Sorry for the radio silence! Over the past two weeks, we’ve had off and on issues with our websites, which disrupted our posts. We’re all good now, and here’s an overdue write up on a lovely event!
Our January event took place at the Kislak Center in the University of Pennsylvania’s library. It was a pop-up event only for STC members in their breathtakingly calm 6th floor. The dedicated librarians pulled technical manuals from their collection, some of which dated back hundreds of years. We were able to peruse these manuals in the recreated Van Pelt library, a beautifully austere study that transported us back in time.
I perused some manuals myself – my favorite was a tech manual from the 1850’s on photography – and then took the time to walk around and talk to a handful of STC folks to see what they found interesting.
STC member Jamie Sanecki was looking through a typeface book trying to find the perfect new header for her Facebook page – random slogans from the late 1800’s were still relevant today. She also told me about strange marks in another book. They were paper watermarks identifying who made each ream of paper, which she learned from her time working at the Philadelphia Art Museum. When I asked her about the Kislak Center, she said, “It’s great. I went [to Penn] and came [to the Kislak Center] sometimes and was familiar with some of the older stuff, but this is all new to me and very cool.”
I got a chance to talk to Val, one of the conservationists at Penn who helped out at the event. She’s been working there for seven years. When I asked what made it special, she said, “The collection. There are things here that you can’t find anywhere else. The dedication of the staff, [too].”
Albert Brown, another STC member, took some time to talk with me as well. He was a technical writer/editor with a dot matrix printer company. What he liked about the event was, “The atmosphere. I don’t think I could live in it,” he said with a smile, after I said I’d love to live here, “But as a place to work, a place to study, it’s great.” He finds it interesting that, “There are bits and pieces of the old panelling that is sprinkled among the modern spaces, and it sets the tone when you’re working.”
STC member Todd DeLuca had a concise overview of the collection as a whole, “The breadth and variety of topics of interests are across different spectrums that gives information into different spheres of life across different time periods. There are handbooks here for priests, engineers, and homemakers. This ties into a wide range of audiences, just like Tech Comm today.”
Thank you so much to the Kislak Center for their partnership with STC-PMC. If you’d like to see more photos of the event, please look here.