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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.