Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Meet the Staff - Jessica Opalinski

Meet Jessica Opalinski. She is a Micrographics Technician with Preservation and Digitization.

How long have you worked here?

I started in June 2016 as a micrographics imaging processor. (It took me several months to memorize that job title!) In August of 2018 I moved into the micrographics technician position. What are some of the things you do as a Micrographics Technician?

Our section of the preservation department is focused primarily on managing the microfilm collection. We process raw film that the microfilmers shoot, make duplicate copies for orders, and store the original reels in the vault. We work with public services to ensure their microfilm collection is up-to-date and available to patrons.

Recently our department acquired two digital cameras for filming documents. We can keep the images as digital files or convert them to microfilm. My time has been split between the physical process of processing and quality checking microfilm, and transitioning projects onto the new cameras. It’s quite a change from the old microfilm cameras, but it gives us much more control over the quality of the final product.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy seeing the final results of the images I’ve taken. It’s so fascinating to watch the images suddenly appear as the film runs through the processor. I particularly like when we have to film unusual items. One time we had to film a car key as part of the governor’s papers!

Do you have a favorite collection?

I love the Grassmere Collection. As a huge fan of the Nashville Zoo, I was excited when this collection was first put together to explore the history of the five generations that lived at the Grassmere Farm and how the land eventually became the zoo as we know it today. The family’s connections and travels in Cuba were something I’d never heard of before and added an interesting layer to their history. It’s a great collection to look through if you love animal photos!

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

Before I started working here, I didn’t realize how much valuable information we record and store! From vital records such as birth certificates and marriage records to political documents and key information about Tennessee history, this building is a treasure trove of knowledge. It allows people to research their genealogy and discover parts of their family history they may have been unaware of. Often we don’t realize just how important a record is until someone needs it. And with so much data available, our staff is crucial for sorting through it and helping to make sense of it all.

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

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