Alice Schreyer

L-10: Special Collections Librarianship

4-8 July 2011

1)    How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)

1: They were OK, nothing positive or negative. 2: Somewhat useful. 3: The journal articles were a little useful for getting into a mindset. The book looks very useful as a reference volume. 4: Very useful. The pre-course readings provided a context for the direction of the course. 5: They set the tone. 6: Very useful. ABC for Collectors in particular opened up a whole new world for me. 7: Very useful in providing a good background. 8: Very helpful in preparing for the course and framing the experience during the ensuing week. 9: Pre-course was a little uneven. I think there were stronger or more interesting readings in the class bibliography that could be chosen. 10: I found them to be very relevant to class discussions and hands-on learning activities. I plan to revisit the readings after the course. 11: Most readings were very helpful to prepare us for class discussions. 12: Useful for review. 13: Very—great introductory material to introduce core concepts, concerns, issues in the field, and set the tone/teach the vocabulary for the week to come. The ARL working paper was the longest/most repetitive/least ground-breaking; Carter was delightful and valuable.

2)    Were the course workbook and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?

1: Workbook is wonderful—it will become an essential reference for me in the future. 2: Very useful. They will be ever more useful when read more closely from my own library. Great resource for me and other staff members at home. 3: The readings booklet will be very useful to refer back to. 4: These will be especially useful references in the future. 5: Yes and yes. My workbook will be referenced often. I am so grateful to AS for putting it together for us. 6: The workbook and its resource list will be extremely useful to me and I know I will refer to them often. 7: Yes. I will share the materials with everyone in the department. It was fabulous to have all the material in one place! 8: Yes, and will prove very helpful at my home institution. 9: Yes! I have many of these resources myself but I was delighted to have them selected and pulled together by an expert in her field. 10: Absolutely. I plan to frequently draw upon the references. 11: Yes. I have marked a number of pages in my workbook for further study. Class was a good beginning and now I am prepared for more in-depth study. 12: The workbook will be a good reference to the topics and discussions we had in class. 13: Yes, useful for guiding discussion and pointing to available resources in class—and even more useful once we've gone home and need a ready reckoner or template for any number of policies/programs/literature on varied subjects.

3)    What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: A large part of it was just talking to colleagues and discussing common interests and concerns. 2: Intellectual level was good. Great discussions and questions. Learned from every aspect of the course since it is a relatively new area for me. 3: The digital and security sections were of the most interest to me. Yes. 4: This was the perfect introduction to the topic ... not too much to overwhelm and not too little so that the intellectual level was not stimulating and thought-provoking. 5: The "best practices" discussed for each aspect of special collections librarianship was what I came here for, and AS did great at hitting all the areas and kept me full tuned in all five days. 6: Greatest relevance: preservation, security, digital content. Yes. 7: The insight of the instructor was and is greatly valuable. Her knowledge base is vast and she [illegible] shared her [illegible] and [illegible] with us. 8: It was very helpful to have the major issues and challenges of special collections librarianship outlined in such a coherent manner. The level of presentation was appropriate especially given the diverse nature of the participants. 9: Information about book publishing and history were very interesting, and I intend to learn more. I also found the exercises to be very worthwhile. Intellectual property discussions are always a favorite of mine. 10: I found all aspects of the course to be of interest. I wanted to gain a better understanding of the profession as a whole. 11: Policies and development ideas. Yes. 12: A great overview of the field of special collections librarianship. Yes. 13: The course is basically a step-by-step introduction to the job description/responsibilities of a special collections professional—it assumes no prior knowledge as such anyone, even with some experience in the field, will learn volumes from its comprehensive approach (and this is exactly what I wanted/needed)—even if for one or two class periods they already know the material.

4)    What did you like best about the course?

1: The instructor was very knowledgeable; setting is great for learning. 2: The lectures and the great class discussion and interactions. Loved the trip to the Small Library and getting to see the wonderful treasures. 3: Getting to meet other professionals from different backgrounds. 4: The very knowledgeable and competent professional that is also a great teacher! 5: I enjoyed the ability to discuss the topics as a group. I also thought having an instructor with such an extensive background as AS's was great because she was an expert, or at least I trust her knowledge. 6: AS is a wonderful and knowledgeable instructor. I appreciated hearing from the other students about their experiences in their institutions. 7: The guest speaker provided a wonderful opportunity to see special collections through the eyes of professionals in the field. 8: The good mixture of presentation and discussion in the classroom. The diversity of experience and backgrounds of my fellow students. 9: The instructor and her deep level of knowledge and experience and her generous spirit. 10: Class discussions and hands-on activities. 11: The participants were from a variety of backgrounds. That was helpful in getting perspective on my own situation. 12: To hear about the varied experiences by those in the class and of the plans of what they would like to do once back at their institutions. 13: Hands-on book interpretation exercises (pre- and post-1800 books); visit to Digital Curation Services and session with head of UVA Special Collections; neatly compartmentalized (yet fluid and interconnected) discussion of all aspects of the profession—didn't assume we knew anything and allowed us to return to what we most wanted to pursue; real-life stories, reactions, experiences from fellow classmates—really invaluable to get multiple perspectives.

5)    Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?

1: Yes. 2: Yes, she did an excellent job. Very knowledgeable and clear. Great at directing discussions. 3: Yes. 4: Yes, AS was so open to class discussion in addition to her presentations. 5: I believe so. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, all of the [illegible] and accepted/apparent documents were included in our course pack. But it is AS's views and experience that gave/brought them purpose and meaning. 8: Yes, I was deeply impressed by AS's experience, knowledge, and willingness to help others improve. 9: Yes, no question about it. 10: Yes, I thought AS was a generous and engaging teacher. 11: Yes. 12: The instructor was extremely generous and candid with her vast knowledge of the library field and very willing to share her experience. 13: Alice was a gem—a clear, cogent explicator; a good moderator of discussions; a gentle, kind interlocutor with years of experience, a realistic world view, and strong opinions but also an optimistic, patient, passionate approach to the profession. It is no surprise that she is a leader in the field and I am grateful to have "learned the ropes" from her this week.

6)    Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn? Y/ N


1-9: Yes. 10: Yes. I feel the course provided a broad overview of special collections librarianship. 11-13: Yes.

7)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N

1-4: Yes. 5: Yes. I am actually walking away with more than I had hoped for. But I was hoping to learn how to use handling materials for the materials. 6: Yes. 7: Yes. And more! 8-10: Yes. 11: Yes. With additional materials to help in the future. 12-13: Yes.

8)    How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?

1: Well, I have my list of things I created during the course, now I have to prioritize them to see what I can accomplish. 3: I now have a much better idea of what is required to run a special collection and good info on digitizing collections. 4: My first (and major focus of the faculty development grant I received) task is to write a collection development policy. 5: Well ... I now feel more secure in my role as a special collections librarian to take action and change some ways we do things and I will use my notes on best practices to guide me. I have created a list of goals and hope to slowly accomplish them. 6: I have a lot of follow-up and prioritizing to do, and then I will be meeting with staff at my library about education and improvements. 7: I will start by sharing the workbook to begin the [illegible] of change. 8: This will require further reflection, but the discussions regarding digitization, outreach, and advocacy for special collections will be of particular importance to my staff and myself. 9: Some of what I've learned will aid in understanding my institution's content. Some of the readings will help to reinforce to my administrators the importance of what I do. 10: Although my background is in the museum field, I feel the knowledge obtained in the course is highly relevant for all professionals charged with the care of special collections. 11: When September comes I hope we can work on policies, procedures, and structure where we are weak now. 12: I have a better understanding of what it means to be a special collections librarian. 13: I intend to enter the profession one day, so this was a perfect introduction to it in advance, and I think the take-home messages, best practices, survival techniques will stand me in good stead whenever I do become a special collections professional, and in whatever capacity.

9)    How could the course have been improved? If you have a suggestion for a new course (and—equally important—a person who could teach it), please contact the RBS Program Director.

4: Very well done ... no suggestions at this time. 5: I wouldn't change the course but I can suggest an archivist who loves to instruct students and has had a great career in archives: Roland Baughman, former archivist for Oberlin College and Kent State MLIS instructor. 6: I was very happy with the course as presented. 7: I don't think it can. 9: Could there be a more advanced, yet general, course, in special collections librarianship? 10: The only suggestion would be more time, but otherwise an excellent course. 11: My first class and I thought all went very well. 12: Hard to say. The pacing was good and perhaps almost all of the aspects of working as a librarian in special collections were covered. Again, great instructor.

10)    If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?

1: Yes—going to both the Small Library and Digitization Services were fantastic field trips. 3: Yes. I especially liked the visit to the digitization department. 4: Absolutely! 5: Yes! Especially the visit to SC and the visit from UVA's SC director. 6: Extremely well spent. Each staff person from the Small Library gave generously of their time and expertise. 7: Oh yes—wonderful to see the SC from a different viewpoint! 8-10: Yes. 11: Yes, it was very informative. 12: Indeed. I think the whole class enjoyed the site visit (both times) to the Small Library. The tours were definitely worthwhile. We also enjoyed our visit by Nicole Bouche. Great insight on how some in the field are "forward thinking" about the role special libraries can play in their institution and the academic world at large. 13: 1.) Digital Curation (B. Daigle)—excellent, thought-provoking. 2.) Reading/Research Services (H. Riser)—sadly cut short due to lack of time, but very interesting. 3.) Collections (G. Riser)—cool, but necessary? Perhaps too long spent here.4.) Director (N. Bouche)—great way to end the week.

11)    We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

4: Special care of materials seemed good. 5: None. 6: No suggestions. 7: We handled [illegible] out of [illegible] but everything was fine. 9: No suggestions needed. 10: I believe the materials were handled according to best accepted practices by all students. 11: Very good. 12: The materials were handled properly and stored. Proper instruction was given as well to the students. 13: No cause for concern—AS was very good about reminding us to wash our hands; foam was used at all times; pencils were on hand, pens verbally discouraged, water bottles banished. The class was very cooperative on these matters.

12)    If you attended the optional evening events (e.g. RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?

1: I didn't attend, but that's because I had made prior arrangements with others I knew professionally at UVA previously. 3: I wasn't very impressed by the first video shown. 4: Video Night was interesting, but not well attended. Booksellers' Night was kind of sparse as far as sellers. 5: I attended the lectures and loved both of them. 6: I enjoyed both lectures. The video wasn't as important. I did not visit the booksellers. 7: Yes, but there should [illegible] book seller for book night. 8: The lectures on the Declaration and Black George were good opportunities to see how what we are learning is applied in the "real world." 10: I very much enjoyed the Monday evening lecture. 11: Lectures were good. 12: I would always suggest attending the lectures. 13: See q. 10 in Section One—the forum didn't quite distinguish itself from the Monday night lecture [illegible] format—is there alternate programming that might be less academic but more viscerally rewarding?

13)    Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?

1: Yes! 4: Absolutely got my money's worth. 5: Yes. I believe my institution made a great investment in me, and our collection, by sending me here. 6: Yes. I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone considering the field or new to the field. I'm sure experienced Special Collection librarians could learn something new. 7: Yes! 8: Absolutely. I will be a better professional because of this experience. 9: Yes, absolutely. 10: Yes. 11: Yes. It was a very good experience all around. 12: I am very pleased. 13: Yes.

14)    Would you recommend this course to others?

1: Yes! 3-4: Yes. 5: Yes. In a heartbeat. 6: Yes! 7: Oh yes! It really goes back to AS—her knowledge and [illegible] is paramount. Should be mandatory for all library science students. 8: Yes. The course is particularly useful for those at the beginning of their careers as well as those who are taking on new responsibilities. 9: Yes, although I would emphasize the introductory nature of the course. 10-12: Yes. 13: Yes, but with some context on what it involves—(less materials handling, more discussion of "at my institution xyz" and more explication/theory/principles than in other RBS "Intro" courses)—and some thought given as to when in one's career it might be best to take it—i.e. when would one benefit most from an "intro"—when one has had at least some experience, or as an absolute newbie?

Number of respondents: 13





Institution gave me leave




I took vacation time




N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off




I am self-employed

Work has nothing to do with RBS course






Institution paid tuition




Institution paid tuition ___%




I paid tuition myself




Exchange or barter




N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship





Institution paid housing




Institution paid for ___% of housing




I paid for my own housing




N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home







Institution paid travel




Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel




N/A: lived nearby









{There were 2 rare book librarians (15%), 3 archivist/manuscript librarians (23%), 3 general librarians with some rare book duties (23%), 1 full-time student working towards an M.L.I.S. (8%), 1 full-time student working towards a Ph.D. (8%), 1 library director (8%), 1 digital collections & digital preservation librarian (8%), 1 curator for a private collection (8%)


Where did you stay?

Brown College: 5

The Lawn: 2

Cavalier Inn: 2

Budget Inn: 1

Hampton Inn & Suites: 1

Other: 2