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My WHRC Experience

by Sally Harper, GFWC New Mexico president-elect


I was fascinated when, at the end of her presentation “Saving & Sharing Your Stories” workshop at the 2008 International Convention in Chicago, WHRC Director Gail McCormick extended an invitation to the attendees to volunteer with the WHRC.

I had just completed a degree in Library Science and I work part-time at an academic library in New Mexico. I had done some research in our state archives for Gail and WHRC Collections and Outreach Coordinator Ashley Carver in the past, and I really enjoyed searching out information and helping bring our GFWC NM clubwomen the recognition that they deserve.

Since I planned to be in the D.C. area for the holidays, I asked if I could volunteer at the WHRC during that time; my offer was graciously accepted.

When I arrived at Headquarters, Gail and Ashley welcomed me and took me to the office where I would be working.  My job would be to help catalog books for the WHRC’s research library collection. Gail gave me a tutorial on the PastPerfect collections management software program that the WHRC uses. I was then able to search the Library of Congress and WorldCat databases for the books that have been donated to the WHRC, and do “copy-cat” or overlay cataloging into the WHRC’s electronic catalog. Gail or Ashley was always available to answer any questions that arose, so I felt comfortable working with this new program.

My two days at the WHRC passed too quickly. It was a real pleasure to work closely with Gail and Ashley and I plan to volunteer again when I am in the D.C. area. There is a treasure trove of history in the WHRC and I can’t emphasize enough how rewarding it is to help make that information available to scholars and other GFWC clubwomen.


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