This summer, The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center had the wonderful opportunity to have Tyler Watts, a senior at St. Ambrose University, intern with us. He is interested in a career in the library and museum profession. During his time in Special Collections, he was able to get a glimpse of different types of work we perform to preserve and describe our local history and genealogical collections. Tyler acquired hands-on experience of digitization of photographs and textual materials, encapsulation and book preservation, and archival processing. We have asked Tyler to share his experiences in the blog below.
Best of luck with your future endeavors, Tyler!
From May 23 to July 25, I worked in the Special Collections as an intern. The experiences I have had up to now and continuing are helpful for understanding what the job requirements and duties are for working in special collections. One of the first activities that I did was to get familiar with the Special Collections area and to know the layout of the area. This was done by a tour of the facility which showed each of the sections followed by an explanation of what each area was used for or what types of materials were housed in a particular piece of storage. I also had a formal orientation in the employee area where I informed the policies for working at the library.
As an intern, I had plenty of activities to do and learn for Special Collections. One activity I did was to read and reflect on articles published by professionals in the library field and explore a variety of educational websites dealing with archives and special collections related information. By reading and exploring these sites, I learned a lot about different processes and what steps to take to be successful in the archives. These also have shown me the background knowledge of the various task perform in special collections and how to do each accordingly, so these were completed as accurately as possible as well. The activities were done in conjunction with the readings which has also been helpful since the hands-on experiences help with the visual aspect and to understand how things need to be done in a certain way. The activities which I worked on were: assisting with creating a display of NASA materials for the Summer Reading Program, mounting bookplates, encapsulating a document using Mylar and double-sided tape, basic tear mending on a page and digitize materials using the KIC scanner and flatbed scanner. Another was sorting some newspaper clippings in chronological order and creating an inventory of items donated in a manuscript collection.
In conclusion, I found the summer internship experience in the Special Collections very important and helpful. The experience has helped me to understand the process and the care of each item more carefully and what is needed to be done for the types of artifacts and how to handle them as well. The internship has also reinforced my decision to work in this area after I am done with college. I found the experience enjoyable as well and I will be thinking of ways to improve my education for the position as a result.
Below are some images of our stuffed animals performing the same task Tyler learned during his internship.
(posted by Tyler)