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Five Questions (The Intern Edition): Nancy Lovas

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nancyWhat is your background?
I’m a recent graduate of Berry College in Rome, Georgia, where I studied economics and minored in history. I grew up in the Metro Atlanta area, and I’ve always loved books, especially historical novels a la Little House in the Big Woods and Anne of Green Gables. In my third year of undergrad, I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, in addition to haunting the museums and countryside, I took my first proper economic history course, which launched my interest in 19th century economic history. When I’m not in school or at work, you may find me curled up with a novel, laughing round a campfire with good friends, cycling up a mountain, or out searching for my next adventure.

How did you learn about the intern program and why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
As many things happen these days, I found the Junior Fellows program on a Google search last year. I’d missed the deadline, but was determined to apply for the next cohort, and here I am! The ‘why’ question can be hard. The short answer is that the Business Reference project seemed to combine several of my great loves: books, economics, history, and libraries. The long answer? For several years, I’ve been considering librarianship as a career, and where else should I explore the library world than at the best one of all. I wanted to gain practical experience, meet people from all over, and learn why they do what they do.

How would you describe your internship?
Absolutely wonderful. I have had such fun hunting through the stacks for materials to include in my finding aid, and I’m really excited that I get to share what I’ve found through that aid. I’ve been meeting and getting to know incredible people, not only other Junior Fellows and interns but also the staff in ST&B. Everyone has stories and unique experiences that they are quick to share. So, while I am learning a great deal about analyzing a collection and interpreting MARC tags, the most amazing part of being here is the people.

Every day or so I encounter wee gems in the periodicals that I have to share with someone who will appreciate it. Several times, I’ve emailed my former professors about articles I read. One day, an article about New England fisheries and treaties with Canada prompted me to recall the economics of fishery management as taught in my environmental economics class. Best of all, though, were the puns I discovered! My favorites (that got shared with friends and my brother the pun master) from The Review include these two:

  • Among the recent arrivals in Philadelphia is a gorilla preserved in alcohol. Although dead the animal is in excellent spirits.
  • Jeems says his boardinghouse keeper is too slow. He told the old lady yesterday that hereafter he’d like to dynamite earlier.

table2What has amazed you the most about the Library?
I’m amazed at the size and scope, the maze of the stacks (especially Jefferson), the utter beauty of the Great Hall, walking out the front door and seeing the Capitol every day, and the privilege of calling this place home even for a short while.

The neatest find was in an 1884 publication called The Shipping World and Herald of Commerce. A four-foot folding map accompanies an article about the history of shipbuilding along the River Clyde in Glasgow. It shows the towns along the Clyde, names the shipbuilding yards, and includes the railways. What makes it special, though, is that I’d lived there and knew the places.

What have you learned about the Library that you didn’t know before you started your internship?
I learned that it is entirely possible to look forward to coming into work. The environment of the Library, and ST&B in particular, is such that I woke up each day eager to make new discoveries, progress on my project, share good conversation with co-workers, and occasionally poke around exploring. I learned that there are many places in the Library for people like me who thrive on learning and sharing what they’ve learned.

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