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University Libraries

Madeline McDermott '15

By Maureen Schlangen

In the three years Madeline McDermott took to graduate at the University of Dayton, she spent a part of every semester – and often a part of every week – in the Libraries, starting with a research instruction session with Heidi Gauder, an associate professor, librarian, and coordinator of instruction and reference.

At the end of her first year, when a friend went up to the Marian Library to look for some artwork as part of an assignment, McDermott went along, and after a short tour of the space, a look at some old holy cards and a conversation with librarian and archivist Jillian Slater, McDermott leaned over to her friend and whispered, “This is what I want to do.”

Soon after that, McDermott, a history major in the Honors Program, secured internships in the U.S. Catholic Special Collection and in the University Archives and Special Collections, culminating in the design of an online archive of the University’s 2014 exhibition of the work of Dayton artist and educator Robert C. Koepnick. She also conducted background research for the Libraries’ blockbuster exhibit of rare books, Imprints and Impressions: Milestones in Human Progress.  For her senior honors thesis, she designed and launched an archive for her alma mater, Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Ill., for the school’s 125th anniversary.

Her next milestone: two master’s degrees in library and information science and public history as part of a joint program between Dominican University and Loyola University Chicago.

“When you talk about archives and public history, a lot of people think of a dusty library or an old museum,” she said. “That’s not what it is at all.”

In graduate school, she said, she’ll learn methods and strategies for data and knowledge management, digital curation, and the preservation and interpretation of historical records and artifacts. After that, she plans to work in the archives of a corporation, a school, a large nonprofit or an academic institution.

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