My name is Michelle Runyon. I recently started the MSLS program at UNC Chapel Hill focusing on archives and special collections. Prior to beginning my position at the Sallie Bingham Center at Duke University, I worked at the Archives and Special Collections department at Santa Clara University, where I completed my bachelor's degree in June 2017. I subsequently worked co-processing the personal papers of local politician and LGBTQ+ activist Ken Yeager and as a records management assistant for the County of Santa Clara.
A Typical Day
One thing I love about my internship is that I do a variety of different tasks. I split my time between working at Duke's West campus in the main building for the Rubenstein Library and at the Smith Warehouse working with the Rubenstein's Technical Services team.
When I am on West campus, I usually begin the day by looking through the remote reference requests I have been assigned. I will then either request materials to be delivered from the Library Service Center (as most of the Rubenstein collections are not stored onsite) or look through materials that I already have on hold under my name to answer the reference questions I am working on. One day a week I sit on the reading room desk with a staff member. This usually entails retrieving materials that are on hold for patrons and answering any questions they have about the reading room policies or how to handle certain materials. I also work on managing the Sallie Bingham Center's Facebook page. I have been assisting with instruction and this semester will lead a class.
When I am with the Technical Services team, I process. During the fall semester, I focused on processing the third series of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Durham collection. One subseries that I have been particularly excited about is the Durham Women's Health Co-op Files. The Co-op became part of the YWCA in the 1970's and had its offices at one time with the Harriet Tubman branch, which served the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Durham. I have appreciated working on these records as they speak to the impact that the Co-op had the public health of the neighborhood, including operating an abortion clinic and putting on workshops related to many health-related topics such as birth control and nutrition. I have also processed some additions to existing research guides such as the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South records. I was pleased recently to meet the founder and director of the Resource Center, Jeanne Stokes, when I help my supervisor, Megan Lewis, picked up some additions for another collection at the Resource Center offices.
I continue to enjoy the various tasks I have and look forward to new opportunities that the spring semester will bring. The Lisa Unger Baskin exhibit is opening on February 27, for which I am very excited. The Sallie Bingham Center, amongst other archives at Duke, are receiving applications for travel grants at this time; I will be amongst the staff reviewing applications. We are also hoping to finish the finding aid for the Durham YWCA records. All of this will make for a busy and productive spring!