By Vicki Denby, Manuscript End Processor, Technical Services Department, Houghton Library
This past spring, Houghton Library Technical Services had the superluminous pleasure of working with Zoe Padilla, a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS). This is the seventh consecutive year we been able to hire a paid intern from CRLS to learn about our work by helping end-process our collections.
Through the School-to-Work (STW) program, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) coordinates with the Cambridge Office of Workforce Development, Harvard schools/departments, and CRLS to provide job training and learning opportunities for high school students. Joie Gelband of HUCTW helps select students to work in departments for three afternoons a week as paid interns. Each student has an HUCTW member as a supervisor the student an overview of the work and specific assignments. They explain how the student’s work fits into the mission of the department, and check in regularly with updates and feedback.
Joie informed us that Zoe loves libraries! In summer 2019 she worked at the Cambridge Community Center on a project called Our Riverside. Her team researched the year 1929 in Cambridge and Zoe spent a lot of time in the archive room at her local library. She also spent an academic year working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) as part of the Science Research Mentoring Program. The poster pictured below, with Zoe in the upper right, is the result of her project there.
At Houghton, Zoe put in her fair share of barcoding, foldering and labeling boxed manuscript collections, many of which were being sent to the Harvard Depository from Houghton’s Harvard Theatre Collection. But Zoe was skilled in computer science, so she also helped us update catalog records and problem solve.
Here are some of the more unusual images from the collections she worked on:
Because of the pandemic, we were not able to get an onsite photo of Zoe, nor some of the Arabic codex manuscripts in which she was interested. She was about to choose one of them to study when we had to close up. I hope she can return someday to do that. Zoe evidenced a deep curiosity about many things while she was here. We expect her experience at Houghton broadened that, and added another dimension to her research approach as she moves beyond high school. We hope, too, that it might have strengthened her nascent inclination to pursue library science in the future.