Posted by: stackedfivehigh | July 30, 2011

That’s the way the cookie crumbles

And by “cookie” I mean “interior wall in the stacks.”

Two weeks ago, we walked in to our two-room office suite (office to the right, stacks to the left – doorway but no door in between) to discover the a/c in the office wasn’t working. It was on, and making delightful grinding noises, but no cooling air was coming out. I logged the temperature and humidity, and put in the call for a tech. Not a great environment for the collection, but unit air conditioners aren’t designed to be on 24/7, and sure enough, it had frozen and was thawed and working the next day.

Then we walked through the stacks to make sure everything was doing well out there, and discovered a delightful pile of plaster on the floor.  The building we’re in was built in the early 1920s – combine that with an intermittent leak in the ceiling that no one can find, and we’re faced with replacing ceiling tiles with some regularity, and watching discoloration and decomposition happen in the walls and ceiling. In this case, one of the ceiling tiles broke under the weight of broken plaster and moisture, depositing large chunks, small chunks, dust, and yuck on the floor. Sadly, there wasn’t much to do for it but to call out a tech who confirmed there’s nothing they can do about it except to pull the broken plaster off the other ceiling tiles and replace water-stained tiles with new ones.

It’s definitely a good lesson on how to deal with environmental concerns in the archives, though.

That became one project to work on, and now that I’ve finally gotten around to formally breaking down all of the internship goals for the summer, my advisor is (im)patiently waiting for me to complete a billion things so he can review them, particularly the exhibit that I want to create. The exhibit is what I spent most of my time on last week. I checked the size available in the case, and reviewed my options. For this doctor, we have his CV and brief work/education bio; a few dozen books; a dozen or so certificates, diplomas and class pictures; and a drawing he did.

I’ve pulled 3 books that I think highlight what made him interesting: a book on venom, a side specialty he developed over the years that eventually made him one of the top specialists in the area; a book on venology, another specialty; and a book on drawing with pen and ink. The latter was one of his hobbies, and something he supported as a tool for doctors to be able to keep more accurate patient records. This is a bit outdated now, but the idea of incorporating photographs into patient files is pretty interesting, I think.

For certificates and pictures, I’ve kept most of the group pictures, because it makes it more personal and is also interesting to see what the house staff of the hospital was wearing 60 years ago, or to see the demographic make-up, and so on. The fancier certificates are also being included. Of course, the one example of his drawing will be included as well.

After I picked out the items to include, I wrote up a brief description to go with them. Tomorrow I’ll be tweaking descriptions, printing them out, and hopefully putting the exhibit in place.

The only thing I really haven’t touched on that’s included in my internship goals is reference work. We haven’t had any reference requests since I’ve gotten there, which is pretty unusual. Hopefully something will come in for me to work on in that venue as well.

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