Sunday, 2 June 2013

Week 49: Look what I can DO!

In my 37th week at the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, I presented my work to the Collection Advisory Board and the museum’s Board of Directors.

I have had four meetings with the Collections Advisory Board of the museum this year and I am thoroughly satisfied with the symbiotic relationship that we have established. When I speak at The University of Chicago in a couple of weeks, I will be sharing the importance of having a strong group of diverse professionals giving advice on the direction of our work. It was the Collections Advisory Board who recommended that we focus exclusively on Dr. Clayton’s collection before moving on to any other materials. I was proud to share that I had completed an exhaustive finding aid for Dr. Clayton’s collection. This 14 page document sparked an idea for a researcher’s symposium to be sponsored by the Advisory Board in September. The event would showcase Dr. Clayton’s collection, let researcher’s know that we are open and begin a new focus on scholarship in the museum. I’m not sure what my role with this group will be in the future but I am proud that I could be the impetus for the discussions and the recommendations that will move the museum forward.

On Sunday, Larry asked me to present at the monthly Board of Director’s meeting. I knew that their evaluation of me would carry a lot of weight when they were allocating money for my continued employment at the museum, so I was a little nervous. Then I remembered that I had worked very hard on my projects and if they could not see the value in what I had done, I probably should not be working there at all. I was one of their last agenda items, and I came in with my handouts and list of talking points. I shared that I was going to be presenting on this information in a few weeks and would love their feedback at the end of my remarks. I started off talking about my work on the duplicate book project (from the general collection), and how it generated the inventory (1145 books) for our upcoming book sales and the permanent bookstore within the museum. I also discussed the 119 duplicate books that we had pulled from the rare book collection, which we were shopping around to auction houses. I gave a brief overview of the Audio Assault exhibit and how well it has been received by the visitors to the museum. I also shared how I designed the Roses and Revolutions Listening Party as a complement to the exhibit, and what I learned from planning a public program at MCLM.

When it came to my work on the collections, I identified seven challenges that I encountered and how we managed to deal with them. One of the highlights was the establishment of an accession chart, so that we would know when everything was received, how big it was, and prioritize collections for processing. I also discussed my drive to move collection processing toward the industry standard in order for inclusion on the Online Archive of California. I used the Dr. Mayme A. Clayton Collection of African American History and Culture finding aid as an example of what we should generate for every collection that we have identified, thirty nine in total. I felt like I was talking too fast because I thought they were all ready to get out of that long meeting. I did get some positive feedback from some of the members of the board and several followed up with me after the meeting to discuss what my plans were for after the fellowship. Overall, it was a good exercise for me to showcase the leadership, execution, and work ethic that I exhibited in my time at the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum. 

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