SFCP Library News January 2014
by Alyson Barrett-Ryan, MA, MLIS
As we begin 2014, I want to introduce you to two very important members of the Center: Patricia Rodgers and Helen Ng. Both Helen and Patty have been volunteering in the SFCP Library for several months, and they both bring a tremendous work ethic and invaluable expertise to library projects. With volunteers such as Patty and Helen, the SFCP Library will be better able to share its unique collections and develop its remarkable potential as a dynamic intellectual repository. Helen and Patty have written introductions to themselves and to their ongoing projects below; I should also note that along with these large projects, they help with small priority tasks that inevitably arise in our daily operations. SFCP is so grateful for their work, time and most importantly, their ideas and inspiration.
I hope you will have time to meet Patty and Helen in the SFCP Library.
Project: Unpublished Papers (Organization and Archival Processing)
My name is Patricia Rodgers and I have been volunteering in the SFCP Library since October, 2013. I earned a master’s degree in English from Boston University and have experience working in several Bay Area libraries, including those at UCSF and UC Berkeley, the UC Davis Law School Library, and the St. Helena Public Library. I first heard about the SFCP Library while volunteering at the Virginia Allan Detloff Library of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. I have been working with the SFCP Library’s extensive collection of unpublished papers, and not only am I learning a great deal about manuscript preservation and digitization strategies, but I am also becoming familiar with the SFCP’s rich intellectual history.
Recently, the SFCP Library Director, Alyson Barrett-Ryan, suggested that I read a very informative and entertaining article, “The Early History of Psychoanalysis in San Francisco,” by Daniel Benveniste (2006)*. It was exciting to learn more about the first San Francisco psychoanalysts and the founders of the various societies and institutes that eventually became SFCP, particularly because I had been getting to know most of their names through the materials in the Library’s archives. Some of the unpublished papers date to the early part of the twentieth century, and while many are written by well-known figures in the San Francisco psychoanalytic community, there are also many fascinating works by distinguished visitors--noted scholars and researchers in other fields on a wide variety of topics (art, literature, film, politics, religion, history, etc.), from all over the world.
The collection (almost 850 items) includes research papers presented at meetings and conferences, discussions of and responses to these papers, addresses and speeches, drafts of book chapters and book reviews, transcripts and interviews, and both serious and humorous memorials and reminiscences. Indeed, to borrow from Benveniste, the SFCP unpublished papers collection may be described as documenting “a creative ferment that has given rise or been home to some of the most creative thinkers, theorists, writers, analysts, teachers, innovators, and administrators in the local and international analytical and psychoanalytical communities” (228). I look forward to sharing more information about this important archive with you in the very near future.
*Benveniste, D. (2006). The early history of psychoanalysis in San Francisco. Psychoanalysis and History, 8(2), 195-233.
Project: Patron Record Updates, Rare Book Cataloging, Unpublished Papers (Archival Processing)
My name is Helen Ng. I am one of the volunteers serving at the SFCP Library. It is my honor to contribute time and effort on a weekly basis to the most comprehensive psychoanalytic library on the West Coast. This article will be a brief self-introduction of my past library-relevant background, my involvement in the projects currently being carried out in SFCP and expectations for my future contributions to the SFCP Library.
Before graduating from San Francisco State University as a Comparative Literature Major, I had gained some practical job experience in two academic libraries. Working as a librarian assistant for Mission College Library in Santa Clara for a year was in fact my first experience in a library. There I learned most of the essential skills of library operation, such as book circulation, classification according to call numbers, and providing customer services to patrons. Later, due to my musical background as a cellist, I was luckily offered a chance to work for the Library of SFSU Music Department for one summer. In this short period of time, I became familiar with the duties of a music librarian such as assigning
practice rooms and lockers to musicians, arranging music score based on genres and instruments, shelving sheet music and preparing performing materials for concerts upon faculty’s requests.
Although I have served more than one library in the past, being a full-time librarian has not been my career goal until recently. As soon as my mind was set on becoming a “trendy” librarian who will be able to use her technological skills to create and manage digital content for online accessibility, present library services and resources to patrons with well-trained professionalism and even build a collection in response to changing community demands, I began serving the SFCP Library as a volunteer. Under the supportive and helpful direction of Alyson Barrett-Ryan, the Library Director of the SFCP Library, my first volunteering task was to update patron records in the Koha system that is used by the library, with the latest roster provided by the administrative department. The cleaning up of patrons’ information is remarkably beneficial and essential to the library’s circulation and operation; it also helps build a trustful and consistent relationship between the librarian and patrons as they can reach each other in an instant with the most updated contact information available in the system.
Once I finished the patron record project, I engaged in another noteworthy mission: the rare book cataloging project. The goal of this project is to record the condition of the rare books and to include their catalog records in the online library system for comprehensive discovery. From examining the condition of the historically and educationally valuable books owned by SFCP, cataloging these books, and assigning temporary record numbers for the books, I learned how to handle fragile and rare materials, as well as vocabulary specific to cataloging (and, even developed some German language skills). This on-going project is definitely worth the time, as it will augment the collections available at the SFCP Library, possibly attracting new patrons and potential members who are interested in unique archival research. In the meantime, I also participate in the historically significant unpublished paper project started by Patricia Rodgers, the other volunteer who contributes not only great ideas but experience in library services. My job is mainly to clarify the publication status of the papers by researching online within specialized search engines, later digitizing some of the papers and making them available to patrons. I believe the SFCP Library is an outstanding library that offers a rare combination of vibrant expertise, quality services and unique psychoanalytic collections.
For one hoping to get a job as a qualified librarian, obtaining a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science is equally as important as gaining pragmatic job experience. Starting in January of 2014, I will become a graduate student of San Jose State University pursuing an MLIS. I plan to graduate within two years, and I hope that my academic qualifications, work and volunteer experience will enrich my career as a professional and skilled librarian.
Thank you again for the valuable opportunity to serve the SFCP Library. I hope that my volunteer efforts and my graduate school experience will contribute to the development and organization of this collection.