This Albert Einstein quote appears on a bookmark that was brought home to me from the British Library this summer. It’s currently tucked inside the last chapter of Jia Tolentino’s new book (which is incredible, by the way). Often, when I tell people I’m studying to be a librarian, they laugh and say they’ve never heard someone say that’s what they want to be. But I do. This career perfectly incapsulates everything that I value. I’ve decided to use my Capstone project to explain why.
I came up with four pitches for the Capstone project, as instructed. They were not thought through as well as they probably should have been. I know myself. Either I formulate half an idea and call it good or I spend hours making elaborate plans for just one idea until I absolutely hate it. My first two ideas drew on previous research I’ve done. Those projects define my undergraduate experience as a fledgling archivist and historian, but I just didn’t see them fitting into the realm of this class after talking them through with my classmates and T.
So the third and fourth pitches came to the front. One of them was about sexual abuse in Opera, and that got the best reaction from the class. I expected that. It is the most timely, so it resonated. My partner is an opera singer, and she’ll be in the chorus this fall for the very show I pitched doing a case study on. The idea came from her, really. The concept is compelling, and as much as I respect the genre and would love to do research about it, this idea just doesn’t feel like mine. Which brings us to pitch number four: the preservation of knowledge, or who bothers to care for books? Something like that. I don’t want to speak too soon. We all know how these things tend to change form over and over again. It happened in Gateway, it’ll certainly happen this semester too.
Speaking of this semester, it’s my last one. I’ll graduate in December, do some more work in archives and the Donald Hall Collection (the film/screenplay library on the sixth floor of North Quad– please consider it as a resource!) for eight months, and then head to graduate school. So I’m thinking a lot about this next phase of my life, and why it’s so important to me that I pursue a career dedicated to preserving and talking about history. For me, right now, a project like this needs to grapple with those questions. As hard as I tried to pitch a project that dealt with a new topic, it always comes back to what I’m passionate about. I know I’m super lucky to already know what that is. I can’t wait to articulate to you all, in a new format, why librarianship means so much to me.