Thursday, April 7, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight- Paul Contarino

Paul originally became interested in libraries and archives while he was working on his undergraduate degree at Marist (class of ’08). He then pursued his interest further by completing not one, but two master’s degrees at SUNY Albany, an M.A. in History and an M.A. in Information Science.  He first began volunteering here at the Grems-Dolittle Library in January, interested in getting more experience working with collections.
Paul has been tirelessly working toward organizing the Schenectady County Historical Society’s records, sorting through boxes and boxes of office and financial records. His work has several steps. He is first going through the boxes and creating lists of what records have been saved, and then will be working with retention schedules, evaluating what should be keep and what records can be disposed of responsibly. It is Paul’s long term goal that his inventory lists will eventually be available online to provide easy access to researchers.
 To give you an idea of the sheer size of this endeavor, the Society’s recent financial records currently fill ten boxes, and that is only the financial records. As you can image these boxes occupy much needed storage space and Paul’s herculean effort toward disposal of the unnecessary records has been a stroke of luck for the library.
When Paul is working on his project here in the library, it is often difficult to pull him away. It is very clear that he truly enjoys what he is working on and he told me that volunteering here at the Grems-Doolittle has provided him with a good experience, working with such a great collection.  When he isn’t working with our collection, Paul has also become involved with organizing the archives at Vale Cemetery. Besides the opportunity to get experience in his field, Paul enjoys volunteering because he likes being able to use his talents and abilities to help the Society.

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