Hello from the Presbyterian College Archives. I am Sarah Leckie, and I’ve been in charge of this department since July of last year. It’s been a while since Blue Notes has been updated (sorry about that!), and there’s been quite a lot going on.
Actually, the last several years have been a time of transition in Archives. Responsibility for the cataloging and processing of all library materials has gradually shifted to our department, and in recognition of those changes, the name of the department has now been formally changed from Archives and Special Collections to Archives and Technical Services. This does not mean that special collections is no longer part of our department; it’s just that Archives, Special Collections, and Technical Services would be too long a name!
There have also been developments elsewhere on campus that have impacted Archives. In March of last year, Presbyterian College received word that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved a grant of $100,000 to the college to support the “Textile Mill Memory Project” (TMMP), a digital and oral history initiative that will engage students, faculty, librarians, and staff in documenting the history of the textile industry in Clinton, South Carolina. Archives will be deeply involved in cataloging, processing, and ensuring access to the materials that will be acquired as part of this project. In order to equip us to deal with the increased work load, last year a new full-time staff member was hired.
Jennifer Osborne began working with me and part-time archivist Teresa Inman in March, coming to us from the Greenville County Library System, where she had worked for the past six years. Jenn is a graduate of Southern Wesleyan University and has lived in Clinton for three years. Since joining us as archives and technical services assistant, she has worked diligently to learn both cataloging and archives procedures. She has been a wonderful addition to our staff, and we are thrilled to have her with us.
Teresa, Jenn, and I had almost four months to work together before Teresa’s retirement. During that time, I completed the requirements for a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, graduating from the University of South Carolina in May. Teresa and I trained Jenn, and Teresa trained me to transition into my new position as archives and technical services technician. We got a lot done while there were three of us working — we finished much of a sizable cataloging backlog and processed a large volume of textile-mill-related materials.
Teresa officially retired in July (read the Blue Notes column bidding farewell to her and her husband John here), although she continues to come to Archives to work as a volunteer, which Jenn and I really appreciate. I am now in place as archives and technical services technician. It is both intimidating and comforting to follow in the footsteps of Teresa Inman and Nancy Griffith (PC’s first archivist, who retired in 2012 — read the Blue Notes tribute to her here). It’s intimidating because the two of them have set the bar so high, and comforting because they trained me so well!
As Jenn and I moved into fall semester, we continued cataloging and overseeing new materials processing, which is ably carried out by our student assistant Kimberly Rhodes, now in her third year with us. We also continued processing items related to TMMP, including inventorying materials which may eventually be digitized, and beginning to learn about intellectual property rights, metadata schema, best practices for digitization, and many other aspects of this project. It’s a bit overwhelming at times, but very exciting!
A highlight of last year occurred in December, when Archives hosted two StoryCorps staff members for four days. StoryCorps is an independently funded oral history project, and segments of their interviews are often broadcast on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. While they were here, the two StoryCorps facilitators recorded the conversations of a total of almost 50 individuals as they spoke about their memories of working in a textile mill or being part of a mill community. These recordings will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and each pair of participants was provided with a compact disc recording of their conversation. In the future, our hope is that these recordings will be available to the public through an online repository, one of the many aspects of this project that we are currently working on.
And now it’s 2016 – where has the time gone? We’re looking forward to another year of sharing information through both archives and cataloging!
posted by Sarah Leckie