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.
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.