Internship – Week 10

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

October 26 – 30

Monday, October 26th (4.5 hours):
Lots more email reference questions. Updated the blog for last week.Worked on class notes for the “Intro to Lilly Research” class designed for undergraduate freshmen. There will be a lot of treasures brought out to stun and amaze, but I’ll be showing them how these could be used in primary resource research. Drawing your own conclusions from an artifact (a book in this case) is very different than reading someone else’s conclusions (secondary resource).

Wednesday, October 28th (4.5 hours):
Email reference questions and I started updating the social media calendar. This will be a place where whoever is doing the social media (be it the Twitter, Facebook, blog, etc) can check out important events on specific days. I started out by listing the birth dates of all American presidents. One of the librarians wants to do a special tweet for each of the presidents leading up to next year’s presidential election. We have a large collection of Presidential signatures.

Friday, October 30th (4 hours):
I worked on a few more reference questions and responded via email. I’ve gotten more work done on the social media calendar… I’d like to have something for every day of the year, which might be a little difficult. I’m trying to relate these dates of people to examples in the Lilly’s collections. I want our social media person to have options. 🙂

 “Awful Murder and Mutilation of a Woman, in Whitechapel”  (via Lilly Library News & Notes)
“Awful Murder and Mutilation of a Woman, in Whitechapel” (via Lilly Library News & Notes)

Tomorrow is Halloween! My internship advisor did a great job on writing about spooky items in the Lilly’s collections. She posted on Twitter (@IULillyLibrary) and via the Lilly’s blog (Lilly Library News & Notes) about them. There are marionette dolls, a mouse skin, and human hair!

Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!

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Internship – Week 9

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

October 19 – 23

Monday, October 19th (4.5 hours):
My 8-weeks course ended last week, so I extend the hours of my internship on Mondays and Wednesdays. I started this session by working on emailed reference questions and then getting down to business on the class notes for a Lutheran Bible Study class coming in. I reviewed the material already written down and decided to familiarize myself with Lutheran history. Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses was given in 1517. King Henry VIII, apparently, wrote a critique of Martin Luther’s ideas in 1519. I say “attempt” because the work, Assertio Septem Sacramentorum…, has also been attributed to Saint John Fisher and Thomas More. Regardless, the work earned King Henry VIII the title “Defender of the Faith” from Pope Leo X in 1521. Later the Papacy revoked the title when King Henry VIII split from Catholicism in the 1530s with the desire to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This little bit of events became known as the English Reformation. Fortunately for Henry VIII and his successors, the English Parliament re-awarded the title in the 1540s. I decided to look this work up in WorldCat to see the nearest institution that owned a copy and wouldn’t ya know?! The Lilly owns a copy! They also own Luther’s response in a German translation! I was so excited I had to go to the vault to see them. It was a very exciting discovery for me.

Wednesday, October 21st (4.5 hours):
Again, I worked on emailed reference questions, but I continued work on my class notes. I’ve realized that I have 3 classes scheduled for November, but I’ve only been working on the Lutheran notes. I also have a class introducing undergraduate freshman to the Lilly’s research resources. It’s an introduction on how to use the Lilly for their classes. I’ve decided that I’ll show several treasures that represent our collecting strengths and show them how primary research works. It should be interesting! My other class is for a group of home-schooled children aging from Kindergarten to 7th grade. We’ve decided to split them up into an older and younger group to keep their interest levels up… hopefully. They’re studying Ancient Rome to early printing (1600s). I also got to booksit for a group of Ph.D./faculty members. It was supposed to be on magic and the occult, but they spent most of the time talking about one of the member’s blogs. It’s an intellectual blog, so I gathered, and one that’s stimulated much discussion. He’s already received his Ph.D., but was wondering why blogs and other new media can’t be considered “tenure-worthy.” The discussion was FANTASTIC! There’s too much to put up here, but some highlights were:

  • The immediacy of blog publishing/immediacy of feedback
  • Quality of feedback
  • Lack of a “frame” in blog posts/monographs are framed as a published book
  • Different “voices” when writing blog versus academic work… good or bad?
  • Longevity (or lack thereof) of blogs
  • Differences in subject area: musicology vs.humanities vs.physical sciences…

    I realize he’s already a tenured faculty member and therefore has the time and luxury to ask these questions, but I feel that this discussion directly impacted me. New media is a big discussion in all areas of scholarship – as it should be. Maybe I’m lucky to be in the library sciences where we seem to be embracing new media. Honestly, I was reeling after I left this talk. It was incredibly thought-provoking!

Friday, October 23rd (4 hours):
More emailed reference questions! I like them, honestly, I just can’t describe them fully to you. I found some photographs, marked some letters for photoreproduction, answered questions. All in a day’s work! I added another teaching class to my schedule in December. It’ll be on the editing process. It’s apparently for a science class, but there’s no science works on the list given to me, just English poetry and drama. I want to see if I can throw some neat science treasures on there, just for fun. Speaking of science treasures… I was working on writing a call list for a librarian truck about Victorian Lives, and I came across a little old work called “On the Origin of Species.” *jaw drops* It hit me that I was handling a first edition of a MAJOR scientific work… NO BIG DEAL. This is what I love to do. I love handling and working with rare books and materials because everyday is a treasure hunt. No, I don’t need  to handle a major title to feel excited…. I’ve gotten just as excited by 18th century love letters by common people. A receipt in this building is not just a receipt. It’s something to be placed in a folder or box and cared for.

Victorian Lives truck (via K. Emmons)
Victorian Lives truck (via K. Emmons)

Internship – Week 8

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

October 12 – 16

Monday, October 12th (3 hours):
Today I started by helping Rebecca pull some items for a fairy tale class. (Personally, I think this topic is SUPER interesting!) She already had lists for Bluebeard and Cinderella, but needs some titles for Little Red Riding Hood. That was for me to figure out. Not a problem, per say, but a unique quality of rare book libraries is not being able to browse the stacks and having to look at the catalog. In this case I started with the various search terms in IUCAT, narrowing to the Lilly Library’s collections. I was able to find a 19th century edition edited by “a lady” with hand-colored illustrations, a 1940s book with movable parts, a reproduction of a antique pop-up book, and a graphic novel adaptation. Very visual items, I think, which are always good for a class. I spent more time as on-call reference assistant and pulled some manuscripts for some patrons: Hispanic culture, Irish authors. I looked up items related to beer making in America that we have at the Lilly for one patron.

Red Riding Hood: The Graphic Novel. By Martin Powell. 2009. (via Amazon)
Red Riding Hood: The Graphic Novel. By Martin Powell. 2009. (via Amazon)

Wednesday, October 14th (3 hours):
As soon as I signed in I went to help Rebecca arrange the Slocum room for the two remaining class/lectures of the day. The Darwin lecture in the evening was open to the public and therefore she didn’t know how many people would show up. She has to think about visitor access and view-ability, but thinking about security of the items too. How best to arrange a room not designed for a classroom setting? Each class session will probably have different needs and a class room in a library like ours should accommodate most of those needs; unfortunately the Slocum room also doubles as the staff lounge and an exhibition space. Perhaps more studies should be done on classroom/teaching spaces in rare book libraries? Next, I went downstairs to count how many letters were in a collection over a four year period… it was just a rough estimate, but I came up with 1700-ish items. When that was finished I helped Rebecca set up for the fairy tale class. Most of the cradles were already being used for an academic library-related class, so we had to adjust. We used what we could and asked that the students be extra careful or switch out items in the cradle. It was a group of freshmen and I had a mini heart attack when they were invited to come up and check out the materials. It hasn’t happened to me before, but I was worried that these students just didn’t care about the materials and wouldn’t treat them with the respect we asked of them. I had to remind myself to calm down… that they hadn’t done anything wrong and I needed to give them a chance. I did have to tell one girl to stop resting her full weight on an arm flattened over a 19th century pop-up, but on the whole they were good. Still… my mini-inner-freak-out was an interesting phenomenon.

Friday, October 16th (4 hours):
I began this session by registering a professor emeritus and getting him the materials he requested. I then helped answer an emailed reference question. There is a religious department alumni lecture this evening so I assisted setting up the chairs and A/V equipment, then arranged the lounge (Slocum room) for a reception. There was no tour today, because no one was waiting for one. I continued working on reference questions, which took me the majority of the remaining time. We’re trying to track down some elusive materials and alas… they are determined to remain elusive.

Internship – Week 7

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

October 5 – 9

Monday, October 5th (3 hours):
Today I worked for a while as reading room reference assistant. There’s an undergrad class coming in throughout the next two weeks to look at primary materials for a project; I’m there to help get the materials and assistant the regular reading room attendant. I will be teaching a treasures class on Wednesday so the majority of my time was spent creating a “cheat sheet” of notes. I know some of the treasures, but not all 15. Creating this document was more a matter of looking at past class notes and copy/pasting into a new document. Not too difficult, but very time consuming.

Wednesday, October 7th (3 hours):
I taught another class! Today was a class introducing the Lilly to some students, so we shared some of our treasures with the group.The class was supposed to be 50 minutes, but they showed up a little late so I only had ~30 minutes to explain 15 items. This class was much easier to teach because a)I’ve seen these materials before b)it wasn’t purely academic. This was “showing off,” in a way. It’s much easier to excited over materials that you’ve seen before. I still had my notes to remind me dates and a few other particulars, but on the whole I could just talk. I related how this primary sources can be used in everyday studies – I wanted to make these rare and precious treasures feel more accessible. We are a library(!) – the materials should be accessible. A few visitors wandered in at the end of class and I told them about the materials too. They just happened to catch me before I put away these great objects and got to hear about them all in one place. Hopefully, I left a good impression of the Lilly in their minds! Lastly, I worked on reference questions: one about correspondence in the Orson Welles collection with Duke Ellington.

Poe first editions from the Lilly Library (@IULillyLibrary tweet)
Poe first editions from the Lilly Library (@IULillyLibrary tweet)

Bonus: On this day in 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died… and James Whitcomb Riley was born!

Friday, October 9th (4 hours):
I spent the early part of this shift compiling a list of works for a Lutheran Bible study group. I want to get experience selecting materials and researching them; get the entire teaching experience. We have some very cool religious materials here at the Lilly and I’m excited to compile a new list. Rebecca even said that some of the materials could be used for a school group attending later in the semester. Rebecca and I met to have a mid-term discussion. We basically just reviewed the jobs that I have been doing, removed some jobs from our original goal’s list, and discussed what we want to do for the rest of the semester. I’ll probably upload that information to the Intern website this weekend. I spent some time as the Reading Room attendant, wearing the pager, retrieving materials. I routed some of the books from the Alice in Wonderland exhibit; and finally I helped shelve some materials in the vault.

Differences between UK and US (part 2)

You may remember a post I did a few weeks ago concerning the differences between the UK and the US (Part 1) personally noted during this summer’s British Studies adventure. I’m an American commenting on what I saw in the United Kingdom.

One of my fellow British Study librarians posted an article from The Guardian where an Englishman (Paul Owen) comments on the differences he’s noted while living in New York. It’s highly enlightening and a wonderfully opposite perspective from mine!

…funny enough, though, we note some of the same differences.

(UK & US Flags - Dot Matrix by gavjof via Flickr)
(UK & US Flags – Dot Matrix by gavjof via Flickr)

Here’s a link to the full article: (“A [very] rough guide to America from an Englishman in New York“), but I’ll give you my favorites below.

“…2. You need to tip for everything. If you think maybe you should tip, you should tip. You should be tipping me for this article.

…21. Yeah, that’s right. And bragging is considered perfectly OK.
22. And so is telling someone sincerely that you think they, or something they have done, is amazing and fantastic.
23. I mean it.
24. No, really.

…30. If you’ve got good health insurance, the doctor will give you everything you need …and more.
31. If you haven’t… Oh, God. Good luck to you.

…39. Order a cup of tea in a cafe or restaurant and you will be confronted with a glass or mug of lukewarm water with a teabag of some alarming flavour, like pomegranate or boysenberry, floating sadly on the top like a punctured dinghy, and some “milk” that is probably 50% cream, delivered on request. I’m just going to say it once: the water needs to be at boiling point for the tea to infuse!!!

…47. The weather really means business.

48. Americans are acutely conscious of race, in the way British people are acutely conscious of class…”

Seriously! Go check out the article! 🙂

Internship – Week 6

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

September 28 – October 2

Monday, September 28th (3 hours):
So, I thought I was going to teach a section of Hispanic Culture today… but I didn’t. While prepping for the class before the students arrived I was trying to force myself to remember what each item was… and I got nervous. I was already nervous, to be honest, but not remembering the significance of the items made myself freeze up even more. Rebecca, my adviser, was in the room and asked if I wanted to sit through the class while she taught it… hear the talk one more time. It gave me another chance to hear the information before I gave the class on Tuesday. It’s a humbling experience, especially when you feel like you’ve let someone (yourself included) down, but one lesson that is important. I needed help. I didn’t know the materials as well as I thought and Rebecca was able to step in for me.

Tuesday, September 29th (2 hours):
Teaching went well today! I showed up to the room a little early to review the items and thinking of things I wanted to mention. A few people showed up early and I talked with them fairly easily, but when it was time to start the room was full. Librarian mode switched on, but it wasn’t a smooth transition- I was tense. I got through my introduction speech and could tell that I had some nerves, but the cool thing was… I relaxed! About halfway through I felt myself relaxing and talking more normally. I may have rushed through the information a touch, but that’s to be expected. I was at my most relaxed when they students came up to look at the materials – I like answering their questions and interacting with them. Obviously not everyone is going to think books are “super cool,” but the few who do make it worthwhile.

Wednesday, September 30th (3 hours):
Today was a day on projects. Erika Dowell, the head of Public Services, asked if I could help her ascertain certain information on the Orson Welles scripts. She is in the process of writing a grant proposal and need numbers for her document. I spent the entire time tracking down the correct scripts and then counting the pages. This meant some quality time on one of the manuscript floors in the stacks.

Friday, October 2nd (4 hours):
I spent the early part of the day renaming files. This time, though, on the post-2012 materials. I checked at 2pm to see if anyone was waiting for a tour, but alas, there was no one. About halfway through my time I went to help Rebecca set up for an Islamic Studies class and the instructor guided us on her preferred order. I was there to watch over the materials during the lecture. Rebecca gave the introductory speech and the lecturer invited the visitors to the table. Unfortunately as soon as the group started to move towards the front, some people immediately went to the back materials and began to handle them. By handle, I mean pick the books up out of their cradles and flip through the pages as if they owned them.  I had to jump in quickly and tell them to kindly put the materials back… and then gave my speech on how to touch the materials.

Qur'an (juz' 9 of 30) (source: From Pen to Printing Press, Lilly Library and IU Art Museum)
Qur’an (juz’ 9 of 30) (source: From Pen to Printing Press, Lilly Library and IU Art Museum)

Some of you reading this may think, “they are just books,” and you would be partially correct, though these rare materials are also museum-like objects. You wouldn’t go up to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and take it off the hanging, nor would you pick up a Ming Dynasty vase.

“But Kelsey – those are fragile materials. Books aren’t fragile.” Well, some books and manuscripts are fragile. Very fragile. Just touching them may cause the edges of the paper to break off due to paper acidity and time.

What I’d ask… is that for patrons to ask before touching materials or taking pictures. Every library is going to have different policy. (I learned this from visiting places on the British Studies Program.) The Lilly Library and others like it are trying to balance user access and material preservation. My guiding thought is that we’ve preserved these materials in order to use them now, but we also need to continue preserving them for future generations’ use.