Internship – Week 16

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!

December 7 – 11

Monday, December 7th (4.5 hours):
Today has been a fairly slow day at the Lilly. Any emailed reference questions had been answered by the time I arrived in the afternoon, I don’t have any classes coming up, and the reading room was relatively quiet. Most of the manuscripts had been put away too!

I spent most of my time updating the social media calendar. Rebecca gave me an interesting calendar that has birthdays of important authors/entertainers/political figures/scientists – it’s from Half Price Books. The nice thing is, it has some one for EVERY day. I’ve used it as a guide to look up people in the Lilly collections to see if they’re relevant to us.

Wednesday, December 9th (4.5 hours):
Another slow day… but it’s also my last! 😥

Happily, since I still don’t have a full-time job yet, they’ve asked me if I can come back in the spring to work for a few hours. I have to keep my IU administrative assistant job in order to pay the bills and work 20 hours with them, but I should be able to give 8 hours to the Lilly. Since both jobs are at IU I can’t go over the 29 hour limit because then they’ll have to start paying me benefits.

I spent most of my time today adding to the social media calendar again – my goal was to have something for every day on the calendar. That objective didn’t quite work out, but I have managed to put a lot on there. I’m quite proud of my little project.

Well… now on to finishing up a few things for my credit classes and then graduation on the 19th! Yay!

graduation cap with tassel

Thank you to everyone at the Lilly Library who’s helped me out over the past 2 years, especially my internship advisor, Rebecca Baumann, and academic advisor, Joel Silver!


Internship – Week 15

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!

November 30 – December 4

Monday, November 30th (4.5 hours):
Today was dedicated to completing notes for my class on Thursday. Isabel Planton, one of the reference librarians who’s already taught this class, pulled some of the things she’s shown in the past. This included drafts of Sylvia Plath’s poem The Babysitters and corresponding material showcasing Plath’s life. She kept diaries, calendars, and scrapbooks of her time babysitting. These materials are examples of literary editing of poems. Isabelle also pulled the drafts of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions along with his original drawings; literary editing of prose. Orson Welles has a few scripts and storyboards for his movie Citizen Kane; editing of move scripts/film. We pulled Ian Fleming’s drafts of Dr. No and Goldfinger; these are the literary manuscripts not film scripts. I decided to pull George Lucas’s The Adventures of Luke Starkiller… better known as Star Wars; another example of film script editing, which he did during filming. Isabelle suggested Raymond Carver’s correspondence with his editor Gordon Lish concerning Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Finally I thought we need to pull something related to the science editing process. I pulled some early papers from Herman Joseph Muller’s collection concerning fly genetics, mutations, and the effects of radiation. That work, over several decades, earned him the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.

I accomplished a lot of research today!

Wednesday, December 2nd (4.5 hours):
I got a thank you letter from the homeschooled group! It is so incredibly sweet of them to write me a note! Enclosed in the letter was a note from one of the moms and two notes from her kids with a drawing. The perfect way to start today!!

…and then I get two more job rejections via email.

Bummer. But, you know… it’s okay. Everything will work out that way it should, I just have to be patient.. All I can do is keep applying for jobs.

The materials I’m pulling for my class tomorrow are actually acting as a salve. Within the Sylvia Plath and Kurt Vonnegut materials are rejection letters. They didn’t lead the happiest of lives, no, but accomplished writing several wonderful pieces of which they are now known world-wide. They got rejections… but they kept at it. That’s the key.

I need to work on the bibliography due for this internship. Only 2 more weeks left!

While reviewing the materials for the class tomorrow, I went a little overboard on examining Robert Hooke’s Micrographia. The illustrations are really interesting though! Just check these out:

Magnified image of a fly's head and eyes
Hooke’s drawing of a grey dronefly’s head under the microscope (Scheme XXIV, via Wikipedia)
Close up illustration of cork cells under a microscope
Hooke’s drawing of cork under a microscope; first time “cell” is applied in biology (Scheme 11, via Wikipedia)

Thursday, December 3rd (4 hours):
Today was the Biology Writing class to whom I showed the process of self-editing! It went pretty well. There were about 20 undergraduate students and though it was a Biology course, they were doing a project on poetry. The result was me showing a plethora of things to them. I managed to get them to smile and stay engaged, which means it was a success. Somehow I forgot to display the Orson Welles materials, but I spoke about him for a moment… they generally seemed more interested in the Star Wars script I displayed instead. The Robert Hooke Micrographia and Vesalius went over well too, as did the Muller documents – all the science documents that I added to the presentation. I felt like I was a little all over the place while talking, speaking as thoughts came to my mind, but overall it went well.

Woodblock illustration of a human muscular structure in motion
Andreas Vesalius. De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem … Basel: Ex Officina Joannis Oporini, 1543 (via Anatomia Animata online exhibit)

Seeing as how this will be my last class at the Lilly, I should take a moment to compare them while this is still fresh in my mind. I’m definitely more relaxed while speaking in front of a group than the first time (see this Week 6 post for an explanation). I also know the material better. I didn’t prepare well enough for the first Hispanic Culture class, but that was probably because I didn’t write the notes for that class. The notes and materials were handed to me and I was expected to regurgitate the information; I didn’t actually know it. It was wonderful, beautiful material… but I didn’t know it. Comparatively, I didn’t write the notes for some of the things shown in today’s class, example: I would claim that I didn’t know the Carver/Lish stuff exceedingly well, but I worked with it the past two internship sessions and did a little of my own research. I made the notes mine which made it easier to talk about them and relay information to the class.

Internship – Week 14

Thanksgiving Week!

The Lilly Library is still open, but in order to stretch my hours through the entire semester I won’t be interning this week. Have a lovely holiday!

Lilly Library Hours
Monday, November 23: 9:00am-5:00pm

Tuesday, November 24: 9:00am-5:00pm
Wednesday, November 25: 9:00am-5:00pm
Thursday, November 26: Closed
Friday, November 27: Closed
Saturday, November 28: Closed
…reopens on Monday, November 30


Internship – Week 13

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!

November 16 – 20

Monday, November 16th (4.5 hours):
Today is the first day without Dave. I definitely feel his absence… the librarians left have to take a bigger workload in order to maintain. I’m just trying to help with anything they need.

So, I spent the beginning hour answering a few emailed reference questions. The rest of my time was spent finding and choosing interesting Lilly books on fairy tales. Rebecca has a class coming up this week on fairy tales, but doesn’t have notes on most of them. She has a large list of great books to show on Cinderella and Bluebeard. I was to look up the origins of Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and The Snow Queen. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Most modern fairy tales had been passed down orally for centuries before being written down. What would you consider original, then? The oral stories or the first written down version? What if multiple cultures had similar stories? What if Perrault and the Grimm brothers both took inspiration from the same story? I love this kind of research! If I hadn’t have gone into Library Sciences I probably would have studied folklore and fairy tales.

Most of us, if you’ve looked up the origins of fairy tales, know the big ones: Charles Perrault, a Frenchman famous for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty; Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish gentleman famous for The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow Queen; and the brothers Grimm, German brothers famous for tellings of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White.

Beauty and the Beast was interesting because it WASN’T one of the big three. The modern, popular representation of Beauty and the Beast is attributed to Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont from France.

Now, let’s take a moment to recognize the original titles of these tales:
Beauty and the Beast = La Belle et la Bête (French)
Bluebeard = La Barbe bleue (French)
Cinderella = Cenerentola (Italian); Cendrillon, or, La Petite Pantoufle de verre (French); Aschenputtel (German)
The Little Mermaid = Den lille havfrue (Danish)
Rapunzel = Rapunzel (German)
Sleeping Beauty = La Belle au bois dormant (French); Dornröschen (German)
The Snow Queen = Snedronningen (Danish)

Illustration of Cinderella bent down in the kitchen with pots around her
Charles Robinson illustrated Cinderella in the kitchen (1900), from “Tales of Passed Times” with stories by Charles Perrault. (via Wikipedia)

Wednesday, November 18th (4.5 hours):
I walked in and they were completely caught up on reference questions! It was amazing! So, I spent some time preparing for my class on Friday. It’s a home schooled group ranging in age from elementary to junior high studying ancient Rome to  early printing. To keep everyone’s attention we’re making this relatively hands-on and fairly short, only 30 minutes per small group. I’ve gathered some visually stimulating objects that won’t damage easily:

  • Roman tombstone
  • Large Antiphonal, with illumination
  • Gutenberg Bible fragment
  • Paper molds with deckle
  • Composition stick
  • Paper-making machine figurine
  • Vellum roll

I’m excited for it! I want it to be educational and interesting, but obviously straightforward and not above their heads.

Friday, November 20th (4 hours):
The home-school group of elementary kids was amazing! They were fewer than anticipated, so we talked as a single group. We talked in the main gallery for a little while and looked at the Adubon, checked out the Lincoln Room with the Gutenberg Bible, went into the Ellison Room to look at the objects I pulled, and then back to the Main Gallery to see how the printing press might work. It was a lot of information and a long hour for the kids, but they were great! Several of them had strong questions and were able to answer mine easily. They were super inquisitive and I was glad to have helped show them what the Lilly collected!

Group of children around a table with a woodblock
Homeschooled class visiting the Lilly to see early printing materials (via @IULillyLibrary on Twitter)

The rest of my time was spent on reference questions. Wouldn’t you know we were relatively quiet all day Wednesday and Thursday, and even Friday morning… but when I arrived at 1pm we had 7 simultaneous emails! Isabelle, Rebecca, and I got to most of them. I had another copyright question, where someone wanted an entire book digitized. The book, a miniature, was published in 1987, but the text was originally written in the 1700s. Interesting little problem, heh?

Internship – Week 12

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!

November 9 – 13

Monday, November 9th (4.5 hours):
My classes today went fantastic! It is such a wonderful feeling when you, as a librarian, are able to affect a few patrons. Today’s classes were made up of freshmen. They were taking this class as an introduction to the University’s resources, which obviously included the Lilly Library. I pulled a few treasures to represent our varying collections and showed them how they could conduct primary research. We started with a “tour,” and introduction to the Lilly’s collections and how to use the materials. I went over the history and described the size and scope, but then I took them into the Ellison Room where the materials were laid. That’s where the treasures were. I described the materials in a previous post, I believe, but the students interacted with me! Some of them were excited, visually, by what I was showing them! It’s nice having that connection with people; a mutual delight over old books.

This is why I want to be a reference/instruction librarian. I delight in showcasing the libraries materials and seeing others share in that joy. Books as objects are important. Seeing a digital representation of a page is a profoundly different experience than being able to touch it, turn the pages, notice the quirks of an individual item. I don’t discredit digital images or digitization… they just have a separate function. With these rare materials we are able to get closer to the source or original version of the text; we can see how materials were originally published; decipher marginal notes written by previous owners; understand size and color of an object; see the writing process of authors; and experience these materials as objects. The information about the object often speaks to and enhances the textual information found within the pages.

Gersdorff, Hans Van. Feldtbüch der wundtartzney. [Strassburg]: Schott, [1517?] (via Lilly Library online)
Gersdorff, Hans Van. Feldtbüch der wundtartzney. [Strassburg]: Schott, [1517?] (via Lilly Library online)
Wednesday, November 11th (6 hours):
Happy Veterans’ Day! A quick thank you to all who have or are serving in our armed forces!

Another side note… today is Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday… check out the Lilly’s Vonnegut collection here: .

Alright, now down to the nitty-gritty.

I arrived at the Lilly early today in order to booksit for a class taking place at 11:15. The materials pulled were really interesting: a Mercator map, Gesner’s Historia animalium with a rendition of Albrecht Dürer’s Rhinoceros, French encyclopedias, books on plants.

(Albrecht Dürer - National Gallery of Art: online database: entry 1964.8.697; via Wikipedia)
(Albrecht DürerNational Gallery of Art: online database: entry 1964.8.697; via Wikipedia)

It really was an interesting amalgamation of items. The course was taught in French, but she slipped into English several times. I feel like I want to be open and welcoming during these sessions because I want students to be excited by these materials, but if I haven’t instructed them on how to handle the books I get a little anxious and feel as if I’m the overprotective-helicopter Mom. I don’t want to be a helicopter Mom… but I don’t want the materials to be ripped or mistreated either.

It’s a balancing act.

I continued working on more reference questions. They included more copyright/publication questions as well as regular counting/reproduction questions.

Friday, November 13th (4 hours):
Busy day today! I got in around 1pm and worked some on emailed reference questions; one issue that came up was photocopies of correspondence held at another institution. We have photocopies of the letters for continuity purposes intended for researchers physically at the Lilly; if a researcher emailing the Lilly wanted photocopies of these letters (as was the case here) we had to direct them to the institution holding the original copies.

That’s a lot of words to vaguely explain the situation, isn’t it?

Anywho… about twenty minutes before the tour was to take place two gentlemen arrived. They were wanting to listen to the tour, but wanted to get registered in the Reading Room first so their books could be pulled while on the tour. I helped the two and then walked them to the Main Exhibit Gallery to begin the tour. Well, wouldn’t you know there were three more women waiting for the tour?! That doesn’t usually happen. I was a bit flustered and just began. At the first pause, the women went to take their jackets off since they hadn’t yet… and another student walked in for the tour! There were six people on this tour! That sounds like a small number, but the Lilly (and I’d wager other rare book collections) never usually get that many people interested in the history of their collections all at the same time. I talked and answered questions for half an hour and then 5 of the 6 decided to come into the Reading Room.

The two gentlemen were covered, but I had a few treasures pulled for the women. I gave them a personal, short presentation on a 15th Century Book of Hours, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan manuscript, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Fruits of Philosophyand the Oscar. One of the women began crying when she saw the First Folio! It makes me incredibly happy that other people are so affected by these books. A digital image of the First Folio is a very different experience than getting touch it and turn it’s pages.

Before I was finished showing the women these materials, another foursome became interested in them. When the women were finished I pushed my little truck over this group of two boys and two men. I went through my little spiel and they were super excited by the Peter Pan. It’s not a very visual piece, but it’s handwritten by Barrie… it’s physically touching history. (Check out my post on seeing Peter Pan as an opera in London!)

AND… today is the last day of one of my mentors! Dave Frasier is retiring from the Lilly Library today. I appreciate everything that he’s shown and taught me over the past year. Thank you, Dave!!

Internship – Week 11

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!

November 2 – 7

Monday, November 2nd (4.5 hours):
I answered a couple of questions via email, and funnily enough, they all had to do with copyright in some way. We had a couple questions had to do with  the Sylvia Plath collection. This collection had a few stipulations attached to it when we acquired the materials. Any poem or work of fiction intended to published and/or successfully published by Sylvia Plath can be reproduced and sent to a patron for personal research. If a patron wants any of the works not intended for publication (correspondence, diaries, personal poetry), he or she must obtain permission from the publishing house that holds the rights. And let me tell you, I don’t think that mission is very easy to accomplish. But… I am just the middle-man.

The rest of my time was spent being a booksitter for a French poetry class. I laid out the materials for the class, quickly went over the rules of handling, and then sat back to observe. The French professor spoke in, well, French. Obviously. I unfortunately know very little French and was unable to keep up with the discussion. It was very interesting, though! Regardless of not know the spoken language, I am able to read body language and facial expressions. When a student bends over a work, intently looking at a page, and a smile creeps across her face… I know that this book just spoke to her on a deeper level. She may have already read the passage in a modern edition, but to read the same words in the author’s hand… it’s touching history. Literally. The author’s hand moved across the very same page you are touching. I don’t need to know French to hear an excited tone to a student’s voice. Those are feelings that rare books and special collections bring out in patrons.

Wednesday, November 4th (4.5 hours):
I pulled the items for my Lutheran-centered bible class on Saturday. I had to write all of the call slips and retrieve them (mainly from the vault). I wanted to spend time looking at the items… getting to know them. I wanted to see if I had questions about the materials (and get them answered now instead of later) or see if anything can be marked. I want Saturday’s class to be relaxed and interactive – the study group knows more about the Bible and Lutheranism than I do. I can present the books and the information that I know, but I want them to share what they’ve learned and what they know.

At one point while I was looking over and organizing the books Joel Silver came into the room. He’s the director of the Lilly Library and curator of the Books; he is the fount of knowledge in the Lilly and a wonderful, wonderful instructor. He’s very sweet and willing to answer any question you have, but his expansive knowledge can be intimidating… a little. He asked what items were on my cart (because he knows the vault items quite well) and I froze up a little. Not really a good sign since I’m to be teaching these materials, but I answered things pretty well I think. I just don’t want to disappoint him! I know he knows that I’m just starting out, that I don’t know the materials as well as he does, and he’s just asking questions to be polite. Honestly I wish I could take more classes from the man – he’s that good.

Friday, November 6th (4 hours):
I arrived at the Lilly and went to work on a few email reference questions. Nothing too extravagant… mainly counting pages for a few people. I was able to register a couple of patrons in the reading room today – a simple process that just takes a little bit of time. I conducted the 2:00 Friday tour of the public spaces. It was lovely talking to one woman about the Lilly; we had more of a conversation that the normal tour relationship.

I also pulled some materials for the Monday class. I will be showing freshmen undergraduates how the Lilly can be used for primary research purposes. Boy, did I pull a few great things! I had to edit some of my originally intended items since other librarians were using them, but that’s the nice thing about the Lilly. There’s always something just as interesting to pull! I can be flexible. This also gives me a chance to look at items I haven’t before. Alright, now to the list of items…

  • The Canterbury Tales, written by Chaucer, printed by William Caxton
  • The Pickwick Papers, written by Charles Dickens
  • Six Pickwick Papers toddy ladles, issued by publisher
  • Laws of the United States, owned by Thomas Jefferson
  • A fifteenth century Bible owned by a former Duke of Sussex
  • A miniature album of recreated illuminations
  • Sylvia Plath’s drafts of The Babysitters
  • Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger drafted novel
  • A sixteenth century German surgery book
  • 1st English translation of Euclid’s Elements of Geometrie…
  • 1st issue of The Fantastic Four comic book
  • John Ford’s Oscar
German field book, Jefferson's copy, Pickwick Papers, Caxton's Chaucer (via K. Emmons)
German surgery book, Jefferson’s Laws copy, Pickwick Papers, Caxton’s Chaucer (via K. Emmons)

I think it’ll be a nice little class.

Speaking of classes, tomorrow is the class on Lutheran materials! I’m super excited for it!

Saturday, November 7th (4 hours):
The class went great! The Trinity Lutheran group from Ellettsville came in about 10am to the Slocum room where I had everything set up. One of the gentlemen was a pastor, meaning he went to seminary school, meaning he knew a lot more about Lutheran history than I did. I started out by showing examples of 15th Century French Books of Hours; these manuscript books were very decadent, filled with beautiful illustrations and illumination, showing a lot of wealth. There was as English primer called the Wycliffe Bible that seemed to have Reformation sentiments before the Reformation. Next were a few interesting types of Bibles from the 16th Century, contemporary with Martin Luther: a comic-esque, picture bible called the Pauper’s Bible, and polyglot filled with multiple languages. Then were the Martin Luther things: one of his tracts from 1520 in German, the first Lutheran hymnal, a miniature hymnal, the first German Bible published in America, and a book claiming to having Martin Luther’s signature. I showed Henry VIII’s tract against the Reformation that earned him the title “Defender of the Faith” as well as Luther’s response. The final few Bibles were interesting Bibles that I thought they needed to see: the Great Bible printed on yellow pages showcasing King Henry VIII more prominently than Jesus, the original King James Bible from 1611, and the Wicked Bible. I kept my talk to just over half an hour, which seemed to be just enough for this class; enough information without going overboard.

Showcasing the Lutheran materials in the Slocum Room of the Lilly Library (photo courtesy Dave Grimm)
Showcasing the Lutheran materials in the Slocum Room of the Lilly Library (photo courtesy Dave Grimm)

I thank them for coming in on a Saturday morning to help with my internship!

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!

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.