This post is contributed by Student Archivist Connor Lambert, a senior studying history and education.
As a senior with two majors, one in education and one in history, I have managed to keep myself busy these last four years. My dream is to become a secondary school educator. This aspiration began with my mother, who teaches first grade. I always felt proud to tell others that my mom was a teacher, but I wanted to be a biologist. When I was a junior in high school, my thoughts officially turned to teaching because of my outstanding history teacher. His class felt like I was sitting though a movie because the stories that he was telling were so exciting. I had never been so interested in a class. He is the main reason that I want to be a teacher. Once I begin to teach, my goal is to teach history in a way that brings entertainment to students. I want to be able to create an engaging class that can ignite a love for the stories that created the world we live in. This upcoming September I will have the chance to put my plans into action when my student teaching year begins. In order to help fund my student teaching experience, I needed a job. I was lucky to finally find a position that allowed me to experience history firsthand.
Over the last few weeks I have been tasked with shifting all the collections over a few spaces in order to create more room for future expansion. My task involved a lot of loading books onto a delightfully teal cart, moving them a few aisles over, and putting them back onto a shelf. As tedious as this may sound, it was in reality one of the most interesting tasks that I have ever had. As someone who is interested in history and books, I find the sheer number of items within the archive amazing. More amazing than that is the age of many of them. I was moving and touching books that were published before the Civil War, and even many from before the Revolutionary War. The amount of history there is magical. Some items there make me question why things are ever even published. For example, books that are three feet tall and weigh fifty pounds. I cannot see any reasonable person deciding to go to the bookstore and picking themselves up a copy. On the other side of those odd few books, there was a plethora of old scientific journals that were full of hand drawn plants and animals. Looking through these was by far my favorite part of the shift. It is one thing looking at these images on a computer screen, it is completely different to be feeling the age of the books in your hands while seeing what lays within.
The biggest takeaway from this project is that there is so much more within these archives than I ever thought. It feels as if the archive contains something that relates to any topic you can imagine.
Looking toward the future, I hope to be able to use the sources in SCARC, or any other archive to bring excitement into a classroom. Much like with the old science journals, holding the item in your hands is a much more interesting experience than just talking about them and looking at pictures. If I am ever able to teach a class that has the opportunity to explore the many items within an archive I will undoubtedly take them there. I feel that it is a way to get interested in history. It allows for you to physically hold history, and that is why, although I was just moving books, it has been one of the coolest experiences I have had.