Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Saying Goodbye to LIS 439 and Hello to Beatley Library

I am about to finish the last week of my summer course, LIS 439: Preservation Management. It honestly really flew by, and I kind of wish a lot more of my classes were presented in seven-week increments like this was. Each week had one or two overarching topics, taught through numerous written lectures, videos, readings, discussion forums, and a few written assignments. I really enjoyed the practicality of the course; instead of pondering abstract concepts, we were taught the history of paper making, the chemical make-up of photographs from different decades, exactly how and why temperature and humidity aid in the deterioration of objects, and so much more.  My favorite assignment was to write a memo as though I were an archivist at  a library whose basement collection had experienced water, mold, and pest damage. We were given a very comprehensive look at the building’s layout, heating and cooling systems, recent renovations, source of collection materials, outdoor landscaping, geographic location, etc. It was fun to solve the mystery of how this damage occurred, what the…


Internship in the Outer Banks: Collection Closing

Twelve papercuts. Four knuckle abrasions. Three split cuticles. I have finally finished unboxing, foldering, labeling, alphabetizing, and reboxing my collection. 161 archival boxes and 905 folders. In seven weeks. My hands and fingers took a much-needed break this past weekend!  While I’m trying to revel in my sense of accomplishment, I still have two weeks left in my internship. I want to soak in as many additional experiences as possible. There’s a four-shelf display cabinet for an exhibit on my collection in wait. A finding aid that wants to be written. A coffee with my collection’s donor to share. A podcast with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to record. An oral history with a descendant of the original Outer Banks seafood empire to conduct. Just as my to-do list has reached zero, I have filled it back up.  When I accepted this position for the summer, I made a promise to myself to embrace the slower pace of rural, island life as an antidote to the frenetic energy of studying for…


Internship in the Outer Banks: Learning from Leaders

This past week ended with a two-day visit from the Special Collections Section Head for the State Archives of North Carolina, Judy Allen Dodson. Earlier in the week she had led a virtual monthly staff meeting, and I was impressed by how encouraging and supportive she and the rest of the archivists were. They genuinely wanted to learn more about the projects their colleagues across the state were working on and nerded-out together over new acquisitions like a collection of Civil War era photographs and sheet music from a nineteenth century Black composer. Used to the endless complaining and storm-cloud-gathering of department meetings from when I was a high school teacher, the enthusiasm for work and the curiosity about their colleagues took me by surprise.  Later that week when Judy came to visit, all of her joy for her work doubled in-person. She took the time to really listen to each staff member, asked detailed questions to understand ways she could better support each member in their specific roles, and added in doses of humor….


Interning in the Outer Banks: Personal Information Organization

Although almost a year has passed, I still remember the first Moodle discussion board topic for the course 415: Information Organization. It was my first course in graduate school, and I did not know what to expect. The discussion board topic itself asked us to classify our personal information organization style based on three criteria researchers derived that had been the subject of one of our readings that week. (Yes, you do have readings for your first week of grad school.) I struggled with this post. Not because of the content – I knew exactly where I fell along the personal organization orderliness spectrum – but because this, my level of computer file organizing, was how my classmates would first meet me.  I have returned often to the ideas in that discussion board this summer as I have worked through my internship collection. On the one hand, I have been heartened by the fact that even though the best-laid organizational plans can crumble – life, the passing of time, other unknown factors get in the…


Warm Weather and Future Plans

Happy Summer! I hope everyone has been enjoying the weather and has had a restful July so far. I will say I love living in New England but the short summers definitely make me sad. I do appreciate everything snow has to offer but sometimes I ponder moving to a more southern state post graduation. The four seasons can stay but just have slightly longer summers.  Speaking of graduation, I’m also starting to look at jobs! While I will be graduating next May, I am a planner and can’t resist starting to see what possibilities are available. My partner and I have started discussing places we would be willing to move to if I got any job offers and D.C. so far has been my top choice. It’s wild because I feel like I just moved to Boston to start the program and now my graduation is on the calendar! I know that it’s over 10 months away but it feels so close. Any other final year students feel the same?  I will say pondering…


Interning in the Outer Banks: An Archival Analogy

An analogy for archival work that they don’t teach you in 438 is this: archival processing is cleaning up other peoples’ messes. Without a key, without a blueprint, without any inkling of what, potentially, the original organizational system that the donor, maybe, possibly, hopefully attempted to follow for at least part of their document-generating life. You, the intrepid archivist must venture through boxes, pulling out sheaves of paper that seem to share nothing in common except the rusty paperclip holding them together, dusting your black pants with the glitter of deteriorating fax paper, and puzzling over the names of repeat characters in the documents like a crime scene detective building profiles for each murder suspect.    Or so I’ve felt these past few weeks processing my first collection. In the midst of the chaos, though, I stumble across little gems that make me forget about the filing conventions my donor seemed to create and then drop on a whim or the fact that desperately-relevant online records for certain local government officials don’t exist. An inspirational quote…


Summer Courses

June 20th marked the first day of an online summer course I’m taking at SLIS. The course is LIS 439: Preservation Management, and involves seven weeks of lectures, projects, and discussions on the topic of collection preservation mainly within archives. I am extremely excited for this course because preservation and collections management is what I want to do for a long-term career goal; my concentration is Cultural Heritage Informatics and I am trying to follow the Preservation track. I ultimately want to be caring for a museum collection or historical site’s archive, making sure that cultural heritage artifacts can continue being used to educate.  This first week has focused on classmate introductions and a preview of the theoretical aspects of preservation: why do we preserve archives? How do archivists’ biases affect our cultural history? What is permanence and can it ever be achieved? What does preservation look like in the 21st century? Many people are sharing their real-world experiences with archival preservation, whether it be at a job or internship, and what that exposure has…


Year One, Wrapped: reflections of my first year at SLIS

This is my first Student Snippets blog post, and I am very happy to be a part of this bloggingteam here at SLIS! I am a remote student, learning about Archives Management all the way inPennsylvania. Even though classes ended a month or so ago, I have been reflecting upon myfirst year of library school ever since. Exactly a year ago in late June, I committed to coming to SLIS. I keenly remember the feelings I had going into the fall semester: excitement to learn more about archival work, a fair amount of anxiety and nerves, questioning whether or not I would be able to handle the graduate level workload while balancing everything else in my life, and finally determination to do the best I possibly could. My first week of graduate school at SLIS, I remember calling my dad, panicking at the amount ofreadings and assignments I had on my to-do list. I’m fortunate in the fact that my parents areboth librarians and have been through the gauntlet that is graduate school. In that…


Interning in the Outer Banks

Billowing white sand dunes, salty sea breezes, and Elizabethan history lurking at every corner – welcome to Manteo, NC in the Outer Banks! Today marks my second full week interning at the Outer Banks History Center (OBHC) on Roanoke Island after I spent my first week virtually due to an outbreak of COVID in the guesthouse I am staying in. A satellite archive in the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the OBHC collects materials about the history of the region – often maritime in nature – ranging from oral histories about life on isolated Ocracoke to extensive photo archives of the generations of beach goers in this late-blooming tourist destination. While Manteo, the town I’m working in, touts itself as the “birthplace of English-speaking America” and as the birthplace of the first English baby born on American soil – Virginia Dare – the collection I’m processing is decidedly more modern. It was donated by a prominent local who served two tenures as mayor, led on a variety of boards and commissions, spearheaded…


Summer Plans and Projects

Hello and happy (almost) summer! I hope everyone is resting and recuperating from the semester and enjoying their break! I’ve been adjusting to my new work schedule and taking advantage of my free time to spend it on passion projects.  I enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends so I have two campaigns starting next week and will be starting my own campaign in the coming months. It’s definitely been a stretch outside of my comfort zone to run my own campaign since I am in charge of creating the entire world and subsequent creatures, but I wanted to challenge myself and ultimately get better at it. My campaign is run through Monster of the Week, which is less mechanically heavy than D&D and is more beginner friendly. It definitely has my recommendation if anyone is interested in games similar to D&D but finds D&D overwhelming. I also recommend this to anyone who enjoys writing and world building, definitely allows for skillset growth!  I’ve also been adjusting to my new move with my partner…