By Kasia Piasecka, Senior Assistant, INALJ Rhode Island
Deep in Archives: Interview with Archivist, Christy Tomecek
Kasia: How did you find your current job? Do you have any job hunting advice for INALJ readers?
Christy: I got very lucky with my current job. My former supervisor is a member of the Archivists Round Table in New York City and subscribes to their listserv. The archivist at the Armenian Church posted a job ad on the listserv and the supervisor sent it on to me.
As far as job hunting advice: network, network, network! Your fellow friends and colleagues often hear about jobs that may be under your radar and can pass them on to you. Also, many professional organizations like the SAA, ALA, and ART have job hunting resources that have very useful to me personally.
Kasia: Favorite book(s)?
Christy: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is up there. Also, if you give me anything written by Neil Gaiman, you can count on me being a lost cause for the day.
Kasia: What is your favorite library that you’ve worked in and why?
Christy: The Oskar Diethelm Library at the Institute of the History of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College (try saying that three times fast!) It was a very specialized library which had very specific materials, and the breadth of materials was astonishing. Also, the librarian with whom I worked was very interested in helping me develop into a better archivist, yet gave me enough free reign to make decisions.
Kasia: What are some challenges that you anticipate in your current position?
Christy: The archive at the church is only a year old and is being created from the ground up. Not only am I going through materials which haven’t been viewed in years, I am figuring out the best way to process and prepare them for digitization without previous precedent. This is exciting, but also challenging.
Kasia: You have quite the resume for a recent MLIS graduate! How did you discover your passion for archival work?
Christy: I discovered it completely by accident. While I was working on my undergraduate degree at New York University and working as one of the library’s student assistants, I visited the Downtown Collection for a class. The archivist helped us discover materials which included things like pulp novels and an author’s box of possessions which inspired his writing. I was completely shocked and exclaimed “Wait, you can get a job which entails taking care of these things?” The very next day, I spoke to our library’s reference librarian and he advised me to get my MLS. I haven’t looked back since.
Kasia: Do you have a dream processing project or collection that you’d love to get your hands on?
Christy: Honestly, I would love to work with the Downtown Collection at NYU — the collection that introduced me to archival work. New York City history and queer history are both topics which continue to interest and excite me.
Christy Tomecek is an assistant archivist at the Armenian Church (Eastern Diocese) located in New York, New York. She has also worked at the Oskar Diethelm Library at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Municipal Archives in New York City. She is a graduate from the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences at Queens College, City University of New York, having received her MLS with Archives Certificate in 2014.