Four years goes by way too quick and today is my last day as Librarian/Archivist at the Schenectady County Historical Society. The Grems-Doolittle Library blog will be on hiatus for a while as we search for a new librarian/archivist. This blog gave me a place to write about some of the more obscure and weird topics of Schenectady's history. It also served as a way to make readers aware of just how interesting our collections are.
When I first started as librarian/archivist at the Schenectady County Historical Society, I knew very little about Schenectady history. Over time I grew to become very fond of Schenectady County as I learned more about it and I got to see first hand just how passionate our members and patrons are about their county's history. This was demonstrated yesterday at my last outreach program which was a bit different than my usual programs that focus on genealogy or preserving family documents. I was asked to speak on the history of the Mont Pleasant neighborhood at the brand new Mont Pleasant branch of the Schenectady County Public Library. This was a fun presentation as I got to speak to people who were very passionate about their neighborhood and shared some great stories about living there. Seeing this passion has been one of my favorite things about working at SCHS. Whether it's a genealogist making a discovery that connects them to an ancestor, or watching the delight on someone's face as they go through images of historic Schenectady, it has been very satisfying to help people make these connections.
My position as Librarian/Archivist has given me everything I could ask for in a job and I am slightly jealous of my eventual replacement as they will get to work with a wonderful group of people. Everyone at SCHS has been supportive and fun to work with and I am greatly appreciative of my coworkers for creating such a great work environment. This position has been challenging in a way that has allowed for some great personal and professional growth. One specific accomplishment that I am very proud of is making our collections more accessible through digitization, finding aids, and catalogs. During my time here we have digitized and made available over 1,500 items on our New York Heritage Page. We have also rolled out our online catalog and created many finding aids and indexes that can be found on our library collection page.
Of course, very little of this work could be accomplished without the help volunteers. Our volunteers digitize, rehouse collections, create indexes and finding aids and work on a variety of other tasks. Looking back on the projects that our volunteers finished, I'm astonished. Our volunteers are a dedicated and wonderful group and I truly appreciate everything they have done for SCHS. When I first started, our volunteers showed me the ropes and were always around if I had a question or just to chat. Not being a Schenectady native, they were especially helpful in answering some of my more specific questions about the county. All of our volunteers have added great value to our library and have not only made an impact on our collections, but made SCHS a very welcoming place to work and I can't thank them enough for everything they have done.