I’ve Got the Whole World (of Books) in My Hands

Hey everyone! This summer I’m working in the Publishing Office at the Library of Congress. I’m an English major, an avid lover of books, and a student worker at Magill Library so I’m overjoyed by the opportunity to work in the largest library in the world. The Library of Congress has a vast number of collections and I’ve only explored a handful of them so far, but I hope to become acquainted with most, or all, of them by the end of my internship.

I’m currently working on two projects which have provided me with opportunities to observe the publishing process at various stages and work with various writers, editors, photographic researchers, and other individuals devoted to getting these books ready for printing. For the first project, which is a comprehensive book on the Italian-American experience, I’ve been searching for a lot of images for this book, so I’ve been spending much of my time in the Prints and Photographs reading room looking through the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information collection (a highlight of the collections and where Dorothea Lange’s famous “Migrant Mother” photograph is housed) for images of Italian-American daily life in various parts of the United States. The great thing about the Prints and Photographs reading room is that the bulk of their collections are located in the reading room so researchers can freely browse through the images. It’s pretty neat. The other project I’m working on is a book about American Football. I’m researching the role of women, teenage girls, and boys in American Football by looking through periodicals for images, articles, and football-centric fictional narratives. Working on the football book has given me the opportunity to go into the stacks, which have quickly become my new favorite place in the Library.

The stacks don’t look all too different from the stacks in Magill, but the Library of Congress is a closed stacks library so only certain people have access to the stacks. When I go to the Library of Congress to study over breaks, I’ve always been so envious of the people who get to go into the stacks to retrieve books for the patrons, but now I can go into the stacks and get whatever I need. It’s really fun, but also a bit complicated. The stacks are so large and confusing that you need a map to help you navigate them. With that being said, here’s a picture of me in the stacks.¬†As you can see, the aisle I’m in seems to go on forever.

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