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 Witnessing firsthand the excitement students express when engaging with our historical documents is both amazing and encouraging.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

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