This past winter my Dad came to visit. As we drove around Halifax, he pointed to the Nova Scotia Archives and asked if he’d have to visit me at work there one day. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I do recall laughing at how absurd and far off that seemed. But this past summer I received an email about a possible internship at the archives. After a phone interview and multiple emails, I was packing my car to head back to Halifax and suddenly my Dad’s simple question from months before wasn’t as silly as it had once seemed.
Located at the corner of University and Robie, the Nova Scotia Archives has been a fixture in my life at Dalhousie. I was initially introduced to the archives in a first year seminar course called Raiders of the Lost Archives. As part of the course the class took a tour of the archives and we were required to work with archival materials in our final papers. It was at this point that I fell in love with using archival materials. As I had spent time on the research floor for class, I went into the internship with a general understanding of how the public side of the archives worked. This internship let me expand my knowledge to include other parts of the archives, and specifically gave me a greater appreciation for the library collection.
I began work in July as the Archival Library Services Intern under a Young Canada Works grant. The project, which had begun several months earlier, was to create a unified electronic listing of all materials in the Nova Scotia Archives Special Library. This particular library began in the 1930s to support the Nova Scotia Archives' archival holdings and has continued to grow annually since that time. My project was the foundation for the next phase of library rationalization set to start in the fall. So achieving the goal of a complete listing of the approximately 50,000-item library by the end of my project was very important. While most of my time was spent on the library project, I was also trained to work at the research floor’s retrieval desk. In this position I developed practical skills and a greater appreciation for all of the work done to assist researchers. Between over-the-phone and in-person interactions, I was astounded by how helpful and knowledgeable everyone is. These aspects extended to the work I was doing because everyone at the archives was willing to take the time to answer any questions. This helped me to better understand the archives as a whole and to see what archivists do on a daily basis.
Although it seemed like a distant possibility this past winter, my internship allowed me to see what it would be like to work at the Nova Scotia Archives. It was a fantastic experience that let me extend my classroom studies into the real world and develop valuable skills. Most importantly, I was given the opportunity to really think about the possibilities for my future.