2023 marked the 200th anniversary of the Library of Virginia as well as the second year of the Transforming the Future of Libraries & Archives internship program. This year, we welcomed a cohort of seven undergraduate students to the Library of Virginia in June for an immersive 10-week experience to explore career and educational paths, skills, and experiences only available through the Library and to network with other LAM (Libraries, Archives, and Museums) professionals. The cohort had the opportunity to visit the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia and the American Civil War Museum-Historic Tredegar to investigate how other museum professionals entered the profession.
We tried to answer questions about the function of libraries and archives to current users, but also the role of these institutions in the future. Read on to learn more about each of the students’ perspectives and accomplishments this summer. It’s been a blast sharing our knowledge and exploring these possibilities with this group of Transforming the Future of Libraries & Archives interns!
Click each intern’s image to learn more about their exciting projects!
Interning at the Library of Virginia has been an incredible learning experience for me. Working as an information security intern, I reviewed and analyzed security documentation which taught me a variety of ways to protect different information systems. I worked with the IT team practicing the use of network monitoring software and the proper setup and imaging of some of the Library’s computers. Because of its welcoming atmosphere of great people and wealth of support for learning, my experience at the Library of Virginia has helped me hone my skills and made me a better cybersecurity professional for the future.
Over the past few weeks working with the newspaper program at the Library of Virginia, I have learned more about what to expect when I graduate college than I could have hoped for. The Library of Virginia has shown me how the people and the environment you work in can mold your job into something that is easy to look forward to every morning. I have experienced more kindness here from every person I have met than I ever expected, along with guidance from my mentors in such a constructive way that allows me to see myself learning and growing while working with them.
During these past few weeks at Library of Virginia, I have had the opportunity to work on multiple projects, including newspaper inventory and cataloging, developing my research skills for History Unfolded, and finding past articles on Virginia Chronicle for Twitter posts. While working on all of this, the main project that I have had the pleasure of working on has been researching and writing blog posts on the topic of female newspaper editors and publishers. So far, I have completed two pieces, the first on Rebecca Broadnax Hicks and the Kaleidoscope and the second on Mrs. E. P. Elam and her periodical the Family Christian Album. Currently, I am developing a piece about Maggie Lena Walker and her paper the St. Luke Herald and have plans to also write about Charles Anthony and her paper the Monocle in the near future. I have been able to read the works of these revolutionary women and learn from them and about their accomplishments while developing my writing and research skills.
I’m not yet sure how this internship will influence my future career, but I do think it has shown me what I want to look for when looking for a job. I can see now how much I enjoy learning and researching about new topics, along with being able to write articles in hopes that I can teach others about past or current events. Along with that, I have had the pleasure of watching Library of Virginia employees find joy in working together, and I have a strong feeling that that is a very rare quality to find in a workplace. My time so far at the Library of Virginia has been a delight and I have met people and shared experiences that I will never forget.
During my time at the Library of Virginia for my Visual Studies Collection internship, I worked with the Safety Is Better Than Compensation poster collection, obtained from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry between 1952-1975. Part of my internship program involved learning about metadata as I collected all the information from this collection for the purpose of online availability. Metadata is essentially data that provides information surrounding other data. Many libraries utilize Dublin Core for their metadata processes. As I collected this metadata, I learned about the process of creating data, such as subjects, that enables patrons to search for these items in the online database.
While participating in this internship, I worked closely in Visual Studies with my supervisor, Kimberly Wolfe, who arranged meetings with other departments throughout the duration of my time at the Library of Virginia. This allowed me to get a broader idea of what goes into creating digital content and the inner workings of a state library.
During my first week, I met with Dale Neighbors in Special Collections. He gave me a tour of the collection, and told me about the special conditions that the materials must be kept in to be effectively preserved. During my second week, I met with Ben Steck and Victoria Garnett in Digital Imaging Services. They showed me around their workspaces and introduced me to all the processes and equipment that goes into digital imaging. I learned how large materials are scanned and digitized. During my third week, I was introduced to Dana Angell in Visual Studies Handling and Housing. She showed me all the proper procedures for handling special and rare materials; additionally, she showed me where and how rare materials are stored here. I learned how to carefully observe materials without damaging them. During my fifth week, I was introduced to Mary Clark in Acquisitions and Access Management and Alicia Starliper in Registration. I learned about the process of how we lend things like paintings to other state buildings. During my seventh week, I was introduced to Jessica Burgess in Digital Preservation. I learned about the process of keeping digital items up to moderation as technology adapts.
For the past ten weeks I have been immersed into a world spanning far beyond just books. A world boasting culture, history, community, leadership, and dedication. During my time as an intern here at the Library of Virginia, I have learned both what the library currently has to offer, and everything they wish to provide in the years to come. I have gained an entirely new perspective on this space rich with Virginia history, and what all is possible through the existence of places such as this one. Prior to joining the Library’s summer internship, I had essentially no experience within the realm of archival work or the inner workings of a library at all. I was able to gain a bit of an understanding of archives through my university’s Special Collections, and garnered both a respect for the work and an interest in learning more. Taking this newfound respect and interest led me to the internship application at the Library of Virginia, and I was fortunately able to make good on my desire to know more.
The internship has lasted a total of ten weeks, and as each has passed I’ve learned something new and fascinating. I have been fortunate enough to be able to work with Lydia Neuroth on the Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative collection at the Library and the numerous record types such as Petitions to Remain, Jail Reports, and Commonwealth Causes. I was also able to attend a number of excursions including museum trips and a tabling event. I have worked to transcribe records, and conserve, process, and index others. My time as a whole has been well spent learning and gaining an even deeper appreciation for the Library and the history I have been working to preserve.
The weeks have flown by, and through it all I have remained more than excited at the never-ending prospect of newfound knowledge. The Library has become a space surpassing the books and rich history within, and instead is now a place I recognize for its continuous evolution. There is always more to know. Always more to uncover. Always more to preserve in the hopes that one day someone else might recognize the importance of our past as we continue to move towards our future.
As someone who is relatively new to the library field and entering library school this fall, I learned quite a bit as the Library Development Records Management intern at the Library of Virginia this summer. My tasks consisted of helping staff digitize professional librarian certificate application packages in the Commonwealth of Virginia dating back to 1937 and helping to alphabetize and properly cite the records online. Through this internship, I gained hands-on experience in understanding records management, information organization, the importance of discretion in dealing with confidential information, and scanning. Working with the Library Development and Network Division (LDND) and being supervised by Cindy Church, Continuing Education Consultant, and Paranita Carpenter, Procurement Officer, opened my worldview of just what libraries really do.
Cindy scheduled meetings with other Library of Virginia staff to meet with them and discuss their various roles, and it helped me to learn how important it is to follow procedures of book binding, organizing, classification systems, and outreach. For example, the LDND’s purpose is to provide professional consultation to all public library systems within Virginia and help library staff in other places such as museums, schools, universities, and other entities navigate the legal challenges and other issues libraries face, especially during this current political climate facing the United States in the war against misinformation. I have a history background as a graduate of Virginia Tech and understand how the issues of media and information intersect, and public responses can become a challenge. In working with the staff at Library of Virginia, I have gained a better insight into understanding that libraries are meant to serve as a “neutral ground” for patrons and to simply house both physical and online resources for use. In short, libraries are places to foster education and growth as well as places where there is no judgment of whoever walks through their doors. My internship experience has helped me to better grasp these current issues and how important libraries are as institutions that need to continue to exist.
My experience as the Library of Virginia Foundation intern this summer has been positive. My job duties focused on cleaning up constituent data in the donor database so that it is useful to the Foundation. Data clean-up entails formatting patron information for uploads, importing constituent data, identifying and segmenting donors into Virginia Go Regions, and uploading interactions. This will help me in my future career by teaching me about how accurate data is useful for non-profits. This experience fit with my Public Administration experience because it combined government administration and non-profit work. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to learn as a summer intern at the Library of Virginia.
This summer, the Library of Virginia’s Transforming the Future of Libraries and Archives program gave me the opportunity to learn from experts in the field of public education and allowed me to contribute to an upcoming exhibition on the Indigenous tribes of Virginia, the first of its kind at the Library. My work was primarily split into three smaller projects: exploring historic newspapers, analyzing the Department of Education’s desegregation files, and visiting tribal centers to assist with interviews for the exhibition.
With the newspapers, I examined historic articles from the Washington Post and the Southern Workman, highlighting stories related to the eleven state and federally recognized tribes of Virginia, as well as looking for stories surrounding the first native students at the Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. With the desegregation files, even though many official records identifying Indigenous people are harder to find due to the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, I was able to discover records of native students attending Virginia schools. Finally, I was invited to visit the Rappahannock, Patawomeck, and Nottoway tribes, and assisted with the documentary interviews that will be featured in the upcoming exhibition. Through these visits, I learned a great deal about each tribe’s history, culture, and present-day ambitions. I truly look forward to the opening of the exhibition and am proud of the work I have completed with the Library of Virginia!
The Transforming the Future of Libraries and Archives Internship Program is supported by the Moses D. Nunnally, Jr. Charitable Trust B, EBSCO, the Universal Leaf Foundation, and generous donations from individuals made to the Library of Virginia Foundation.