CARA Discusses Volunteers and Interns and Celebrates 5 Years of Fellowship and Learning

"What a volunteer can be: someone who is ready to do superhuman tasks that will stun you and surprise you--they're really an inspiration."--Ed Valauskas, panelist at CARA fall meeting 2013

On Thursday, November 7, CARA held its fall meeting at Dominican University in River Forest. More than 20 came for the business meeting, lunch/networking session, and panel discussion on the topic Working with Volunteers and Interns.

During the business meeting, outgoing CARA President Malachy McCarthy gave a summary of the genesis and history of CARA. He introduced Jerice Barrios and Patricia Carroll as the new President and Vice President of the organization. At that point, Jerice took the floor and named the third member of the CARA Steering Committee, Audra Adomenas, who will act as CARA's liaison to Chicago Area Archivists (CAA). All these appointments were approved by voice vote of the membership. The meeting marked the fifth anniversary of CARA, which has been led since the beginning by the following Steering Committee members:

  • Malachy McCarthy, President
  • Diane Pugh, Vice President
  • Sr. Joella Cunnane, Secretary
  • Joan Sweeney, Communications Coordinator
  • Richard Seidel, Treasurer and Membership Coordinator (Richard passed away earlier this year, and is much missed)
A moment was taken to appreciate their contributions toward five years of CARA programming and camaraderie. The group then enjoyed lunch, including a cake that was ceremoniously cut and served by Joan Sweeney and Malachy McCarthy.
Joan Sweeney and Malachy McCarthy cut the CARA cake
After lunch, Patricia Carroll introduced the panelists and acted as moderator for the discussion on working with volunteers and interns in archives and special libraries. The expert panelists were

  • Nina Cummings, Photo Archivist at The Field Museum,
  • Aaron Reisberg, Archivist for The McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies,
  • Edward Valauskas, curator of rare books at the Lenhardt Library of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Panelists Ed Valauskas, Nina Cummings, and Aaron Reisberg
Panelists emphasized the importance of fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between an institution and its interns and volunteers. They shared practical suggestions from their own experiences on how to provide an educational and enriching internship or volunteer experience. The panel graciously took questions from the audience. The final festivity was the awarding of Door Prizes, with each panelist choosing a winner from the audience.
CARA thanks Dominican University for generously hosting the meeting and giving us the opportunity to connect with and learn from our colleagues. We look forward to meeting again in Spring of 2014!