Simmons Graduate Student Interns at National Baseball Hall of Fame

July 27, 2017

Intern Hanna Soltys with Ted Williams Bat

Hanna Soltys '17LS filled us in on her work at the National Baseball Hall of Fame

What are you studying at Simmons?

Library and Information Science: Archives Management Concentration.

Tell us about your work at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

I’m focused on the outreach portion of library sciences. The Center’s patron inquiries happen onsite, on the phone, and by email. We receive queries from curious fans, family members seeking answers about their ball playing relatives, researchers, and the media.

To address these queries, I consult Central Archives (home to a plethora of materials include scrapbooks, various papers and manuscripts, team publications, league publications, and books), the Hall of Fame’s digital repository PASTIME, the AV Archives, and the Photo Archives. Rather than processing collections and inputting metadata, I’m learning how a collection serving as the expert is used to help answer and solve questions.

What's it like to combine your love of baseball and librarianship?

A Cardinals fan through and through (though a recent fan of Fenway Park), baseball has always been a part of me. From St. Louis to Chicago to Boston, I’ve called some of the greatest baseball towns home, and have always had a desire to work in the sport, though I didn’t know what my place could be. 

When you combine a passion with your skill set, the day flies by. The work is more meaningful, and it’s very easy to get invested. Plus, walking through the Plaque Gallery (home to 317 plaques honoring the greatest players in baseball history) is a complete rush and daily dose of inspiration that sure beats the traditional morning commute.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Boston’s Teddy Ballgame has been my Hall of Fame crush all summer long (don’t tell Stan Musial).

What have you learned in your internship?

I’ve learned and seen firsthand the importance of collaboration when it comes to your library and archives. Staff of all levels will direct the public, media, researchers, and players to the Research Center. Because of this, it’s vital that you’re properly advocating for yourself, proving your worth, and helping those outside of your department understand your offerings.

The reference interview is by far the most important skill I learned at the Simmons School of Library and Information Science. Too often a patron comes up wanting information on a ball player without a clear idea of what they hope to find. There’s a lot you can throw at them and it is through a carefully crafted, yet impromptu, reference interview that you can make the interaction meaningful.

How did you hear about the internship? 

I learned about this opportunity from the Simmons Jobline and immediately applied. It was with great surprise and joy to learn fellow Simmons alumnae/i are on staff at the Hall and have completed this internship as well. As luck would have it, the woman I worked with on my LIS 442 Management Study completed the internship five years ago!

I didn’t have much experience in a public library or archive before this internship as my previous experience is in the private and corporate sectors. That said, I learned valuable research skills and how to work with various levels of senior leadership and staff, which has helped my experience thus far.

How did your coursework at SLIS prepare you for your internship? 

When I applied for this internship, I began looking at archival positions within baseball clubs– noticing the Red Sox have a museum curator responsible for building exhibits and maintaining the collection. When I received my LIS 442 Management Study assignment (now LIS 442 Establishing Archives and Manuscript Programs), I set my sights on Fenway to learn more about archives in baseball. This assignment solidified my eagerness to step up to the plate and begin work in the field for this summer.

Seeing as my role is very public facing, I’m continually drawing upon key learnings from LIS 407 Reference and Information Services (now LIS 407 Information Sources and Services) with Adjunct Professor Debbie Froggatt. It’s often easy to think of archives and libraries as trapped in the (cold) vaults and stacks, but when it comes to access, truly understanding your patron base is essential. The quick reference interview you conduct with a patron determines whether or not the seek-and-find will be successful.

Find more information about The Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development.

Top photo: Hanna Soltys holds the bat used by Ted Williams in the 1957 All-Star game in St. Louis. This bat was also used in the latter portion of the 1957 season when Teddy Ballgame compiled a .388. 

Bottom photo: Simmons SLIS students and alumni at the National Baseball Hall of Fame: MS student Dylan Drolette, Photo Archives Assistant; Rebecca Finnigan '17LS Frank & Peggy Steele Intern, Photo Archives; MS student Hanna Soltys, Frank & Peggy Steele Intern, Library Research; Kelliann Bogan '07LS Manager of Photo Archives.