Apologies for the long silence on this blog.
Here at the Museum of International Folk Art many of us wear multiple hats. I am both the Librarian and Archivist, and sometimes a one-woman moving crew. This May marked a wonderful transition, as our Archives finally graduated into its very own space. The process of finding space in an overcrowded facility, then finding funding for the compact shelving that would make the space useful, took a long while, but we got there in the end. The shelving selected is a Quadra Mobile system, a modular, moveable form of compact storage that is perfect for us, as there’s a chance the Archives will move again in a few years. Shelving was installed in early May, and for the past two weeks I’ve been moving in.
I’m very grateful to our security staff who moved the large flat files and filing cabinet. The records themselves I had to move, in large part because they were coming from three different temporary storage areas, and collections had gotten split up over the years. It was necessary to go bit by bit, checking carefully against an inventory done this winter, to ensure collections went in place in an organized way.
One of the spaces now emptied of archival material is the back room of our Library. It is well on its way to becoming a workroom and processing area, something we have not had at all.
Processing has been done either in my office, or in the public space of the Library. Working in the public area meant our intrepid volunteers had to haul out all their supplies from my office, do their work, and then squirrel everything away again. Now we’ll be able to leave longer term projects staged and ready for work whenever a volunteer can come in. This arrangement also gave us a space for our “study collections,” collections of materials (images, postcards, recordings, books, and more) that are not archival in nature, but don’t really fit in a classic library arrangement either.
When not in use by library volunteers, the workroom will be a quiet space for our curators to do reading and research. They are looking forward to it. Their offices are downstairs, without windows or light, so this will be a welcome change. With a bit of new furniture, this room can also double – or wait, it’s triple by now, isn’t it? – as a small meeting room. The only meeting spaces we have are the break table downstairs, the main Library research tables, and a small table in the Director’s office. It’s not just the people here who wear many hats. The spaces have to multi-task as well.
More regular blogging will resume now that I’ve hung up my mover’s cap and resumed librarianship. Thanks for your patience.