Friday, August 23, 2013

Intern's Corner

We were very pleased to have Tegan Rice join us as a residential intern this summer. Tegan is a student at Northern Illinois University, where she is working towards her M.A. in history.

My Month at the David Library
By Tegan Rice
Tegan introducing a movie at DLAR.
For the short month that I was able to intern at the David Library, I had many tasks given to me.  Nothing more than I could handle, mind, but more than enough to keep me busy and introduce me to the variety of needs a special collections library has (far more than anyone who has never worked in one could guess).  My main task, or what I refer to as my main task as it was finish-able as opposed to ongoing, was to go through the vault which contained the rare and old books and pamphlets in the library’s collection and make sure the catalogue record accurately reflected the items.  
Of course this is valuable work as it teaches how libraries catalogue their items and what information is important and so on and so forth, but the IMPORTANT part was that I handled books and pamphlets that were hundreds of years old.  I got to touch several editions of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, I fan-girled out on a book signed in ink by John Hancock, and I felt an amazing rush of discovery when I found a series of books each signed by John Adams (these may or may not be the John Adams, but I like to hope).  Looking at the original Declaration of Independence somehow does not compare to being able to leaf through one of the hundreds of reprints from the same century with my own hands. 
I finished the task over the month of my internship.  The vault is now accurately catalogued, slightly re-organized and cleaned, and several items put in proper boxes that needed it, and those boxes itemized.  This is all wonderful, and comes with a great sense of accomplishment, but John Hancock’s signature and Thomas Paine’s many, many works overshadow that sense with blissful bragging rights. Sadly, not enough people will understand why my bragging about holding a book signed by John Hancock is more valid than them bragging about their random piece of paper signed by [insert any modern celebrity here].

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