Tag Archives: year in the life

Year in the Life: Kara Flynn, Part 11

In this month’s Year in the Life, Kara Flynn shines a beam into some ancient archival murk.

Before sitting down to write my post this month, I was going through some of my previous posts, and I realized that in most (if not all), I start off with some variation on what a busy time it is in Special Collections. . . But not this month! November has been a strangely quiet month—we’ve still had researchers and students in and out, but I get the feeling students have sequestered themselves in other areas of the library as they prep for their finals. This is not to say, of course, that we are at all lacking in projects to work on. As in any archives/special collections department, there is always more to do.

However, this quieter period in the semester has allowed for some real progress to be made on some more logistical projects. I (finally!) finished the processing project I assigned myself way back in July (I talked about it in this post) and the finding aid is now up online. Processing this collection actually sparked the idea for the pop-up event we will be hosting this month, “Cards & Cookies” (which I talked about at the end of my post last month) because of all the old holiday cards I found in the collection. This month, the Special Collections Assistant and our student worker have also been contributing to the processing of our back log, working on individual processing projects of their own.

Another big logistical project we’ve been working on since the beginning of the semester has been revamping what we call the “manuscript room,” i.e. our locked, temperature controlled archival storage area. While I wish I had taken some before photos, you’ll just have to take my word for it that this room was struggling before I got here. Continue reading

Year in the Life: Kara Flynn, part 6

In this month’s Year in the Life, Kara Flynn reflects on processing.

This summer marks my first full summer here at Augusta University, since I started my position last August, only two weeks before the semester began. On the one hand, I am so relieved that it is summer—I’ve had much more time freed up by the lack of classes and office hours that I’ve been able to start tackling some of the projects that had to be put on the back burner during the academic year. On the other hand, Georgia summers may be the death of me. I was not built for this level of heat and humidity! But I digress. . .

One of the things that I’ve realized over the last few weeks is that I was letting the administrative/managerial aspects of my job overwhelm me, and bog me down a little bit, so I have made the conscious effort to use this summer to work on projects that I enjoy more. One such project is processing a large archival collection. It may surprise some of you who are in the trenches of processing day in and day out, but I actually miss having time to really devote to processing. In the last few months, I have managed to process a few collections, but it has been hard to schedule in that much concentrated time between all my other work demands.

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 12

Adriana Flores is one of our participants in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. This is Adriana’s final post of the series. You can read her previous posts here. If you’d like to contribute to our Year in the Life series, please contact us!

I can’t believe that this is my last post for A Year in the Life!! It seems like yesterday that Lauren Gaylord reached out to me in December to ask if I’d be interested in contributing. I’m so happy I said yes and that I’ve been able to share and reflect on the last year of my professional life with all of you. My life has changed a fair bit over the last year and writing for SNAP has allowed me to document those changes along the way.

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Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 8

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.

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 11

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 we near the end of the semester, life in the Archives & Special Collections has (thankfully) begun to slow down. Although the students’ schedules are as busy as ever, our office is finally getting a chance to regroup and work on some new projects. With less classes and special events, we’ve been able to focus on preparing for some large projects this spring, revisiting our policies and procedures, and checking in with our students on their projects. Overall, it’s been great to have less events and more unstructured time to work on things that have had to wait on the back burner for a bit.

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 10

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.

October has brought colder weather, changing leaves, and a busy college campus! The Archives & Special Collections has been bustling with plenty of classes, new projects, and special events. One of the biggest events we had this month was Homecoming and Family Weekend. The A&SC hosted an open house as part of the weekend’s program and it was wonderful to contribute to the campus festivities as both a staff member and an alumna.

Our office was contacted by the University Relations department in August about participating in Homecoming and Family Weekend. The archives has participated for the last few years in one capacity or another, so I was excited to maintain our department’s involvement. For the open house, we decided to use our reading room and small classroom to display a variety of significant campus records, memorabilia, and rare books. Laura, our Assistant Archivist, and I wanted to make sure to align our displayed materials with the rest of the weekend. This year Homecoming and Family weekend was honoring multiple groups: the Black Student Union’s 50th anniversary, the class of 1967’s football team, and the ‘Green & Gold’ era athletics members. Focusing on these groups allowed us to narrow the scope of our display and really connect with the alums who would be visiting us.

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Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 7

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.

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, I can officially share that the North Carolina Collection has a new head of its collection. I have been wanting to write about the process of hiring the new head but decided to wait until it was actually official. As I said in an earlier post, the North Carolina Collection has been without a head since November 2016, or two weeks after I started working there. I have been filling the shoes of a vacant head for the past year and keeping the collection afloat through its move to the mall but I am relieved that someone will soon take over the helm. The new head starts in early December.

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Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 6

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! The past several weeks have been an interesting time to be in Durham, North Carolina. As many of you are aware, on August 14th, protesters in downtown Durham toppled the Confederate monument outside the Old Courthouse which is now the County Administration building. This has led to protests around the Research Triangle and fears of reprisals from white supremacists. On the evening on the 14th, my co-workers and I were actually at work as we are open to the public every Monday night. Our adult services librarian was browsing Facebook when he saw images of the monument posted by friends at the protest. My immediate reaction to the event was shock and a lot of “HOLY [EXPLETIVE]!” After recovering from the shock and sharing the news with my friends and family, my second reaction was “how can we archive this?”

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 9

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.

We are almost at the end of September and it has been a busy month! Now that we’re in the fifth week of classes, my routine is starting to feel a bit more predictable, which is a welcome change. I’m becoming more comfortable with campus, my student workers are trained, and I’m starting to fall into a routine. A large portion of that routine has been teaching. In the last two weeks I’ve taught seven classes, which may not seem like a lot to an experienced education archivist, but it has been a lot for me to manage. On top of that, we’ve had five special events hosted by the archives and special collections department. To say the least, September has been a month of learning, balancing priorities, and testing my time management.

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 8

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 can’t believe summer is over! Our students had their first day of classes this week, which means the semester is officially in full swing. I’ve looked forward to students returning to campus with equal parts excitement and anxiousness. I’m thrilled to have my student workers back and to see all the students on campus, but their return means that all of my wonderful prep-time is over. Even though my prep-time is gone, I’m happy to trade it for the exciting events that have already taken place this semester.

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Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 5

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! In my earlier posts, I addressed some of the issues that exist in my space as a result of the move. The biggest issue we had was how our books were initially shelved in our new reading room. Back when we were planning for the move, the previous head of the North Carolina Collection measured the linear footage we would need in the new space. We sent all of our poetry books and biographies into storage to make the footage work. Unfortunately, she forgot to take into account the height of the shelves when calculating the footage. As most of the shelving we got was used for fiction books, they were much shorter than the books in our collection as well as the previous shelving. The result was that at least half of the collection was sitting on its spines. This made it very difficult for my fellow staff members and I to find books for patrons, especially books that have the same call number (we have a lot of those in the government section). It was even more challenging for patrons. This was a problem that we knew had to be rectified and we calculated we needed to remove a minimum 48 shelves to have the space we needed to get the books off their spines. Weeding the collection was a decision way above my pay grade but needed to get done as fast as we could.

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 7

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.

July has been a busy month! Between settling back into Washington, visiting as many friends and family as possible, starting my new job, and attending SAA, I barely had time to write this blog post! It’s been an exciting but exhausting month. July was jam-packed with activity, but this post will focus on my transition back to Washington State, starting my new job, and the wonderful time I had at SAA in Portland.

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 6

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.

If you’ve been following my blog series, you read last month that I was recently hired at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, as their Archivist and Special Collections Librarian. I am incredibly excited for this new opportunity, however leaving my position at Boston University was stressful and emotionally tough. I’ve grown very attached to my job, my coworkers, and the students I supervise so this month has been very hectic. Throughout June I was wrapping up my job, preparing for my cross-country move, and trying to make the most of my last days in Boston. I hope you enjoy reading about the craziness that ensued!

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Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 4

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.

Happy summer time from the Mallbrary! Last weekend was my first Summer Reading Kickoff for Durham County Library and it was an interesting experience. Summer Reading is the program that most public libraries run to encourage people in the community to read books. People can log minutes they have read and earn prizes along the way. Summer Reading also includes a nice positive catchphrase, which is put onto t-shirts the staff has to wear. This year’s theme is “Build A Better World.”

So how does an archivist end up getting involved in Summer Reading? Well first off, it is an all-hands-on-deck program. Theoretically, people can come to the North Carolina Collection to log points and claim prizes for summer reading. It also happens that the Summer Reading Kickoff was held at Northgate Mall, the currently home of the North Carolina Collection. Right outside our doors there were people making balloon animals, two bouncy castles, a fire truck, and a dunking booth. Recognizing that people would be wandering into the North Carolina Collection out of curiosity, I knew we had to have an event of our own. Rather than explain what the North Carolina Collection has in its holdings, I pulled a sample of materials for people to handle. I called it the “Archival Petting Zoo” since people could touch and “pet” the materials.

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Year in the Life: Adriana Flores, Pt. 5

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 I mentioned in my previous post, my two-year work anniversary at HGARC was this month. With that anniversary approaching, I gave a lot of thought to my professional and personal goals when the New Year rolled around. Most of my family lives in Washington State, as well as my boyfriend, and being away from them has been difficult for me over the past three years. With two years of professional work under my belt, I was hopeful that I could find a job closer to my loved ones. I made a resolution to find a new job this year and was fortunate enough to have that happen. This post is all about my job search, application, and interview process and I hope it helps other early professionals prepare for the crazy process themselves. Continue reading