The Archives and Special Collections Internship

By Rebecca Couchman-Crook, Archives Assistant

I applied for the Graduate Gateways scheme that the University’s Career Service runs for students who graduated that year, after I had just graduated from Geology. One of the many internships listed was the one offered by the Archives and Special Collections within the Library, which seemed a great fit for me, having worked in Libraries and Museums in the past. It was an opportunity to spend 6 months working with the Archives and the Alumni Relations Teams cataloguing items that had been donated, as well as learning about how an archive works.

I was given an induction, which briefly introduced me to the wonderful world of the Library. I spent time with a few teams to gain a wider picture of what they do.   

Academic Liaision

Academic Liaison – they create information sessions and tutorials, they ensure you have the books on your reading lists, and the subject librarians are there for helping you find the information you need. They’re also big fans of the Great British Bake Off!

Research Services

The Leicester Research Archive involves getting academics to make their work Open Access, so that people can find relevant information from published theses through a number of different search engines. See if you can spot the owl mascot…











Collections Management

Collections Management, showed me how they repair the books – it involves copious amounts of sticky-backed plastic, book tapes and glue!


Special Collections

This is the Special Collections Office where I was based (back left), where everyone in this picture coincidentally reading things.















Repackaging the University’s photograph collection, adding in items from the Alumni Relations Team and uncatalogued photographs, means that the photographs are now much easier to find and look at. I moved the information from our paper catalogues into our cataloguing software – amusingly called CALM – adding some 15,000 records. This means that you can now find information on all of our photographs and other archive material online and a catalogue tutorial video. You can now view some of the University’s photograph collection online and share your own photographs, videos and audio on our new collection on Historypin.


Repackaged photo collection

The reorganised Photograph Collection!

Reading Room

This is the Special Collections Reading Room, and the cushions are not for human use, as one student asked.













I got the chance to get a little creative during the internship too. I used interviews with alumni who had studied here during the 1960s to make two short podcasts on Pram Races and Protests and Concerts and Finding Love. The full length interviews can be found here. David Francis, one of the 1960s alumni who had been the photographer for Ripple, had let us create digital copies of his negatives.


Graduation Ceremony at De Montfort Hall, 1963

A photograph of the Graduation Ceremony at De Montfort Hall in the summer of 1963.


Brize Norton Protests, December 1961

A photograph of the Brize Norton protests held in December 1961.











They provide a wonderful snapshot into student life 50 years ago. This has prompted the Alumni Relations Team, Creative Services and Special Collections to collaborate on a film about his photography and his time at the University, using the negatives he shared.

My internship culminated with a training session for the Development and Alumni Relations Team, where I introduced them to the resources that Special Collections holds that could help with their work, and to cover the process I had put together for the future transferal of donations from their team to ours.

Over the course of the internship I have learnt a great deal about how Archives work, the processes that go on behind the scenes in the Library, my working style and the realities of having a 9-5 job! I’ve been able to work with some very supportive and creative people to increase the accessibility of the collections. I would encourage you to apply for the role when it is advertised in the Summer if you fancy a future in the sector.

Share this page:

Share this page:

Simon Dixon

About Simon Dixon

I am Archives and Special Collections Manager within the University Library. My role is to manage and develop the Library's and other University research collections and exploit digital technologies to reach new audiences for these collections. I also advise to staff and students in the humanities on the use of digital technology in their research.

View more posts by Simon Dixon

Subscribe to Simon Dixon's posts

One response to “The Archives and Special Collections Internship”

  1. Polly White

    Hello, Mr Dixon,
    My name is Polly White. I visited the special collections there and then wrote about them in a novel called ‘What If I Go?’In particular, my protagonist came to see the Wicked Bible. If you’d like the page where the details appear or a free PDF to see for yourself, then please get back to me.
    Best regards, Polly

Leave a Reply

Network-wide options by YD - Freelance Wordpress Developer