Co-op at Special Collections & Archives

Throughout the years, Special Collections and Archives has seen a large number of co-op students. This semester, it's me!

My name is Eva Lau, and I am a 3A student in Environment and Resource Studies. For the Fall 2015 term, I am working in the basement of Dana Porter Library as a Special Collections Assistant. Just a few days ago, I finished cleaning and organizing photo slides of a beautiful collection of grave markers across Europe. At the moment, I am digitizing and transcribing some very fascinating letters from an Irish family who settled in Canada in the 1840s. Currently, I am at the part where the father unfortunately dies... from being crushed by a wheel.

Even my more "mundane" tasks, which include scanning and pulling out requested material from the rare book and archive stacks, is fun. Before I began my position here, the department seemed like the X Files - cool (both figuratively and literally - the stacks are temperature controlled), but ultimately inaccessible. I learned though, that almost everything we have can be personally handled and touched by the patron, like a way better version of a museum. More often than not, I find myself not only retrieving material, but looking through it, and pop quizzing the extremely kind and knowledgeable staff about its acquisition, history, or significance.

As of this point, I really like what I do, and I can only imagine it getting better as I get to work on more and more projects!

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