Written by: Emily Cottle
As was mentioned last week, I was hired in June 2012 as the first archivist in Delaware State’s (at that time) 121 year history. Up until that point, various members of the library’s staff had custody of the historical collection. However, the archives were just one secondarily assigned duty of the various librarians and not anybody’s sole responsibility. Therefore, with nobody dedicating 100% of their time to the archives, much necessary work in appraisal and processing was left largely undone.
After my hiring in June 2012, my first project was to conduct a box level inventory. This was an important step for determining what we had (and gaining some minimal intellectual control over it), but possibly more importantly, what we didn’t have in the collection. It was important to get a sense of where the big holes in our documentation were so that future collecting could be targeted to where our collections needed supplementation the most.
After completing this initial inventory, I just began processing little by little, chipping away at boxes here or there, focusing on some of the items I thought would be most useful or popular with researchers: school newspapers, campus newsletters, course catalogs, and photographs.
Things more or less continued on like that until August 2013 when I received notice that our IMLS grant proposal was successful. One of our first posts of the new year will delve more deeply into our grant project, including the motivations behind its writing and what the main goals of the project are.
We’re going to be taking a break for a few weeks while everyone is busy with the holiday season. Have a safe and happy holiday season, readers, and we’ll see you in January with some very exciting posts with more information about our IMLS grant project, introductions to our first archival fellow, and a brief history of Delaware State University.