Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 2

After having worked in the library for about 2 weeks I have learned much. Ms. Preston is the only librarian and has many responsibilities in this position. In fact, she is co-authoring a book describing the operations of running a library solo. The museum and museum collection  have grown over the past two decades, and as a support to this institution, the collection and resources available in the library have also grown. This rapid growth has exceeded the available space within the library, and one of the projects Ms. Preston is working on is developing more shelving space. The image below illustrates this problem.
    The library houses several archives. The archive that I am working on ( museum archive) is partially complete. The image on the bottom shows the portion of the archive that has been done, and the image on the top provides a visual of the portion I am working on.

As stated in the last post I have begun by sorting material. The items I have sorted so far are from previous exhibitions. I have been dividing them alphabetically, by exhibition title. The items pictured below were all stored randomly in vertical files. I have separated these items based on each exhibition, and have labeled them with a post-it.   After I have completely sorted these resources, I will be scanning them and creating a digital record of each item.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Week 1

      This posting describes the first few days of my practicum in the Clarence B. Hanson Library in the Birmingham Museum of Art. A link to the library Web site can be found here. For those readers who do not know me or my background, I am a graduate student in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Southern Mississippi. I have a background in art, and I have worked in libraries. It is my ultimate hope to combine these passions by one day working as an art librarian in a museum or gallery. This practicum will provide me with valuable experiences that could be used as a starting point towards this goal.
     For my practicum I am working with the museum librarian, Tatum Preston, in the development of the museum archive. The archive is somewhat incomplete, as it had not been properly maintained for several years. I began my first week by familiarizing myself with both the museum collection, and the materials to be included in the archive. In addition to this, Ms. Preston secured a state funded grant to assist with the archives project, and the two of us attended a mandatory workshop at the Alabama Department of Archives and History as required for the funds. The workshop described basic archival processes, and offered information that could be used to develop an archive. The workshop also included a brief tour of the Alabama State Archives.
      As a starting point for this project, I examined all the boxes of material that are to be archived. The boxes containing written reviews and newspaper articles seemed to outnumber the other items, so I began by sorting these publications. The majority of these texts describe exhibitions the museum presented, however there are a few other pieces of literature that describe the museum in general. Other items I have yet to sort include exhibition catalogs, artist files, and several scrapbooks. These items are all out of order, and sorting them seems like a logical starting point.