September 25 – 27, 2015
The Lord Nelson Hotel
Halifax Central Library
From a small basement room in a small library on a small university campus there echoed for decades the steady heartbeat of the rich history of agriculture in Nova Scotia. Few were aware of the treasures lying dormant in the depths of the MacRae Library at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the Agricola Museum, Archives & Special Collections languished with neither an archivist nor dedicated archives staff. But with the birth of the Faculty of Agriculture of Dalhousie University came an opportunity to resurrect the vision of the Agricola’s founders—to provide faculty and students with access to significant primary sources, to link the community to its agricultural roots, and to reconnect alumni with their alma mater.
Our panel will share the story of this project, which began with discussions in the summer of 2013, before staff from Dalhousie libraries and the University Archives embarked on the formidable journey of excavating and packing up artifacts, books and records. Planning, staff training, policy creation and alignment and renovations brought us to the summer of 2015, which has seen the unpacking, appraisal, re-accessioning and re-establishment of the Agricola Collections. Where once there were random finding aids in a binder, there are now fully standard compliant and accessible records in the Dalhousie University Archive’s online catalogue. Comprehensive policies exist to align with the strategic goals of the University and the Faculty of Agriculture. This is a success story about collaboration across three collections representing archives, libraries and museums.
Jennifer MacIsaac has been at the MacRae Library for 8 years, cataloguing books for the main and special collections. She’s a graduate of the NSCC Library and Information Technology program, which prepared her well for the variety of work she gets to dabble in besides cataloguing – circulation, training student assistants to shelve and shelf read, document delivery, acquisitions, and reference! She has also been lucky enough to complete CNSA archives curriculum begin her journey into ANSM museum courses. Things got serious when she was named Champion of the Agricola Archives, Museum & Special Collections in 2013, superpowers pending! Jennifer also enjoys helping people, photography, reading, the beach - preferably in a tropical climate, and buckets of coffee!