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.
Earlier this month, I attended a day-and-a-half Local History Librarian conference hosted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The conference was generously sponsored by the North Caroliniana Society which made it free to all attendees. As soon as I learned about the conference through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s partners list-serv, I knew I had to attend. I figured this was at the very least a good way to meet colleagues doing similar work from across the state. The majority of attendees work for public library systems across North Carolina.
The vast majority of the speakers either worked at Wilson Library at UNC or worked for the state government at either the State Library or State Archives. The first two sessions were the type of work being done at Wilson Library and the state agencies. The third was an open forum for participants to discuss their collections and ask questions of other librarians in the room. The question we spent the most time discussing was “How do I get more people to learn about and use my collection?” I ended up talking about my Archival Petting Zoo as well as my efforts to promote the collection on social media. That wrapped up the morning. In the afternoon there were sessions about demographic of users in North Carolina, conservation (which is a struggle for us public librarians), state-level grant applications, and free North Carolina oriented reference resources. The last session was particularly interesting to me as I learned about several digital map resources. I have been getting a lot of map questions lately so it was definitely a helpful resource I’ve passed along to my patrons. The first day of the conference ended with a lovely dinner at the Carolina Inn and a dinner talk about the story food can tell in the archives by the head of the American Studies department at UNC.