Student Spotlight: Emma Gallanti at the McGill University Archives

Student employment in the McGill Library benefits the entire McGill community. At 100+ strong this academic year, McGill Library student workers gain valuable work experience while engaging in academic pursuits.  Student navigators, curatorial interns, special project assistants and student researchers bring an immeasurable amount to the life and culture of the Library. Over the next few weeks, Library Matters will share testimonials from library student workers, many of whom come to us through programs like McGill’s Work Study Program and are supported by students societies and associations like the SSMU Library Improvement Fund (LIF), the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), the McGill Music Undergraduate Student Association (MUSA) and Post Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS). Thank you to all our student workers – your hard work and dedication mean the world to the Library and McGill!

Emma Gallanti smiling at the camera standing in front of a shelving unit filled with boxes.

Emma Gallanti is a 2nd year History Major and works in the McGill University Archives.

Library Matters (LM): What made you want to apply to work for the library?

Emma Gallanti (EG): I have been very interested in the job of an archivist; I went to talk to Mr. Lapointe [Yves Lapointe, Director and University Archivist] in an attempt to get a better understanding of what the career entailed. I saw there was an opening for the student project assistant and decided to give it a shot.

LM: What kind of work have you been doing? Has it been virtual / onsite / hybrid?

EG: My work is all in person. With the other student project assistants we are tasked with barcoding boxes in the archives for them to be moved out of the library’s basement. By doing this we are able to keep track and their contents even as they move locations.

LM: What do you like about working at the Library?

EG: It’s rather calm and quiet where I work, which I enjoy. I also get to meet people who have different roles in the archival world. This helps me understand what goes into the job.

LM: What surprised you the most about working at the Library?

EG: The quantity of boxes full of records and documents truly surprise me, it seems never ending.

LM: Any “Aha!” moments or takeaways from the experience?

EG: I enjoy the autonomy that comes with the job, there are a few tasks we can pick out on a given day.

LM: Coolest, oddest, most interesting things you have come across/experienced?

EG: On my first day, I was tasked with sticking barcodes in a room that was locked by a vault system. It was weird but also cool to work in such a small room. I also came across a collection of letters written by physicist Ernest Rutherford, I thought that it was a cool artifact.

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