Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Meet the Staff... Casey Gymrek

Meet Casey Gymrek. She is an education specialist with the Archives Development Program department.

How long have you worked here?

I have been with the Tennessee State Library and Archives since September 2016, but it feels like yesterday was my first day!

What are some of the things you do as an education specialist?

“Sooo…what exactly is it that you do?” This is easily one of my favorite questions that I receive on a daily basis! While my day-to-day duties often change from one week to the next, my main job is to serve as a middleman between the K-12 and college student and teacher communities and the Library and Archives. Introducing these patrons to the Library and Archives can be performed in a variety of ways. For student research visits, our Education Outreach team typically travels to the students’ classrooms and gives a brief (but fun!) instruction on tips for researching our collections. Once on-site, we work with those students to mine our precious materials for their class projects. As an education specialist, I also frequently travel the state conducting professional development workshops for teachers in order to introduce them to our digital collections and related resources (https://bit.ly/2GvHUEj​) that correspond to their curriculum standards. One of my newest roles is managing our newly-launched DocsBox (https://bit.ly/2EfexjB​) program, a “traveling archives” experience for Tennessee classrooms. Lastly, I attend important education conferences to share our resources and receive inspiration from other educators for future programs and activities.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Believe it or not, this is actually a really tough question to answer! I absolutely love traveling the state and meeting students and teachers from all over Tennessee while learning little pockets of local history from these treasured communities. Connecting our resources at the Library and Archives to students and teachers in the different grand divisions is a special treat for this historian! Witnessing firsthand the excitement students express when engaging with our historical documents is both amazing and encouraging. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Tennessee teachers and students in the coming years at the Library and Archives.

Do you have a favorite collection?

Another challenging question! With sources ranging from Governors’ Papers to rare and intricate maps, it’s hard to pick just one! Recently, one of my favorite collections is our World War I Gold Star Records (https://bit.ly/1TzokFQ​). Local history from all points of view and perspectives is extremely important to me and the World War I Gold Star collection is a great way to explore the national story of America in World War I through the lens of young Tennesseans from all walks of life. From these records, researchers of any age get a touching glimpse into the past through a very personal and human story.

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

Libraries and archives are more important than ever in today’s society. As communities both in Tennessee and other states change and grow, it is becoming increasingly critical that these new residents find their own place in the histories of their homes, schools and towns. Local stories from the past resonate with people, both young and young-at-heart, so our libraries and archives have a unique opportunity to bridge together people from the past, present and future.
The State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Monday, May 14, 2018

Original Constitutions, Workshop Planned for Statehood Celebration

The Tennessee State Library and Archives will put all three of the state’s original constitutions on display to the public in commemoration of Statehood Day. The constitutions are typically protected in a vault, but all three versions will be in the Library and Archives’ lobby for public viewing June 1 to 2 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT.

“Seeing these wonderful documents makes Tennessee history come alive,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “Not many Tennesseans can say they’ve seen one of our constitutions up close, much less all three. Hopefully, this exhibition will demonstrate how the Library and Archives works tirelessly to protect and chronicle our great state’s history.” 

As part of this celebration, the Library and Archives will also host a free lecture on Tennessee’s first governor John Sevier and Tennessee’s road to statehood. Gordon Belt, Library and Archives Public Services director and author of the book John Sevier: Tennessee’s First Hero, will discuss how Tennessee became a state and the prominent role Sevier played in Tennessee's early history, eventually becoming the state’s first governor.

The lecture will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. CDT Saturday, June 2, in the Library and Archives auditorium. The Library and Archives is located at 403 Seventh Ave. N., directly west of the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Free parking is available around the Library and Archives building.

Although the lecture is free and open to the public, registration is required due to seating limitations in the auditorium. To reserve seats, please visit sevierstatehood.eventbrite.com.

Viewing the state constitutions is free. No reservation is required.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tennessee Teen Tech Week Scavenger Hunt

By Kate Greene Smith, Youth Services and Special Projects Coordinator

Earlier this year, eight Teen Advisory Boards (TABs) from public libraries across Tennessee participated in the first Tennessee Teen Tech Week Scavenger Hunt. TABs had a week to complete challenges that included making videos, building websites, using Tennessee Electronic Library databases, downloading ebooks from R.E.A.D.S. and shelving books. Each challenge earned the team points. TABs from the following libraries participated:

  • Cleveland Bradley County Public Library
  • Fred A. Vaught Public Library
  • Johnson City Public Library
  • Middleton Community Library
  • Smyrna Public Library
  • Spring Hill Public Library
  • Watertown Wilson County Public Library
  • Washington County Public Library

The winning team was from Smyrna Public Library with a grand total of 950 points. The team won a Maker Space Kit for its library, which includes the following items:

  • A LEGO WeDo Education Kit 
  • A Sphero SPRK+ robot 
  • A MakeyMakey classic set 
  • A SparkFun PicoBoard 
  • A Makerspace Beginner Tool Kit 
  • A MakeDO Toolset 
  • A Straws and Connectors Set 
  • The Big Book of Maker Space Projects 
  • The book “Maker Lab”

The Maker Space Kit was presented to the Smyrna Strikers team Thursday, April 26, 2018. Here are a few pictures of the presentation and the teens putting the items to use...

The Smyrna Strikers are the Teen Advisory Board at Smyrna Public Library. Rita Shacklett, Director of the Rutherford County Library System, and Liz McLuckie, teen services librarian were with the youth when Kate Greene Smith, Youth Services and Special Projects Coordinator for the Tennessee State Library and Archives, presented the Maker Space Kit.

The teens immediately took the kit and began using the supplies.

This program was developed as an effort to expose teens to library technology, engage them in library programming and provide them with a chance to win innovative materials for their libraries. Teen Services Librarians made the following reports after the completion of the event:

“Kids loved THE LIST, thank you. It taught them GREAT Team Work skills, communication, organization and appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of their peers.”

“Teens learned to use Google forms like pros and I learned how to use Snapchat. YouTube taught us all how to compress videos and a good time was had by all. Thank you for this cool opportunity!”

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Teen Tech Week Scavenger Hunt! We started an after-school code club this year. We have been able to learn HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap while building a website. We have also worked on Makey Makey projects as well as origami projects that mixed paper with LED lights.”

“Possibly one of the most important outcomes of these students engaging with each other and with our librarians is that they are interested in becoming an active TAB, a board that helps with summer reading and mentoring younger coders and makers.”

Liz McLuckie is building a Makey Makey piano from aluminum foil. The students on the floor are making an igloo out of connectors and straws. The young man in the back is experimenting with the LEGO Education Set, and the young woman on the right is programming the Sphero SPRK+ robot.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Free online resources for Tennessee students and job seekers available through TEL!

By Andrea Zielke

Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) is excited about a standardized test prep and career advancement resource that is now available for free to all Tennessee residents just in time for upcoming AP, ACT and SAT test dates!

Tennesseans now have access to Testing & Education Reference Center (TERC) from Gale, a Cengage company, for standardized test preparation, researching undergraduate and graduate programs, finding tuition assistance and exploring careers. It includes practice tests for entrance exams, certifications and licensing exams. Whether you a student, parent or job seeker, TERC has information that can assist with all aspects of education and career exploration!

TERC includes:

  • Test prep: Full-length, timed practice exams that simulate the actual testing experience for GED, AP, ISEE, COOP, SSAT, CLEP, FCAT, SAT, ACT, PSAT, TAKS, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, MAT, TOEFL, TOEIC, U.S. citizenship and many others exams. Diagnostic pre-tests help students determine where they stand and how much preparation they need before taking an exam. 
  • College planning: Intuitive searches and quick results deliver information on more than 4,000 accredited schools, including school location, tuition, academics, admission requirements, campus life and much more. 
  • Financial aid tools: Benefit from an undergraduate scholarship search, financial aid award analyzer, college savings calculator, tuition cost finder and more. 
  • Career development: The resume builder and virtual careers library tools assist students in building essential career skills—like how to build a resume, cover letter and interviewing tips for users at all career stages. Using the career module, tests help users map interests and aptitudes to the most suitable job categories, industries and occupations. 
  • International tools: Helps individuals prepare to pass the TOEFL (iBT), TOEFL (PBT), TOEIC and U.S. Citizenship tests with online practice tests and eBooks.


Start preparing for your next test or career using TERC today by visiting your local library website or TEL at http://tntel.info/.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Preservation Week 2018

By Carol Roberts

Salvaging or starting the process to care for family papers.

“Nobody wants these old papers.” How many times has that been said in a family or community? “I do–I do,” said the historian. So where does the process begin?

First, assess the risk. 

How much longer will the collection last? Will the collection really be thrown away? Does the next generation of family no longer want it? Is it in a barn, storage shed or attic under the leaky roof? Answer those questions, carefully assess the situation and then get permission in the family. Find the best place to work with the documents. Keep like things together or determine why things are stored together. Make as many notes as possible. Follow all the clues. For example, is there a whole packet of World War 1 letters tied in a bundle for a reason?

Second, salvage and preliminary cleaning.

Salvage begins by getting the records into a safe place, gently move them and look for the usual pests; spiders, silverfish and the like. A gentle brush can start the process. Better quality boxes can be used especially if the original storage containers crumble in handling. Books can be dusted with a low-speed variable “HEPA” filtered vacuum. Monitor the collection for moisture or mold. Are the records damp to the touch? If they feel wet or damp, then they can be air dried and monitored for improved humidity before you work with them further.

Third, begin the archival environment process.

The basic archival environment begins with the physical: constant temperature, low humidity and lighting that prevents fading. Find the best new or temporary storage location possible. Be sure that the storage will avoid water leaks and pests that love paper. Then begin the process of the using new folders and boxes.

  • Use acid-free archival quality folders to sort the materials.
  • Unfold and keep flat when possible.
  • Use the folders as support for fragile documents. Make all notes on the folder.
  • Do not use tape or adhesives. Use polyester sleeves to hold torn documents in place.
  • Do not use scrapbooks or scrapbook glue. Again, use archival acid-free folders.
  • Use soft brushes to dust the records.
  • Use only pencil around the collection. Ink pens are just a mistake waiting to happen.

Store like things together. For example, sets of letters and photographs stay together, and scrapbooks have unique boxes for better storage.

For especially damaged items consult a conservator.

Once the collection is in a new safe environment, then the historian can study all the new historical facts and stories that appear.

Read more here:

ALA Preservation week: http://www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek/howto

National Archives Family Treasures: https://www.archives.gov/preservation/family-archives

American Institute of Conservation: http://www.conservation-us.org/about-conservation/caring-for-your-treasures#.WtYL34jwY2x

Northeast Document Conservation Center’s Technical Leaflets:

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Monday, April 16, 2018

Meet the Staff... Patsy Mitchell

Meet Patsy Mitchell. She is an archivist with Archival Technical Services.

How long have you worked here?

Since 2014.

What are some of the things you do as an archivist?

I am primarily responsible for processing and preserving our born-digital materials and creating catalog records for all of our collections. I also represent the Tennessee State Library and Archives in the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Collaborative.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love making our collections easier to find through good metadata, catalog records and simple but clear organization. I just wish I were this organized at home!

Do you have a favorite collection?

I’m most interested in the history of the state parks and outdoor recreation in Tennessee, so I would probably choose the Department of Conservation Photograph Collection, 1937-1976. It offers more than 11,000 photographs and 21,000 negatives, not just of parks, but also folklife and historic sites. It’s also a great collection if you like pictures of cute animals, and who doesn’t? As far as digital collections go, I really love the Women’s Suffrage in Tennessee collection available in the Tennessee Virtual Archive. It includes digitized versions of materials from a lot of different collections but focuses on the theme of women’s suffrage. It’s especially relevant as we begin to approach the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. We are also hoping to add more materials to this collection before the end of the year, so keep an eye out!

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

As someone who is responsible for our born-digital materials, I think a lot about the roles that libraries and archives will be serving in the future. While technology has aided the creation and distribution of information, it hasn’t necessarily made it easier to preserve. Bit rot and obsolescence could threaten the integrity of our records as we continue to move away from paper and toward electronic media. Think of old files you can no longer open because the software or hardware doesn’t exist anymore. Sometimes the files can become damaged. Even if you can access the files, without good metadata to describe them, searching through hundreds of thousands (and eventually millions and billions) of files will be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Through best practices and continued research, however, archivists are addressing these issues to ensure long-term access to these records for posterity.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

MLK50: Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Former Rep. Tommie F. Brown (D-Chattanooga) hosted a Black History Month program before the 104th Tennessee General Assembly Feb. 23, 2005, to honor the many contributions made by African-American members.

Christian Suttles recited a portion of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream…” speech by memory. King originally delivered his famous speech Aug. 28, 1963, during the March on Washington.

Dr. King was assassinated on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis April 4, 1968. The motel is now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum, which is honoring the 50th anniversary of his death.

Video Courtesy: Tennessee General Assembly. Audio of this message is also available from the Legislative History Unit of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

The State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State