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Wayne State University

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May 17 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at the Maryland State Archives

By Emily Perdue, MLIS Student

During spring break this year, I had the opportunity to participate in Alternative Spring Break, a week long project (similar to an internship) to learn more about the library science field. I was lucky enough to spend my week at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, MD, not far from my home town. I spent a lot of time in Annapolis growing up and was thrilled to go back for the week. A little background on the Maryland State Archives – the State Archives serves as the central depository for government records and its holdings date back to Maryland’s founding in 1634. The holdings include colonial and state executive, legislative and judicial records; county probate, land, and court records; church records; business records; state publications and reports; and special collections of private papers, maps, photographs, and newspapers.

When I first entered the Maryland State Archives, I was greeted by Emily Squires, a staff member at the Archives, and we began our tour of the facility. The main space of the archives is completely open and breath-taking as you walk in. The ceilings are huge above and a map of the state of Maryland can be seen covering the main wall to the top of the building just past the front door. Emily then took me on a behind-the-scenes tour of what goes on and where I would be working for the week. I then met my supervisor for the week, Corey Lewis and began going over what his department does and what I would be working on for the week. Corey works in the imaging department as the Imaging Specialist.

After a second tour of the Imaging department with Corey, and meeting the wonderful staff, I began to work on my project for the week. Not long before I joined the staff of the MSA for the week, they had begun reprocessing various collections that had been scanned over the last few years. While this is a long-term project, I was able to help alleviate some of the stress and continue working on some of the images for the week. I reprocessed various images through Photoshop to ensure that they could be uploaded to a digital repository and look as crisp and clean as possible for references. Overall, the entire trip was an amazing experience that I was extremely lucky to have. The staff members at the Maryland State Archives were so warm and welcoming and made the week absolutely fantastic.

May 15 / Matthew Fredericks

Summer Internship: Interlochen Center for the Arts – Academic Library Intern

Interlochen Center for the Arts is looking to hire an Academic Library Intern for the 2017 camp season. The dates of the contract are 6/12/17-8/7/17 and the stipend for the entire duration of the contract is $1,525. Housing is provided for the dates contracted. All meals are included with your agreement- breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Major Responsibilities

This is a great internship opportunity for someone interested in librarianship as a career. This position serves the needs of the Interlochen Arts Camp by helping to provide campers, faculty, and staff with resources to support their arts specialty and personal interests while on campus.

  • Duties include circulation, shelving, book processing, and implementing summer programs.
  • This position also requires the ability to assist library patrons of various ages and interests with finding information by utilizing a variety of databases and the catalog.
  • Other responsibilities may include summer projects ranging from collections management to work on the library website.


  • Applicants currently in an MLS program are preferred.
  • Applicants must possess excellent customer service skills, proficiency with technology, attentiveness to detail, and a willingness to participate in a team environment.
  • Experience with Mac OS and applications is desirable.

Required documents for application are: cover letter/letter of interest, resume and a current listing of three references. You can upload these documents during the submission of the application process by selecting “Apply and continue to upload documents” button. Please upload your documents in a pdf format.

Under Current Employment Opportunities

Beth Gourley
Director of Libraries
Interlochen Center for the Arts

P: 231.276.7495

May 15 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break – Lantern Slide Stabilization at Archives II

By Mattie Dugan, MLIS Student

Figure 1: National Archives building on the first day.

On March 13, I woke up bright and early in the new-to-me city of Washington DC. A short Metro ride later, I stood outside the National Archives for the first time (and, yes, I was that tourist snapping photos). Through the rear entrance were seven other interns from Wayne and around the country. We went through security, which I would get very used to through the week, and were led to the office of the Archivist of the United States.

My first visit to the National Archives building was incredible. Our small group talked with the Archivist of the United States, asking questions and answering them. The Assistant to the AOTUS, an effervescent and enigmatic man, led us on a private tour of the Archives. I’ll never forget being one of only nine people in a room with the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

That afternoon, we arrived at what would be our workplace for the next week, Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Brittany Forth, another intern from Wayne, and I received training in NARA’s handling procedures. The knowledge from this experience alone has already proven incredibly valuable in my work and studies.

The rest of the week, Brittany and I worked in the conservation lab, under the supervision of Sara Shpargle and Lauren Varga, rehousing glass lantern slides that

Alternative Spring Break Participants and the Archivist of the United States

were used to train the Army Air Force from 1903 to 1927. We moved the slides from their cramped boxes to more appropriate boxes, putting those that were cracked in Mylar sleeves. The small boxes, combined with previous handling, had resulted in many of the slides becoming cracked or unstable, but the new boxes and sleeves will mitigate further damage. As we worked, Sara, Lauren and other conservators working in the lab stopped by our station to chat with us about their responsibilities and how we might pursue similar careers.

Figure 3: My work station in the conservation lab at Archives II

Sara and Lauren were wonderful mentors. They encouraged questions, took images of slides we found interesting, organized special tours for us and even helped us plan our visit to the Library of Congress. We toured the photographic archives, where we saw original photographs of Abraham Lincoln and Ansel Adams’ prints. As someone who is particularly interested in conservation, I was ecstatic when Sara allowed us to help in conservation treatment of one of the slides!

My time at NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) was invaluable. I’ve never learned so much in a single week! It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people working in my field and to see how one of the largest archives in the world operates. It was a privilege to be part of this program and you can bet I’ll be applying again next year!

Figure 4: A rehoused slide from RG 018 Army Air Forces, lantern slides of aviation history, ca. 1903-1927, box 41

May 13 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

By Lori Eaton, MLIS Student

A Collection Created by the People

Dip your hand into a box of condolence mail held in the archives at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and you’ll see grief expressed in many forms. Perhaps it was President Kennedy’s youth or the violent and very public way he died that triggered the outpouring of mail. Through the National Archives and Records Administration Alternate Spring Break program, I was honored to spend a week sorting, alphabetizing, foldering, and boxing some of the thousands of pieces of mail that represent the sorrow of a nation at a particular moment in our history.

People were moved to pay tribute in whatever way they could. Local and state governments made resolutions, renamed streets and schools, and gathered contributions for the memorial fund that would eventually support the presidential library where their own letters are now held. People sent poems, songs, drawings, mass cards, even sticks of gum. Letters came with photos attached – school portraits, pictures of local memorial services, and even photos of the sender’s television broadcasting the funeral procession.

Though letters from world leaders (Winston Churchill) and public figures (Vivian Leigh and Bing Crosby) are impressive to view, it is the personal way ordinary Americans offered condolences that I found most poignant. There was a letter from a young American serviceman stationed in Germany who witnessed the tragedy through the eyes of another nation. He wrote about attending a memorial gathering where people held signs that read, “Ich bin ein Berliner” referencing President Kennedy’s historic speech in that city in June 1963. Another letter, from someone with the last name Oswald, expressed how he felt “an inward cringing, a feeling somehow, of additional guilt” at the name he shared with the man accused of killing the president.

The most frequent requests for access to the Condolence Mail Collection has been from people asking about a letter they or someone they knew sent to the Kennedy family. The way the collection was originally processed made it virtually impossible to locate an individual letter based on the name of the sender. In 2015, the archives staff made it a priority to reprocess the collection and make it more accessible to the public. By the time Alternate Spring Break 2017 concluded, the interns and staff had completed processing for all Series 1, Domestic Condolence Mail through the letter P. Jenny Marciello, the project archivist, hopes that by the end of 2017 both Series 1 and Series 2, Foreign Condolence Mail will be more readily accessible to researchers.

The condolence collection contains the best and worst of us as citizens. It documents the mood and concerns of a nation in a time of fear and upheaval. It is not a collection of papers created by one president or even one administration. It is a collection created by the people, as in “We, the People of the United States of America.” I am proud to have played a small part in returning it to them.

SLIS Student Lori Eaton

May 10 / Matthew Fredericks

Alternative Spring Break 2017 – The Benson Ford Research Center

By Mark Prindiville, MLIS student

SLIS students Xander Geisser, Dereck Cram, Mark Prindiville and Laura Kennedy (from left).

For my Alternative Spring Break internship, I was selected to work amongst the Benson Ford Research Center’s finest information professionals. The project was advertised as an volunteering opportunity to work with the Watts Campbell Company record collection and to take an inventory of what may be housed within the boxes. Our team of four volunteers were tasked to record box and volume contents, with the goal of creating a box-level inventory for the collection in the mode of MPLP and extensible processing.

Housed among the stacks of the Benson Ford Research Center was a collection of corporate records that seemed like an endless span of storage boxes, filled with unadulterated history of the Watts Campbell Company. The volunteer team from Wayne State’s School of Library & Information Science, consisting of Laura Kennedy, Dereck Cram, Xander Geisser, and myself, were tasked with obtaining as much information as they could about the 500+ box collection. After becoming acquainted with the stacks and with the research center itself, we promptly began work on finding information that could help organize the collection in terms of series and the date range of the material that they were working with. One employee informed the group that fax records dated as late as 2004 were found, which heavily differed from the correspondence from the mid 1800s I stumbled upon.

Among the records contained several series the Benson categorized ahead of time, including Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence, Invoices, and Shop Orders, just to name a few. Numerous boxes were filled with letters to and from Watts Campbell, including a plethora of documents containing beautiful letter headings from companies no longer known to the naked eye. Occasionally, the team would stumble across materials with some humor, including back-and-forths between Watts and clientele, or curious purchases from family members of Watts Campbell. Other times the team would stumble into well-known history, including letters from Thomas Edison himself, or inquiries into draft exemptions.

In short, my experience working with the staff and fellow volunteers at the Benson was, I would argue, a success. I was able to obtain experience in working not only at a well-known institution for a week, but also with a rather sizable collection. I am very grateful for the experience and for learning so much about the work done at the Benson Research Center at the Henry Ford.

May 8 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum

By Nathaniel Arndts, MLIS Student

SLIS Student Nathaniel Arndts

Though short, my experience at the Ford Presidential Library was both illuminating and constructive. My fellow interns and I gained a thorough overview of the functions of the Presidential Library System while seizing an opportunity to hone the skills learned from classroom study.

Putting aside the excitement of handling letters and documents once in the hands of congressional and White House staffers, the actual processing of records was thrilling in and of itself. Despite the pressure of having to go through as many letters as possible, I felt I had to slow down to review them for their historical value. If it were not for this close examination of the details, I would not have noticed several amazing finds. In one letter, the writer claimed to be First Lady Betty Ford’s high school classmate. The processing archivist and I did a little digging and were able to verify that this writer was who she said she was. To me, this demonstrated that a document scanned quickly and in a cursory manner can lead to a piece of history left behind in obscurity.

For every day at the Ford Library, our group was able to have an in-depth discussion with the staff on the day-to-day and big picture functions of this institution. Not only did the staff inform us on how this one archive operates, but also the workings of the entire Presidential Library System. It was a novel concept for me to think of an individual archive as part of an expansive network operating under a uniform policy. I may have been interning at one archive, but I felt I was contributing to the mission and goals of an extensive organization that serves such a large public. I certainly will entertain any future opportunities of employment in a presidential library.

Just one week at the Ford Library provided me with so much insight and experience into the profession of my aspirations.

May 5 / Christine Illichmann

Dr. Kafi Kumasi Presents 2017 Gryphon Lecture

On April 28, SLIS faculty member Dr. Kafi Kumasi delivered the 2017 Gryphon Lecture at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. Her lecture, entitled “Check the Rhyme: Harnessing Hip Hop’s Enduring Literacies with Teens Through Libraries”, focused on “…the enduring literacies of Hip Hop that teachers and librarians can use to honor students’  knowledge and social justice concerns in the learning process.” (

The Gryphon Lecture is presented each Spring at the iSchool at Illinois and is sponsored by the school’s Center for Children’s Books. The lecture series features leading scholars in the field of youth and literature, media, and culture.

Dr. Kumasi’s lecture can be watched in its entirety by clicking the image below or by clicking here.

Dr. Kumasi is a research fellow at the iSchool at Illinois for the 2016-2018 academic years. At the conclusion of her fellowship, she will return to the School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University where she teaches courses related to school library media, urban librarianship, multicultural services and resources and research methods.

More information on the Gryphon Lecture:

Gryphon Lecture Announcement Featuring Dr. Kumasi:

Screenshot from original video by the iSchool at the University of Illinois.

May 4 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

By Alexandrea Penn, MLIS student

For my Alternate Spring Break project, I went to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to work on the Condolence Mail Project. The title Condolence Mail Project implies that it is a collection of the letters, cards, and other items received after the death of President Kennedy; however, the collection also includes letters that are unrelated to his death, birthday cards for John Jr. and Caroline, Valentine’s Day cards, St. Patrick’s Day cards, Christmas cards and other items.

After the death of Kennedy, millions of letters poured in. Letters continued to poor in for months afterwards. In January of 1964, Jackie Kennedy made a TV announcement, with Bobby and Teddy Kennedy, regarding the letters. She announced that all letters would be responded to. The link to the video is below.

Within the video, Mrs. Kennedy announces that all letters will be saved and housed at the library being built in her husband’s honor in Boston. She goes on to promise that all the items will be kept at the Kennedy Library as a reminder to future generations of how much her husband meant, and great sadness his death created.

Unfortunately, sometime in the 1970s the collection was sampled. Either by random sampling, or by looking through the entire collection and then determining what was going to be of value in the future. As a result of their sampling efforts, 90% of the original collection was gotten rid of. No record remains as to what the sampling plan was so there is no ability for the current archives staff to determine what was saved and what was not.

By removing random items from the collection, it created an additional strain on not only the processing staff but also the reference staff. What do you do if you no longer have a certain item and a patron knows their family sent in a letter? Further, how do you explain that despite Mrs. Kennedy’s assurances that every item would be kept, every item was not in fact kept?

Overall, the project involved processing, rehousing and a lot of sorting and resorting. We removed letters from storage size boxes to folders arranged in alphabetical order placed in manuscript boxes. The process looked like the two images to the left.

It was a large effort to sort so many letters. I enjoyed being able to read them. As Mrs. Kennedy said, they are a great representation of the love that the country felt for President Kennedy and do a wonderful job of showing that love, even though it is decades afterwards.

Working at the Kennedy Library for the week was a fantastic opportunity. I was able to work with professional archivists on a project that is both interesting and important to American history. As a graduate student in both the MLIS program and the History program, I was taking classroom archival work and my history knowledge to work on a project. Being able to contribute something to a large and prestigious institution as the Kennedy Library helped me as a student realize anything.

May 2 / Christine Illichmann

Building the ship while sailing it: Evolving workflows at WSUL Digital Collections

by Lori Eaton, NDSA Communications Officer

From images of the first human-to-human heart transplant performed in the United States to photographs taken for the Detroit News between 1860 and 1980, the Wayne State University Libraries Digital Collections is a treasure trove of digital images, texts, and audio-visual materials. At present the 47,000 items in the collection amount to about three terabytes of data, but Graham Hukill, Cole Hudson, Amelia Mowry and others working in concert with staff at the Walter P. Reuther Library and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) expect that to grow to twenty terabytes in the near future.

As the WSUL Digital Collections team anticipates ingesting new digital files from both the Reuther Library and the DPLA, they are looking for new ways to better manage the process and to meet the standards required of a trustworthy digital repository. Not satisfied with the existing solutions, Hukill and company have been testing new workflows and processes. He described where the team began and where they are headed in a candid presentation to the student chapter of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance at WSU School of Library and Information Science on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

In the presentation, Hukill outlined the multistep process required to move an object described in ArchiveSpace through digitization, file preservation, translation to searchable formats, and finally into a user-friendly interface. The team has struggled with how to define content models for different kinds of digital files and with how to represent the relationships between digital files and collections to end users.

For a more complete picture of the processes the team explored, the problems they’ve encountered and the progress they’ve made, please view the full presentation at:

Learn more about the Wayne State Chapter of NDSA at

May 1 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break – At the Benson Ford Research Center

By Laura Kennedy, MLIS student

SLIS student Laura Kennedy (right)

I had the opportunity to join three other students at the Benson Ford Research Center at the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan over spring break this year. Our assignment was to do preliminary processing of a collection they have had since 2009 and have not had time to process yet. The collection consists of over 200 boxes of material from the Watts-Campbell Company in Newark, New Jersey. Watts-Campbell was established in the mid-1800s and was in business until the early 2000s. In the early days of the company they made the large steam engines necessary to run many factories at the time. Later, once steam gave way to other technologies, they became a job shop and provided repair and installation services. Our job at the Henry Ford involved going through the company’s records, including incoming and outgoing correspondence, invoices, ledgers, and other business records. It was dirty work, but rewarding in so many ways. We saw correspondence from Thomas Edison and his company, as well as some very interesting letterhead. While were unable to process all the boxes of the collection, we were able to put a dent in it and, hopefully, helped the Henry Ford staff move a step closer to having the whole collection processed.

In addition to the work we did at the Benson Ford Research Center, other highlights included getting to tour the stacks (including seeing Henry Ford’s original driver’s license), seeing the paper and textile conservation labs, and getting to tour the museum during breaks.