Today I got to experience one of the best parts of my job. We had a class from the local university come in to do some research for a class project. They joined the ranks of the lucky few who were able to have a full tour of the archives, including walking through one floor of the stacks. It is always great hearing people say how cool it is and how great it must be that I get to work there every day. I think it is also a different experience when a researcher realizes just how much information a particular repository holds.
After the tour, they went back into the research room where we had laid out a bunch of materials for their assignment. We let them look on their own for the most part, but were around to answer questions and help with explanations of the various materials. They seemed to have a great time investigating the local people and businesses their teacher had assigned them. It is always nice to see smiles and hear the excitement at the discovery of information. Though the encoding and other processing takes a long time, it is the work with the public, especially students, that I find most gratifying.