A Perspective Within: A Curious Mind in the Archives

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Today’s guest post is written by library student assistant Mario A. Gallardo. Mario works in our Archives and Special Collections department. 

Hello readers!

My name is Mario A. Gallardo and I am currently a History major here at Loyola Marymount University. I have been working as a student assistant in the Archives and Special Collections (A&SC) department for two years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. My experiences in A&SC have been great and I have learned to love this job and what I get to do. As a student assistant, there are various things that I can be tasked to do. Whether it’s organizing, cataloging, helping create collections, or just handling the front desk, I still find joy in my work.

I first found out about this job as an incoming freshman when I met up with Ray Andrade at a Latino Overnight. I had always been interested in working in a library since I volunteered over the summer at my local high school library. Mentioning to Ray that I was a History major, he recommended that I check out A&SC and if I wanted a job there he would help me. I took his advice and when a job opened up in the department I made sure to apply. I along with three other students were soon hired to work in A&SC. It was nothing like how I had imagined it at first, but I was soon taught the basics and put to work on the simple projects. I kept with the simple projects until I decided to work over the summer.

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When I worked over the summer I grew closer to a few of my co-workers, my supervisor, and some of the archivists as well. I was able to move onto bigger projects that required more time but I enjoyed them nonetheless. The first big project I got the chance to work on and have fun with was creating a finding aid for the Autographs Collection with Clay Stalls. I remember looking through the collection and witnessing each slip of paper which featured the autographs of many historical figures. I was excited, and seeing those autographs awed me, looking through at each of these people and realizing that I was staring at history. It didn’t feel like history you obtain from simply reading lines in a book: it felt real, as if a bridge between the past and present was physically in front of me. That feeling, was the feeling I imagined feeling when I first applied for the job.

Ever since that summer I have been working on big projects and have kept enjoying it. There were even points where I finished projects so quickly that the curators could not offer me big projects. I have enjoyed my job greatly here at A≻ the staff is friendly and fun to work with. It is because of this job that I have taken an interest in entering the field of Library Science and someday working in a library or be an archivist.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Mario!