Meet Daniel Dias, Princeton University Library’s spring 2023 PACSCL Intern

Daniel Dias joined Princeton University Library (PUL) in Spring 2023 as its Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) intern. A junior at Rutgers University - New Brunswick, Dias is a history major who also works at Woodbridge Public Library as a novice archivist and local historian.

Daniel Dias in front of the Rutgers R

What was your day-to-day as an Intern at the Library?  

Throughout my internship, I was fortunate to work with a plethora of professionals in the archival and rare books fields. From cataloging staff to curators, I was able to see every aspect of Princeton’s Special Collections and University Archives. My days usually encompassed sitting in on meetings, retrieving materials for patrons, copy-cataloging, and assisting with special projects. Overall, my experiences led to a truly diverse outlook on what collections management looks like.  

Did you have a preference for any of the departments you worked with? Any favorite projects? 

I had the privilege of working with incredible staff spanning multiple departments. While I don’t think I can choose a favorite one since they are all unique in their own way, there were a few projects that I was grateful for being involved with. I thoroughly enjoyed working in Public Services and seeing the “face” of Special Collections. It was an incredible experience getting to interact with researchers and see the fascinating work they’d be conducting with PUL’s materials. I also enjoyed working with the cataloging staff and helping with the user’s experience with finding aids and catalogs. 

One of my favorite projects was returning the Toni Morrison collection back to its respective locations and boxes following the conclusion of the spring 2023 exhibition. Being able to interact with history on such a personal level was truly one of the highlights of my time at Princeton. In addition, I was able to see some brand-new software that Princeton acquired which enables images to be stitched together in order to create digital scans and even 3-D models of rare collections that cannot undergo standard digitization practices. I also worked at the Cotsen Children’s Library, where I assisted in choosing materials for the Color Our Collections initiative, and got the opportunity to sport my best wizard’s costume and dress up like Gandalf the Grey for a blog post

Overall, the privilege of being able to interact with remarkable collections was my favorite part of my internship and I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to work in a space where so many great scholars and educators have conducted research in.  

Did you learn anything interesting about the LGBTQIA+ community through your internship?  

Through this internship, I was able to learn a great deal about the community which I can call my own. The LGBTQIA+ community deserves to be in every space of academia, and I am deeply honored to have been able to be a representation of their presence in such an inviting and important space. Knowledge is power and I learned that very quickly, especially when importing new, appropriate subject headings into collection catalogs that deal with the queer community. Not only did I learn about how strong and diverse our community is, but I also learned much about my own identity and how that fits into the invaluable work that happens at PUL.

Do you have any advice for students interested in interning at the Library?   

My advice to anyone interested in interning at Princeton would be to value the lessons you learn and to seize every opportunity to ask questions. While it may seem intimidating to work at such a prestigious institution, you will find very quickly that the professional staff are warm and welcoming. Their guidance and mentorship have had a tremendous impact on my life and have shown me so much about the field I want to pursue. Whether you’re interested in history, philosophy, computer science, music, etc., Princeton University Library is a home for anyone.  

Published on September 29, 2023

Interview by Brandon Johnson, Communications Strategist

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications