First Impressions

By Ben Peterson (BMRC Processing Intern)


This is my first blog as an Archival Processor at the BMRC. I am shocked honestly that the task is somewhat daunting to me. I want to do it appropriately and I have never really written a blog before. In typical style for myself I started looking up examples of blogs (which I have read before, just in a different light I guess) and attempted to decipher how I would go about this. In the end, I figured out that I was honestly making too big of a deal out of the process and I just needed to start putting words on a page. This is what I came up with.

My road to this point has been an interesting one. Library Science as a field of study was one that came to me more out of practicality then anything else. Because of this, it is one that I have done a lot of educating about on the go. It has been a very different experience in learning than any I have been through before. I always knew archiving was the direction that I wanted to go with it, but what all that meant I was a bit unsure. Beyond the classwork, I needed to start working in the field so that I could truly start to make sense of this career. Going into my last semester of school, with some great coursework ahead of me, I was also extremely lucky to get the opportunity to come and work for the BMRC. 

Now, a week and a half into my job here, I can say that I am even more excited for this opportunity, and to be working in this field, than I was before hand. I couldn’t ask for anything more in that regard. To get things started, my team partner Olle and I were to work on an accession for the collection of the National Organization for Women. This was literally the first processing job that I have ever done. I have a fair amount of theory and conceptual knowledge packed away in my mind, but this was hands-on for the first time.

We are currently working out of the basement of the Library of the Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As I mentioned before, the collection is just a single accession of the National Organization for Women Records. Being a bit new to this, this accession, though it is rather small in comparison to a lot of collections, seemed to be the perfect size to begin with. It is just large enough to get the experience of working with a large grouping of artifacts, yet small enough to manage for a first approach.

Climbing out of the classroom and into the workplace with everything so fresh has so far been a really enjoyable experience. Applying what I have learned to the real life application that is processing has so far been incredibly enthralling. As well, coming in to a team with an experienced partner is truly making a difference. I am quite thankful for Olle, as he knows the ropes of how the BMRC works through these collections. Along with Lisa, I am nothing but thankful to have the guidance of these two with their willingness to answer my question as I am getting my feet on the ground. 

The excitement of getting started and working with historical documentation again, (since I was doing research for my undergraduate degree) is getting to me, but in a very good way. I cannot wait to continue. The next day or so will see us wrapping up our accession of the Nation Organization for Women and moving on to the Daley Library at UIC. Once there, we begin work on the United Way collection house there. I’m truly excited at the prospect of getting to work on a collection from beginning to end. The challenge and the learning experience that come along with it, is going to be fantastic.

Until next time!