This week, I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life Project. I’ll be posting brief comments about what I do in the library (or in library class) each day.
Today, I went in to the downtown Minneapolis Central branch of Hennepin County Libraries where I am a Preservation Department Intern this semester. I started a few weeks ago just after the new year started. I chose this internship because I thought it might be fun to work more directly with books and other library materials. The department fixes the binding of old books, organizes serials to be sent out to commercial binders, makes decisions about brittle books, and deals with a host of other things related to making library materials last longer for public use.
One of my main tasks is to work on a large project to put old piano sheet music from the early twentieth century in polyester sleeves. I use an ultrasonic welder (a Minter encapsulation machine) to create seals on two sides of a pair of polyester (clear plastic) sheets. I then trim the ragged edges off the sheet music and insert them into these sleeves. It’s fun to see the different songs published. Some of the sheet music have illustrations on the covers. There’s an interesting research project there in doing a rhetorical analysis of those covers, considering the different cultural mores of the time period. For instance, I came across a number of songs about “pickaninnies” with illustrations of little black boys. Others have romanticized images of American Indians (“Nakomis” and “Hiawatha”) or exotic images of Japanese women.