Against all odds, I seem to have landed myself an archives job. Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve been pulling up my roots in Boston and finding a new place to live, leasing a car, packing, and moving. As an information professional to my very bones, I managed this with a spreadsheet, of course. I’m still in New England, but a bit farther south in Rhode Island, and will be a lone arranger.
When I was little I hated moving — we only did it once, and stayed in the same town, but as a particularly dramatic child I was attached to places and couldn’t imagine leaving my room, the huge pine tree in the back yard, or our big shed. Since college graduation, I have moved twelve times, and I’m not getting any better at it. My new apartment is starting to feel like home already though, and since I’ve left The Hub I have a lot more space to spread out and relax.
Simplifying (a more elegant phrase than “decluttering and throwing out crap I don’t need) is always harder as an archivist, because you wonder if you’re inadvertently destroying a critical part of your personal documentary history. Reorganizing my books in a new space poses new challenges, although I’ve never been devoted to organizing my personal library like some of my colleagues — like every bad reference story, I tend to remember my books by what color they are and their physical location. It’s a relief knowing that I will most likely be here long-term, and can create a home for myself.
I’ve already gotten a library card, naturally, and have started exploring my new city, looking for organizations with which my small archives could partner. This is a very culturally and historically rich area, and I’m not sure what kind of resources I will have to offer programming on my own. At the NEA Spring Meeting last month, I was excited to learn about The RHODI Project and the opportunities such a network will provide for partnering and networking in a state where I hardly know anyone. It’s going to be a challenging job, and a lot of work, but I’m excited to get started next week.
As a Real Professional now, I don’t yet know what’s appropriate to discuss on my blog about my job. It’s hard to strike a balance between personal and professional — too professional and the blog could get bland, too personal and I could come off as unprofessional or have problems with people I don’t want contacting me doing so. (I may have hinted at this before — I had an unpleasant situation a few years ago where an estranged member of my extended family tracked me down online and started harassing me.) Going forward, I’d like to keep using this blog to engage with other archivists, but I might start writing about other aspects of my life settling into my new home as well. I don’t want to drift too far offshore in my subject matter, but I would also like to have reason to post more often without giving live updates of my work days.
I’ve also been thinking about changing the name of the blog, possibly to “historivist,” my Twitter handle. I don’t know if buying a domain is worth it for me at this point, but “autoarchive” was not a well-thought-out name two and a half years ago. Regardless of what happens on this blog, we can always talk archives on Twitter, or, since I have professional development support at my new institution, in person!