Friday, August 8, 2008

And now, the rest of the story

So, how did I end up as the Superstarchivist that you know and love?

Well... looking back, I can recall several signs that I would eventually end up working in a library/archives/museum. When I was young, I remember shelving the books in my family's hallway bookcase alphabetically by author one day. Also, as a pastor's kid, I spent a lot of time in our church library, and I sometimes matched up checkout cards with books that had been returned there. On my first trip to Washington, DC, I loved all the Smithsonian museums and the National Archives. (I was about 5.) But let's skip ahead a few years.

I had some wonderful teachers in high school and some that weren't so great. U. S. history was a major yawn for me, though, and I always thought somebody ought to know more about it than one particular teacher I had. (Bless his heart, as we say in the South.) When I went to college, it was a toss-up between majoring in English and history. At the time, I thought a career in archaeology might be fun, and I also remembered that poor teacher, so I went with history. My school teacher mother kept telling me to add on an education certificate, but I knew good and well I didn't want to teach.

Fast forward to my senior year. My history degree was coming to an end, and I still didn't have any definite career plans. Shorter also offered an anthropology minor at that time (I think my roommate and I might have been the only people ever to get them), and the anthro professor asked if I would proofread a finding aid for her. She was working on a local history microfilming project. I had been to the Georgia Archives twice for a historical research class but had never seen a finding aid. However, I'm vicious with a red pen (thanks for those genes, Mom!), and I love to edit. When I gave Dr. O her marked up finding aid, she said, "You'd make a great archivist - you have such an attention to detail!" A little light bulb came on over my head. Really? I could maybe do this in some way and get paid? Hmmm.

She helped me arrange a volunteer internship at the state archives, and I worked with a manuscript curator there for the entire month of August 1993. They were nice enough to give me a parking permit from somebody who was going on vacation and didn't need it. I worked on processing the records of the Pilot Club (founded in Macon, GA). I enjoyed meeting the archivists there and asked them what I needed to do if I wanted a job in their field. They all suggested getting an MLS.

Next stop: Florida State University, where I got my master's after taking a year off to work for the DNR. By the time I finished my degree and worked at FSU's London Study Centre for a semester, Georgia was in a budget crunch, and departments of state government were being closed. There was no way I was getting in at the state archives!

This is getting long, so I'll wrap up. Long story short (if it's not too late): I finally landed a job at the state music museum as music librarian/archivist. The rest, as they say, is history. And I love it.

1 comment:

thewikiman said...

Thank you for linking this to the Library Routes Project!