Getting to Know You? Introductions at Archives, Libraries, Labs

This summer I had the good fortune, thanks to the generosity of a number of institutions,  to make several trips to archives and libraries to do dissertation research. (Not to mention the good graces of a wife who is herself a graduate student and a baby who has spent two of her eleven months away from home.) I spent as much as two weeks at some institutions, as little as an afternoon at others. The mode was probably a week.

At every archive or library, the staff was unstintingly generous and helpful. I even met one archivist who was a ProfHacker reader. The expressions of gratitude in the acknowledgements of all the books I read (and one day in mine, I hope) are no less sincere for being commonplace.

Still, I have the feeling that I didn’t get to know the archivists and librarians as well as I ought to have, and that the shortcoming was my fault. I am not particularly outgoing. Judging by the number of ProfHacker and Chronicle posts about introversion or introducing yourself, I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

So I put the question to you: How do you go about introducing yourself and getting to know the staff at archives, libraries, labs, and other places where you do short-term work?


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