Category Archives: Year in the Life

Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 4

Adriana Flores is one of our participants in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. We will be following Adriana for a year. You can read her previous posts here.

I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary as a full-time staff member at Boston University, and with that comes a good deal of reflection. One of my favorite parts of working at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center is the close-knit office environment. I know that many people develop close relationships with their colleagues, but I feel very lucky to have met my amazing group of coworkers at Boston University. Thus, I’m dedicating this post to them and reflecting a bit about the importance of building strong office relationships. Continue reading

Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 3

Adriana Flores is one of our participants in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. We will be following Adriana for a year. You can read her previous posts here.

In our office, education and outreach programming is a huge priority. Serving our student population is always at the forefront of our minds and we are constantly brainstorming new ways to reach them. Although planning and executing education and outreach projects is not one of my primary job responsibilities, each archivist in our office is expected and encouraged to help plan these events. March was a busy month for outreach and I was lucky enough to have a hand in two exciting programs: a student discovery seminar on ‘Old Hollywood’ and a specialized classroom session focused on the theme of adaptations.

Participating in and planning student discovery seminars is one of my favorite job responsibilities. These seminars are one-time events that are designed to hook student interest by presenting an assortment of archival materials and rare books based on a common theme. For these events we pull materials from an assortment of relevant collections, arrange them in our reading room, give a quick overview and history of the materials to the students, and then we welcome the students to explore the items for themselves. We also invite a faculty member or local expert who can provide another perspective on the materials. These events allow us to explore our collections further, connect with the student body and their interests, and form connections with faculty members who often bring their classes back or return for their own research. Although I was not in charge of this month’s ‘Old Hollywood’ seminar, I thoroughly enjoyed helping my co-worker Jane set it up. Continue reading

Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 2

Elizabeth Shulman is one of our participants in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. We will be following Elizabeth for a year. You can read her previous posts here.

Greetings from the Mallbrary! That is what I have taken to calling my new location as the North Carolina Collection at Northgate Mall is a mouthful. When I last wrote, I was finishing packing up the North Carolina Collection to have our belongings brought over to the mall. In early February, I came over to the mall and supervised the movers as they brought over our furniture and put books on the shelves. During that week and a half, I felt more like a construction site foreman than a librarian. Once the books were on the shelves, I unpacked the archival materials and found new homes for them. Most of our archival materials are living on top of filing cabinets or on wire racks along the back walls of the reading room. The North Carolina Collection also became home to a small circulating collection called the Lucky Day Collection. This is a collection of non-renewable popular books that customers can check out for one week. As of March 3rd, we have been serving the public out of the Mallbrary. While I still do not have a supervisor and my part-time librarian took a new job at another branch in the system, I have a wonderful Adult Services Librarian who is working full-time with me. This will hopefully give me more time off of the reference desk so I can process more collections and do some collection development work. Continue reading

Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 2

Adriana Flores is one of our participants in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. We will be following Adriana for a year. You can read her previous posts here.

As a university employee, the ebbs and flows of campus life drastically affect my day-to-day duties. Coming up on spring semester and graduation is always an exciting time to be on campus; unfortunately, seven of our student workers will be graduating this year. We usually employ twelve to fifteen student workers in the Acquisitions department, so losing seven of them, especially seniors with years of training, will be a tough adjustment. To soften the blow we hired five new students, which means February has been a training intensive month. Since student training and supervision has consumed my professional life this past month and a half, I thought it was an appropriate subject for my post.

When I was originally preparing to start my full-time position at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, I was terrified of supervising students. Supervision is one of the largest differences between most pre-professional and professional positions and they don’t teach classes on it in graduate school. There is no way to prepare for every bad scenario that can happen, but I’ve found that the more I supervise, the easier it gets. The thing that has helped me the most is having colleagues who share the responsibility and make it fun. Continue reading

Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 1

Welcome Elizabeth, our newest participant in the Year in the Life Series! We will be following Elizabeth for the next twelve months.

Elizabeth Shulman
North Carolina Collection Librarian
Institution: Durham County Library
Years at position: <1
Education: Rice University (BA-History); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (MSLS with concentration in Archives and Records Management)


Hello y’all, my name is Elizabeth Shulman and I am the new North Carolina Collection Librarian at Durham County Library. Since I was recently prompted to change my county password, I have been here for about 3 months. When I started library school, I never imagined that I would be working in an archive in a public library. I did not consider it an option until I heard a public library archivist from Charleston, SC give a talk about outreach with K-12 children at the Society of North Carolina Archivists. The events and collaboration between the librarians and the archivist seemed really interesting to me and as a result, I applied for a job with the Durham County Library.

Continue reading

Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 1

Welcome Adriana Flores, our newest participant in the Year in the Life Series! We will be following Adriana for the next twelve months.

Adriana Flores
Assistant Archivist for Acquisitions
Institution: Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University
Years at position: 1+
Education: University of Puget Sound (BA-English); Simmons College (MLIS with a concentration in Archives Management)

My path towards becoming a professional archivist started as a college sophomore at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. After expressing interest in library science, the director of the library gave me a job in the Archives and Special Collections department. After working there for three years, my love of libraries and archives was solidified and I was set on going to graduate school. After graduation I moved on to multiple digitization and records management internships around Washington state, including one at Densho.

Continue reading

Year in the Life: Lauren Gaylord, Pt. 12

It’s hard to believe that this my last post for SNAP’s Year in the Life series. So much can happen in a year. Nowhere perhaps is this more obvious than in the construction of and move into our new building. Over the course of the last year, the building was transformed from an empty warehouse into a bustling archives. One of the most satisfying projects post-move has been decorating our new space with reproductions of art in our collection, giving our rows of gray boxes and shelves some much-needed color and making the building truly feel like home.

The new archives facility under construction

The new archives facility under construction

A peek at artwork amongst rows of archival boxes


I’ve been in my position for almost 17 months now. During that time I’ve processed materials from three different productions, housed difficult items such as pastels, large rolled banners, artist notebooks, and paintings, attended professional conferences, embedded images with keyword metadata, and weighed in on the design of a new collection management database. But perhaps my most concrete accomplishment was coordinating the move of our entire collection, a job I didn’t know I would be filling when I first started a year and a half ago. Like many roles in the workplace, the opportunity came swiftly and unexpectedly, thanks to a series of unforeseen circumstances. Being thrown into this role was both challenging and exhilarating. I didn’t read any literature about how to move a collection or horror stories of moves past. I just dove into the work, preparing items to move, mastering our data, and heavily relying on co-workers who had moved our collection many years ago.

While the preparation and execution of the move could be stressful at times, it provided the perfect contrast to my daily processing duties. So much of our work can feel unending, as we eternally chip away at the backlog and create preservation housing for materials, only to rehouse them ten or fifteen years later. The move was the complete opposite—a series of straightforward tasks for a fixed duration with an easily identifiable outcome. Processing doesn’t offer the instant gratification that printing shelf labels and moving boxes to new locations did. It is a complex and ambiguous process, where nothing is definite and (almost) everything is up for discussion. But I’ve realized that at its core, my job is to make things more accessible, even if it’s at the most sloth-like of paces. My role has expanded from traditional processing as I assist in other projects, but everything I do revolves around access. That includes arrangement and description of our production collections, but also providing ideas for new features of our database, adding metadata to digital images to make them easier to find, supervising temps as they update database records for unprocessed boxes, and even moving our collection.

Remembering that my job is about creating access helps to keep me from getting too bogged down in the details. I’m a perfectionist and I could process one collection forever in the hunt to get things exactly right. But that would only marginally improve access to one collection, instead of creating access for multiple collections. Balancing my perfectionist tendencies with the practical understanding of what’s possible and feasible keeps me moving forward instead of looking back.

So what’s next? In the upcoming months, I’ll continue to process original artwork from A Bug’s Life and make it easier to find through our database. We hope to move forward on providing more and more digital access to our materials so that artists can browse our collection (or at least the highlights of it) from their desks. We’re also in the midst of a database redesign, which includes adding additional, in-depth layouts for folders and items and merging our multitude of databases into a more manageable number.

Thank you to the fine folks of SNAP for letting me contribute my half-formed thoughts to the blog this past year. I love that this forum exists to share the student and new archivist experience with our community. Happy Archives Month! Stay incredible.