Day 6: Reference

I started out the day observing the Collections Department intake/cataloging process, once again. This time, the counter was stacked two feet high and 10 ft long. Big day for acquisitions and donations! I met Michelle, who is the intern with whom I will be doing a project at the beginning of next week. Then, Brandon took me downstairs to meet Brittany Chapman; one of the main reference librarians and consultants. We discussed my schedule for the week and she introduced me around the department to all of these amazing people who have special knowledge about different areas of the collection and help scholars, historians, and authors access sources in their field.

Next, Brittany dropped me off at the lobby so that I could take a tour. Here is what this amazing lobby looks like.

CHL lobby

Entrance and lobby of the Church History Library.

We toured the reference room and then we went to the basement theater to watch an introductory movie about the Library.

Next, Brittany wanted me to pick a research topic and enter the reference room as a patron so that I could experience the catalog and the reading room process as a patron. Such a brilliant idea. I researched a favorite topic of mine, Mormon Island,  and found 5 sources that were all from the closed stacks. If you haven’t tried a digital microfilm reader, you NEED to. They are amazing! Here is what the main reading room looks like.

CHL reference room

Patrons using the card catalog computers. The open stacks are back and to the right. Large reading tables are to the left.

After a long, lunchtime walk, I did more research until Brittany took me on her own tour of the open stacks. This time, from a librarian’s perspective. She showed me which volumes, series, and journals would help me answer patron requests. Next, fulfilled a 2.5 hour shift at the reference desk so I could learn all of the processes, like patron registration, placing orders for closed stack items, locker use, and catalog searching with the staff software. Uh, ten more lessons please, and I think I’ll have it! To prove that I actually worked the desk and to prove that my friend Kathy came to visit me today, the following is a picture of me at the desk that Kathy actually took.

Reference Desk

Kari at the reference desk. Actually, I am waiting for my trainer to come back after leaving me all alone!

One of the projects I will be working on this week is updating a bibliography of archival sources about women. It was last published in 1976 and there are many entries to add.

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