What’s inside your intern reads?

Around the start of the summer, I was asking on Twitter about what folks have their interns read. We had one undergraduate intern and another graduate intern, so folks with some concept of archives thanks to student assistantships or course work but not necessarily much in the way of theory.

I’m always mindful of giving my students enough information without overwhelming them (I don’t always get it right, of course!). We aimed to pair work with readings so that the theory was brought to life, which I always found helpful while I was learning.

Thanks to my colleagues Tanya and Rebecca, who shared with me what they included in their selections. Our two students read the following, listed in the order read, according to the staff members they were working with:

  • A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers, from SAA
  • Understanding Archives and Manuscripts, James M. O’Toole and Richard J. Cox
  • Managing Archives,
  • Preservation 101, NEDCC
  • Providing Reference Services for Archives & Manuscripts, Mary Jo Pugh (select chapters)
  • Doing Social Media So It Matters: A Librarian’s Guide, Laura Solomon
  •  Varsity Letters, Helen Willa Samuels, “Introduction”
  • Describing Archives: A Content Standard
  • Arranging and Describing Archives & Manuscripts, Kathleen Roe, “The Practice of Arrangement and Description”

If you’re willing, share the readings that you find useful for student education in the comments, or link to blog posts there. That we will tweak these in the future based on student, project, or changes to the archives education landscape seems almost certain. I’d love to explore the options!

Book review: Zamon’s The Lone Arranger

Laws a-mercy, y’all, I do not post here enough. In another effort to encourage me to remain engaged in learning more about what I do, I’m starting a new series of book reviews. Call me old fashioned, but I have found that when I want to educate myself about an aspect of archives mangement, books are the way to go. I frequently find something devoted to the subject at hand and it’s so easy to tote a book around. Journal articles serve me well, too, but nothing is easier than a book (at least, so far!).

This month’s book review looks at Christina Zamon’s The Lone Arranger : Succeeding in a Small Repository, published by the Society of American Archivists in 2012. I remember when the book came out, since I was still at Simmons and regularly attending NEA events. Christina is the Archivist and Records Manager for Emerson College in downtown Boston, and this book had quite the buzz! You know, amongst archivists. Unlike some of my friends, I had little interest at that time in becoming a lone arranger, so it was in one ear and out the other (sorry, Ms. Zamon).

But thanks to the job hunt, my interest was soon piqued in learning more the day-to-day of a lone arranger. And nothing beats the perspective of a current practitioner. Especially this current practitioner. I loved reading this book! She has essentially provided a training manual and a support group for lone arrangers in this relatively brief  workbook. The tone is realistic, the subjects cover a great deal. Without my own L.A. experience, I can’t say that it is everything, but I CAN say that if I ever land a solo archivist gig, purchasing The Lone Arranger will be my first act. It covers the “grad school” subjects (records management, IT, collections management, reference, administration), but Zamon knows her audience: she addresses those day-to-day questions that pop up and provides a good sense of what needs to happen and what is simply nice to have.

Side note: the Lone Arranger Roundtable website has great resources that address most archival tasks, simply because that’s … what lone arrangers do and need support for. I suppose sometimes deeper knowledge is necessary, but I’ve become a LART #1 fan between this book and that website. If you have questions about the whats and hows of archives, start with those two sources!

I’m sure that I am not the first person to laud this book, but it’s worth doing anyway. For newly minted archivists or those who are a little bit further on in their careers, Zamon’s The Lone Arranger  acts as a good mentor for the 11 months of the year that you’re not amongst other archivists.