By Alex Trim
I began working at Thomas Cooper Library as an undergrad. It wasn’t my intention to become a librarian; I was a history major who thought I would continue on that path and become a professor, even though the idea of teaching in front of a classroom full of students made me a little nauseous. I love history, still hope to get my masters in one day, I just also happen to love working in libraries as well.
I started working in the Government Information and Maps Department. Not sure what that is? Neither was I before I started working there. The Government Information and Maps Department collects and provides access to federal government publications (not classified documents). I enjoyed working there, in large part because my boss, William Sudduth, gave me every opportunity to try new things. I started with re-shelving materials and worked my way up to the reference desk. I found being able to help others with and through the research process to be very rewarding. I enjoy doing research, I would have to with a degree in history and library science, so to be able to help students get started and feel a little more confident about doing their own research was something I could see myself doing professionally.
I continued to work in Government Information and Maps after I started graduate school. It was during my second semester that I began work on a digital collections project for Mr. Sudduth. He asked me to digitize Education Pamphlets for the department. I was little hesitant about working in Digital Collections at first because I was never what you would call particularly tech savvy, however my fears were unfounded. I loved what I was doing, and was thankfully able to continue doing it when Digital Collections hired me on as a part-time employee after I graduated. I like the idea of being able to make materials more accessible to students, and digital collections plays a key role in that process.
After being hired, I began work on the Historic Southern Naturalist Collection; a project focused on the papers of Thomas Cooper and Andrew Charles Moore. It was my job to digitize Moore’s papers. Andrew Charles Moore served as the President of the University of South Carolina for a brief period and the A. C. Moore Herbarium on campus is named for him. After completing this project, I took over the American Revolution in South Carolina Collection, which resides at the South Caroliniana Library.
The American Revolution in South Carolina Collection, which will be coming soon digitally, features papers from Henry Laurens, William Moultrie, Francis Marion, and Thomas Sumter, all of which were prominent figures from South Carolina during the American Revolution. When I took over the project, the Sumter and Marion papers had already been digitized and published, and the metadata for the Laurens papers had been mostly completed. I began work on finishing the metadata and adding in the transcripts for the Henry Laurens papers, which I am happy to say I completed just recently.
I will talk more about the American Revolution in South Carolina Collection and Henry Laurens in my next post!