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Portrait of Kaila Brugger standing against a blank wall, with three color shadows behind her
Kaila Brugger was an AHHA intern in the Fall of 2022. Photo courtesy of Kaila Brugger.

AHHA Intern Spotlight: Kaila Brugger

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We regularly feature the interns whose hard work positively impacts the Library. Today’s interview is with a 2022 participant in the Archives, History and Heritage Advanced (AHHA) internship program, Kaila Brugger. The Library is accepting applications until April 24, 2023 for the fall cohort. Read more about the internship and how to apply on the AHHA 2023 internship opportunity page.


Describe your background.

I was born and raised in Illinois near the suburbs of Chicago. I am 22 years old and the eldest sibling, with two younger brothers, two cats, and two dogs. In my free time I like to read, write, go thrifting and antiquing, explore museums, see theater shows, spend time with my friends and family, and travel.


What is your academic/professional history?

I stayed in the midwest to attend Carthage College for my undergrad. My bachelor’s degree is in sociology with a minor in public relations. I have recently begun my master’s program at Rutgers University where my degree will be in information science with a concentration in archives and preservation. Along with this, I split my time working at a local historic site through the park district as a manager, and at a local public library as an adult services associate. My love for the social sciences, history, and public service has driven my passion for libraries, museums, and archives.


How would you describe your job to other people?

If I had one word to describe my internship at the Library of Congress, it would be “discovery.” In the Manuscript Division, I had the opportunity to discover something new every day. The main goal of my project was to bridge the gap between the Library’s physical National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) archives with the digital version on an external website. Doing so would increase accessibility to library materials and assist patrons in their needs when tackling the NAACP archives. Along with this, I had my fair share of time answering reference questions which meant that I got to spend parts of my day doing one of my favorite things: Research!


Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?

Because of my love of research, it had always been a dream of mine to visit the Library of Congress. It wasn’t until I gave it a bit more thought that I realized I could work there. The prospect of working at the Library was exciting; I couldn’t imagine having so much knowledge and history right at my fingertips. Not only this, but to have the opportunity to explore archives important to my African-American heritage and highlight a collection with deep cultural value was something I just had to apply for.


What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Library of Congress?

I learned so much, it was hard to narrow it down, but one fact does take the cake. There is so much human hair in the Manuscript Division! There are so many wonders in the collections, but that one came as a surprise.


What is something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

This is a hard question because I am very chatty and an open book! But, I think my coworkers don’t know that when I was little I wrote a (rightfully unpublished) story that ended with the classic plot twist of “and then she woke up!”


Discover more with Kaila

Watch Kaila describe working with the NAACP physical archival collection as well as subscription databases to bridge the gap between the two and promote the collection’s accessibility in her AH-HA Talk.

Read about Kaila’s exploration of diaries that speak to her from within the Manuscript Division’s holdings in A Deep Dive into Diaries in the Manuscript Division.

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