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

Inventorying the Boston Public Library’s Print Collection

Jill Silverberg

Since the beginning of October 2015, I have been part of a team that is currently working on inventorying the Boston Public Library’s print collection. The print collection, housed in the heart of the BPL, is massive and although considerable progress was made on inventorying the collection over the course of the summer, there is still a long way to go. Currently, my duties are split in two. On Mondays, I spend my shift rifling through index cards (remember those?) and looking for duplicates. Sometimes there aren’t any (YAY!); but usually there are a lot of them. For example, I am currently weaning out duplicates from a stack associated to the French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Without the duplicates, the collection of cards is about two-hundred and fifty. Multiply that number by 2. Talk about a lot of cards!!! As much fun as removing duplicate cards sound, Wednesdays are my personal favorite day of the week. That’s because on Wednesdays, I get to actually dig into the collection, open up boxes, see what’s hiding inside. Basically this is a task that guarantees that a surprise is waiting inside any given solander box. 

Check out what I found in my most recent box
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Talk about awesome! I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was when I opened the box and found these woodblock prints lying inside. As of this Wednesday, these prints along with two others, were officially entered into the inventory and their box, which was unmarked, has been given a label. Hopefully one day soon, these and other items from the print collection will become digitized and then, everyone will be able to enjoy their beauty.