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Summer Internships: Sabrina Austin '23

August 3, 2022
Headshot of Sabrina Austin

Name: Sabrina Austin
Class Year: 2023
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Mount Juliet, TN

Internship Organization:  Nashville Public Library
Job Title: Metro Archives Intern
Location: Nashville, TN

What’s happening at your internship?

I am working in the Metro Archives of the Nashville Public Library this summer. My main project is processing a collection of items donated to the library. The collection that I am working with has items belonging to a prominent Nashville family that date between 1890 and 2017. I have been sorting the collection into different series of correspondence, ephemera, family papers and photographs. I am also inventorying the collection and working on a finding aid so that patrons of the library can understand what is in the collection and find collections similar to it.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship because I wanted experience with work in collections and libraries. I intend to continue my education so that I can work in collections or archives of a library or museum, so this opportunity was perfect for gaining the skills I need for that. Additionally, I wanted to work with the Nashville Public Library. It is a really good organization that helps the community in Nashville, and it is a library I am familiar with as I grew up in the area.

Books on table at Nashville Public Library

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been reading and sorting through the many letters that are in the collection I am processing. The collection contains items from a specific family, and there are hundreds of love letters between the couple that were written while the husband was stationed in the Pacific during World War II. The letters are so sweet, and I feel that I get to learn so much about these people’s lives by reading what they wrote to each other.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

I have gained a lot of practical skills that will be helpful in a collections or archive position. I have had to work very independently, so I learned how to take initiative and make decisions on my own. Also, as I sort through hundreds of items in a collection, I learned to be very patient and detail-oriented. A lot of the materials are fragile, so I often have to move slowly and carefully as I organize things. This is important to me because I wanted to know that I could handle that kind of patience before I started this internship. The skills I am practicing and learning make me more excited to continue work in this field.

There is more information on the collection I processed on the Nashville Public Library’s website because I wrote a blog post for it. Check it out!

Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.