives

img_2077I earned my MLIS from the University of Denver (DU) in Spring 2016 and am now the Project Archivist for the Post-Holocaust American Judaism Collections at the University of Colorado Boulder. Due to taking this position, I am also currently on leave of absence from the LIS PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh (they have been wonderfully supportive about me taking this opportunity).

I graduated undergrad with a major in Art History and minors in Philosophy and Religious Studies. Had a year in between undergrad and graduate school to flesh out my personal and academic goals, then decided to get my MLIS. While in the program, I volunteered at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Archives, interned in the Exhibitions Department at the Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) as a collections management intern of non-living collections, helped rehouse and process several private archival collections, was a graduate assistant, was the SAA chapter president, and snagged a job as an archival assistant in the DU Special Collections and Archives. As soon as I graduated, I continued my position at DU and took a paid position at the DBG as an exhibitions project associate until I left for the PhD program at Pitt in August of 2016. I completed one term of the doctoral program and am planning on returning, but my current position was an offer that I simply could not refuse.

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Transitions: Nathalie Proulx

This post is part of our “Transitions” Series, which highlights the experiences of recent graduates and early career archivists. If you are an early career archivist (0-5 years in the field) who would like to participate in this series, please contact us.

Guest author: Nathalie Proulx
Reference Archivist, Carson Brierly Giffin Dance Library, University of Denver

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Nathalie Proulx (far right) at the premiere of her 30-minute documentary: Rising Stars.

There are three forces that I believe are helpful in the job search: passion, persistence and selectiveness. I believe knowing what you are looking for in a career is as vital as persistence in finding a job after graduation; Finding that key interest or passion that leads you to filling out some applications while passing on others. For example, knowing you are interested in historical collections and museums rather than records management. The passion is what pushes you to continue applying. The rejection hurts at first but once you are hired for a job you would actually want and see for your future, it’s all forgotten.

My decision to become an archivist started once I entered graduate school. I chose to get a degree in Library and Information Science after working in a used bookstore the year after graduating with my Bachelors in History. I loved the organization, the sorting and handling of thousands of books. Like many, I had graduated without any ideas of how to move forward to a career other than teaching. I did not even know library sciences existed until researching graduate programs in Colorado. Once I found the program though, I knew it was my next step. Even further once I was accepted and started the on the Archives track of courses, I was certain I had found my place.

My transition from my formal education to my career differs from the traditional in that it all took place in the same Special Collections and Archives department. I graduated from the University of Denver (DU) in 2015 with my MLIS. During my education at DU, I had begun working at the Special Collections and Archives department at our library. This setting provided a constant while the transitional aspect was my position and in turn my confidence in that position. With the support of my wonderful supervisor, I obtained a temporary position within the department as Project Archivist for the Carson Brierly Giffin Dance Library, one of our collecting areas. The creation of the position was due to new funding to the collection. I was familiar with the collections, applying for jobs, and really just in the right place at the right time.

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Nathalie’s dance exhibit at the University of Denver.

After obtaining this position is when my real transition took place. As a grad student, my position was at the front desk working with patrons and providing minimal processing of small collections. As project archivist (and the only employee) for one collecting area I now had more control and authority over these collections. Within that yearlong position, I was challenged but grew in my confidence and skills. I was not a dancer and in processing collections, my knowledge of the art grew every day. Through the encouragement of my supervisor, I pushed my boundaries and worked with new software creating a 30-minute documentary and assisted in creating an exhibit. It was absolutely wonderful.

One year later and that temporary position has now become a permanent position within the library. My work and confidence continues to grow with each project. I love my work and collections. I am very fortunate that my transition from graduate student to archivist was without the many variables that can occur in finding a job after graduating. I had applied for many positions and had a few interviews but eventually found the right one through luck.

Passion is the key; whether that be for the job, the environment, or the materials. Something keeps you engaged, ensuring you return day after day or filling out endless applications. Find what you love and work for it; it will pay off through luck or perseverance.

Transitions: Matt Strandmark

This post is part of our “Transitions” Series, which highlights the experiences of recent graduates and early career archivists. If you are an early career archivist (0-5 years in the field) who would like to participate in this series, please contact us.

Guest author: Matt Strandmark
Education Archivist, University of Kentucky

Matt Strandmark at work at the University of Kentucky

Matt Strandmark at work at the University of Kentucky

I am a spring 2014 graduate from the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing (Department of Information and Library Science), and Indiana University Graduate School with a Master of Library Science and Master of Arts, History degrees. In July of 2014, I started my first professional position at Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library as their Outreach Archivist and Research Library Fellow. At Emory I worked on community outreach initiatives, both physical and digital, to increase involvement with library programs, provide valuable services to visiting researchers, and enhance access to collections. In November 2015 I accepted the position of Education Archivist at the University of Kentucky’s Special Collections Research Center, where I work with the university’s professors and students to incorporate special collections research into their courses. I am also responsible for managing the library’s exhibit program, serving on the Information Literacy committee, and providing research and reference services to visiting researchers. Continue reading

Transitions: Caitlin Stamm

This post is part of our “Transitions” Series, which highlights the experiences of recent graduates and early career archivists. If you are an early career archivist (0-5 years in the field) who would like to participate in this series, please contact us.

Guest author: Caitlin Stamm
Reference Librarian, General Theological Seminary

Let me start by saying this: I basically hit the jackpot with my first job out of library school. When I started at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois in 2013, I knew I wanted to work with special collections and archival material. When I started taking classes, though, I was surprised to find how many types of libraries fall under the “special collections” umbrella.

My internships and student work opportunities were the most useful for me in identifying where I would be a good fit professionally. During my first year, I interned under a lone arranger at a small university archives. It was instructive to see all of the different skills one needs to build and maintain a collection. I also held a practicum at the Burke Library, a major theological library, in New York. Working with theological materials of all stripes—general collections, rare, and archival—helped me further define my desired career and ascertain how to achieve it. During my second and final year at UIUC, I worked (with fellow Transitions writer Anna Trammell!) at the University’s Student Life and Culture Archives, where I got experience processing, describing, and utilizing archives. When I graduated in May 2015, I knew I wanted to work with special and archival materials in a smaller theological library. Continue reading

Transitions: Lauren Menges

This post is part of our “Transitions” Series, which highlights the experiences of recent graduates and early career archivists. If you are an early career archivist (0-5 years in the field) who would like to participate in this series, please contact us.

Guest author: Lauren Menges
Archivist for the Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University

Lauren Menges at work with the American War Letters Archive at Chapman University

Lauren Menges at work with the American War Letters Archive at Chapman University

The best advice I can give any aspiring archivist is: be patient. I graduated from library school in 2009, and only now in 2016 do I feel like I finally landed the kind of job I’ve wanted all along. The path to one’s “dream job” can often be long and winding, but if you’re truly committed to it and don’t give up, it can happen. Continue reading