High School Interns Find Opportunities in the Library

Rana Naeim and Kena Cheatham

in the preservation lab working on

the University of Nashville books.

Photo: Molly Dohrmann

Two high school interns are working in Special Collections this summer as part of Opportunity NOW, a job readiness program organized by the Mayor’s office.  Kathy Smith, Rachel Lavenda, Molly Dohrmann, Jim Thweatt, and Laura Matthews are mentoring Kena Cheatham and Rana Naeim on working in a library setting, cleaning and preserving rare books, and creating bibliographic entries of the books. The interns are working on a collection of books from the University of Nashville (1826-1909) library. Peabody College traces its roots to the University of Nashville.

The books were published between the 1590s and the 1880s and form the backbone of what was available to students and faculty at the university from the antebellum period through Reconstruction.  The topics found so far include astronomy, calculus, grammar, historical novels, and titles on manners and etiquette. Kena and Rana are gaining first-hand knowledge about the preservation and documentation needed to provide access to this unique library collection. The books identified will be catalogued with a note added to their record to show that they were part of the University of Nashville library using the research done by the students.

The interns will tour a sampling of the nine campus libraries during their six-week program, giving them a glimpse into the diverse work being undertaken by 21st century libraries. This is the second year that Special Collections Library has partnered with Opportunity NOW to help youth develop career skills.  In 2017, the program placed and mentored almost 8,000 students in work positions.  For more information about the program, click here.

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