I am a senior archives specialist in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. My title usually draws blank stares from people, so I follow it quickly with the analogy that an archivist is like an archeologist who works with paper. That declaration gets nods of understanding and interest.
My official title is reference and research specialist for the Library's Science Reference Section in the Science, Technology and Business Division. Essentially I am a librarian who spends a lot of time online, but also gets to play with books.
While I'm officially the Head of the Science Reference Section, I spend most of my time working with the collections, answering reference requests and creating webcasts, book displays, and bibliographies. I work with text-books, journals, diaries, cookbooks, reminiscences, biographies, magazines, pictures, electronic sources, manuscript materials, microforms, artifacts--everything you might expect to find in a Library. I especially like the 18th and 19th century materials and learning more about the daily lives of our forefathers--their foraging techniques, what they ate, how they cooked and cleaned, what they wore, and how they spent their time.
On May 13, 1900, using stationery of the Wright Cycle Company, Wilbur Wright handwrote a letter to fellow aviation pioneer Octave Chanute of Chicago, Illinois. I love this 5 page letter!
It contains some of the very best human emotions--there is passion, optimism, tenacity, curiosity, and recognition that together we can solve big problems.
In addition to my regular job, I volunteer to work with K-12 students who come to visit our division. During my presentation, I show the students the differences between their neighborhood or school library and a large map research library like the Library of Congress.
Just two short school years ago I began serving as Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress. I came not knowing what to expect, but anticipating a life-changing experience. I am glad to say I was not disappointed.
When I found this image of Uncle Sam and John Bull embracing, I realized I'd found what I was looking for: two bitter enemies who fought a war over the United States of America, coming together as friends and finding common ground.