I have been volunteering at the Smithsonian for about six months now, and it’s been a great experience. A few weeks ago, one of the full-time workers (who previously worked in a special library) gave me the idea of taking a tour of one of the twenty Smithsonian Libraries. I can’t believe I hadn’t had that thought on my own. Well, I did have it on my mind, but I assumed they only agreed to stuff like that for groups and not individuals. I’m glad she sparked the idea because I emailed the librarian located in the National Museum of African Art and after a few emails, we scheduled a day that I could come in the Walter M. Robbins Library.
I’ve been inside the NMAfA several times, but I never knew that it had a library and unless you are looking for it specifically, you’d probably miss it. In order to visit the library, you must make an appointment. I believe that is standard for all of the libraries and it’s probably because the staff size is small and they need to make sure they can accommodate you.
I was there for about an hour and the librarian shared some of the library’s history and how the libraries are connected. She gave me a tour and I got a chance to ask her some questions about how she became a librarian. She also mentioned that she is short a few volunteers and discussed some of the special projects volunteers have done in the past. It would be very cool to volunteer there (and even better to work there), and since I’ll only be taking two classes next semester, I potentially could volunteer my time, in addition to my other volunteer position. It would be a nice segway into the internship that I intend to apply to next school year.