Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wes-Del High School Student Job Shadows Ball State University Libraries’ Archivists

There was a “shadow” in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections on November 5, 2008.

Delaware County’s Wes-Del High School senior Sadie J. Ritchie “job shadowed” the unit’s personnel to learn what kinds of activities they do as archivists. Wes-Del High, School has a Job Shadow Program where students spend a day observing personnel carrying out the duties and responsibilities of a job of their choice by following a practitioner throughout his/her work day. It gives the observer the opportunity to learn up-close and personally about a career they may be considering.

Sadie contacted Archives and Special Collections because of her interest in history and possibly pursuing a career in archival work. In selecting the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections, she said, “I was looking for a place where I could get a good experience to help me decide on my future career.”

Sadie is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, has participated in 4-H for 10 years, and has been on the A-B Honor Roll at Wes-Del for the past four years. She has been very involved in the U. S. Civil War community, traveling in Indiana and Virginia to speak at different organizations, including the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and multiple Civil War Roundtables.

During her day in Archives and Special Collections, Sadie had the opportunity to spend time individually with archivists John B. Straw, Maren L. Read, Carolyn F. Runyon, and with staff member Lajmar D. Anderson to ask them each about their jobs.

Sadie said she gained insight into the management and administration of the unit, the collections, services, and the education and training needed to become an archivist. Sadie also had the opportunity for some hands-on experience by processing a small collection, shadowing an archivist providing reference assistance, assisting with the creation of an exhibit, and transcribing oral histories for digitization.

In participating in shadowing programs of this type, Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, said that our objective is for the student to “… walk away from the experience with his/her eyes opened concerning a career of interest.” We were pleased to provide this educational opportunity for a possible future archivist.

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