We always love to share blog posts from our Special Collections & Archives student assistants, and this spring is no exception. Even now, when most of our work is being done remotely and away from each other, they are doing so much to make archives collections accessible. Today’s post comes from sophomore Erin Byrd, who worked in the Preservation Lab with librarian Craig Fansler previously but… 2020.

Erin Byrd
Sophomore student assistant Erin Byrd

Hi! I am a sophomore at Wake Forest majoring in Finance and minoring in Psychology and Entrepreneurship. I have been working in Special Collections and Archives since I was a freshman, but obviously my work this year has looked a little different.

Rather than solidifying book spines or wrapping weak covers in plastic, I have been listening to digitize audiotapes from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, primarily from the 1960s. These tapes cover a wide variety of religious topics, from elections of Convention officers and leaders to sermons and scripture readings to choirs performing hymns. I listen to the tapes and write brief summaries with keywords for reference and research purposes. While many involve lengthy, formal discussions of Convention procedures, my favorite of the tapes (which I lovingly refer to as podcasts to make things even more exciting) are the ones that mention Wake Forest. Several of the tapes refer to the Tribble family or other former University Presidents, as well as discussing student outreach and affairs that the Baptist Convention was taking on. The move from the old campus in Wake Forest to the new one in Winston-Salem is occasionally mentioned, as WFU often asked the Convention for funds to support construction efforts to further expand this campus.

Though this work drastically differs from my work last year, which was incredibly hands on, there are plenty of silver linings, especially because I love being able to complete my work from anywhere on campus, taking my computer outside if the weather is nice. I am eager to return to ZSR, but continue to enjoy my remote work.

We are so grateful to our students, for whom so much has changed. Special Collections wouldn’t be the same without you – thanks for your work, Erin! We look forward to the day we can put some archives materials in your literal hands!