This is a joint post by Aaron Chaletzky and Gabrielle Alongi.
This past June, the Preservation Services Division (PSD) took on a new Preservation Intern: Gabrielle Alongi. Gabrielle is currently enrolled in the Information Sciences program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She comes to PSD with an interest in digital library and management work, and has been assigned to work with several of our workflows during her tenure here – predominately brittle books, tangible media, foreign newspapers, database management, and contract solicitation. Gabrielle will be with PSD through August of this year. Here’s Gabrielle in her own words:
I’m currently an undergraduate student, and will be applying to MLIS programs in Fall 2024. My internship with PSD has allowed me to get ahead of the curve and gain professional experience in aspects of librarianship that I’ll be learning about once I begin my program.
Gabrielle was eager to learn about all that PSD does and gain some practical experience; so, we didn’t waste any time and put her to work. She immediately began her training by learning how to use PSD’s BC-100 book scanner, the CD RipStations, and the forensic FRED station – as well as how to navigate the division’s impressive database. She also assisted staff in market research for microfilm contract solicitation. Importantly, Gabrielle got to work helping to prep a load of books bound for offsite reformatting, by manifesting the contents and updating the tracking database; she assisted in the transfer of foreign newsprint to the Library’s reformatting vendor, too. Check out what Gabrielle has scanned here:
An important part of PSD’s work is performing quality review of digital objects. Gabrielle has been on-hand for several deliveries of digitized content, so we made sure to give her a heaping helping of QR! Our IT people set her up with an account to log in and perform this work – which she very diligently did. Let’s take a look at some of what Gabrielle reviewed:
The PSD staff thoroughly trained me in using the BC-100 scanner and CD RipStations – and their various editing and review tools. After speaking often with staff in the office who have obtained an MLIS degree, I was able to better understand the value of having hands-on experience with preservation tools going into my program.
I also had the privilege of, once a week throughout my internship, working under Beatriz Haspo in the Collections Management Division (CMD). My main project while working under Beatriz was the Stacks Survey Project. The project’s goal is to collect data on environmental risks, space management, and preservation need for over 20 million General Collection items. My main assignment was to review sign-in sheets, and other related materials, to identify problem sections in need of attention and review. However, I also conducted the survey when necessary.
My time at the Library of Congress was instrumental in allowing me to narrow down my interests as an information professional. This was made possible through my supervisors’ encouragement to tour and explore the library, which was one of my personal favorite aspects of the internship. The hands-on experience gained through working with preservation tools, the knowledge and advice from staff, and my now stronger understanding of the Library of Congress have made this internship an enjoyable and beneficial experience.
Gabrielle was chosen for the Preservation Internship program because she brought a lot to the table in terms of previous experience, interest, and education – and she didn’t disappoint! Gabrielle’s internship is now nearing its end and we can confidently say she has gained a lot of practical experience working in a production setting. After 2-months of solid work, Gabrielle will leave us armed with a portfolio of accomplishments and some practical insight into running a digitization program. Best of luck in the future Gabrielle!