As I begin the end of my graduate career and my time here at Special Collections I have been reflecting on what I have learned and accomplished. One of my last program requirements for graduation is a portfolio highlighting how the program has taught me a list of ALA standards through coursework. While my experience in library school has been helpful I know, without a doubt, that everything I have learned about library sciences and archives has been from my opportunity here as a Graduate Assistant. For this assignment I am restricted to only talking about my Library Science program experience and not my outside work so I want to take a moment to talk about all the things I learned in Special Collections that I never learned in Library School.
- Dust – no one ever tells you how much dust, dirt, and bugs you will be dealing with on an almost daily bases. Other notable mentions include hair, teeth, and mouse droppings.
- Trash day – possibly one of the more important days of the month, taking* out all of the boxes that can’t be reused and all the weeded material. *Make sure the trash bags are heavy duty otherwise the bags may break and you will cry.
- Shredding – speaking of weeded material, the confidential things you don’t need can’t just go into the trash so you have to shred, which can sometimes take forever.
- SHIFTING – this is hands down my least favorite thing, but everyone has to do it, am I right? I see it almost as a rite of passage for library students
- The mystery – hands down one of my favorite parts of my job is having to look in boxes (AKA almost all of my job) and finding some of the most amazing things! Last week I came across an awesome set of bookplates and a projector from the 1800’s!
- The nudity – The one thing I did not expect getting into this field was all the naked pictures! I have officially seen more nude strangers then I care to admit (sorry Mom).
- XML/ Finding Aids – I can’t even express how cool I feel working on finding aids. I never would have been successful with XML if I didn’t get the hands on practice and mentoring that I’ve received here.
- The archival process – While my two archival classes covered all the steps to a successful archival process through various readings, it wasn’t successful in really teaching someone how to actually do these things. More then anything after this experience I feel more confident then ever that I can successfully work in this field, which is honestly a great feeling.