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June 25, 2012 / bethan

Honest tips for wannabe archivists & SAA spontaneous scholarships

Kate Theimer over at ArchivesNext has posted a great set of (crowd sourced) honest tips for wannabe archivists, which are just as relevant for those starting out in libraries, archives, or special collections.

Some of my favourites (but make sure you go read the whole lot!):

If you love books/old stuff, collect them. If you love helping people have access to information, become a librarian/archivist.

Be willing to do whatever job is needed, even if it isn’t what you planned on when you went to/graduated from grad school.

You have to love learning, experimentation and failure. Or at least have made your peace with them.

Willingly take on new tasks in which you don’t have experience; it’s good prep for a constantly evolving profession/world.

Don’t be afraid to look at the unconventional. Not all jobs are found in more traditional places. Expand your comfort zone.

Be creative and be a creator. Approach your work as a craft to be learned and honed.

You have to love the future as much or more than the past. Absent that, drink beer and get a tattoo.

The hardest part is articulating archival science to stakeholders using similar-sounding words w/ totally different meanings.

You have to like talking about your collections, why they and your professional skills matter to anyone who will listen.

Above all, remember that the professionals you meet generally have a lot of expertise which they are happy to share with you.  Never miss out on an opportunity to demonstrate to them how much you value their knowledge and willingness to share their experiences with you.

A great way to get to know what a profession or specialism involves is to attend conferences. Kate is running spontaneous sponsorships to help people attend the SAA Annual Meeting in San Diego. This is a great way to show your support for others’ professional development, and donations of any size are very welcome! At last count, the campaign had raised $3,412.01 towards helping people attend SAA.

See the website for details of how to donate, how to apply for a scholarship, and how the money will be used. (Although the official closing date is 30th June, Kate has confirmed that she will accept donations past this date.)


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