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IUB Archives

Behind the Curtain: Maya Cázares, Archives Assistant and Recent Graduate

Image of Maya Cazares seated at a computer workstation and smiling.

What is your title and role in the IU Libraries?

 I am a processor at University Archives where I work mostly for Dina and Katie.  My bigger projects include processing collections, but whenever needed I also update finding aids, clean up collections, organize accessions, and occasionally assist with reference questions.

What is your educational background?

I am a senior studying anthropology with minors in biology and film production– which I know are all very different, but they relate in meaningful ways for me.  I originally came into college interested in bioanthropology and genetics (thus the biology minor), and I also have an interest in documentary filmmaking as a way to make history and science more accessible.  With this wide range of interests, I wasn’t sure what career my skill set would be best suited for, but after working at University Archives I’ve realized that it puts all of my interests and skills to work.  Now I am planning on going to get my graduate degree in library science!

Tell us about your previous work experience?            

Before this job I had no experience with archives.  I had come to the archives for 3 different classes prior to working here.  After the 2nd class the archives instructor said that there are work opportunities for students at University Archives.  This was in the heart of the pandemic when I lived at home so it wasn’t possible for me to work on campus, but I put a reminder in my phone for me to reach out about working at the archives the following year once I returned to campus!  After my 3rd class came to the archives I reached out and applied and now I’ve been here for almost 2 years! 

Do you have a favorite experience from working with the IU Archives?

I really love that I learn so much everyday when I’m working.  Either learning archival techniques and skills or learning about IU history and the past.  I’ve learned so much about topics I wouldn’t have learned about otherwise!

Favorite item or collection in the IU Archives?

I love reading diaries and scrapbooks from the early 20th century!  It’s so interesting to see daily college life and how students of the past viewed IU.  Despite living 80 years before us, we actually have more in common than I’d expect (however a lot of the time they really seem to be living lavishly).  I processed the Doris Dorland Scrapbook (featuring the list of the 100+ men she dated!), but I also really fell in love with this series of letters from the Helen Wampler papers as well.  Helen was a student at IU in the 1910s.  This collection primarily features letters to her mother where she updates her on classes, extracurricular activities, and the delicious foods she has eaten!

What project are you currently working on?

I am between projects right now, but the last project I processed was records from Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. which is an organization that I am a member of.  We recently cleaned out our office and had many documents we no longer needed.  It was really special to get to process and write the finding aid for the collection since I know the organization so well.

What is something you have learned about IU by working with the Archives?

I’ve learned that the IMU has gone through so many renovations!  One time I was organizing publication accessions and I came across a variety of IMU pamphlets from over the decades.  I love looking at the map and seeing how the layout, restaurants, and shops have changed.  Did you know that the IMU used to have a hair salon and barber in the basement?  The restaurants have changed tremendously over the years.  What is now called the Vault used to be a coffee shop called Kiva.  When the IMU first opened, the south lounge used to be for men only.  All this and more from just reading pamphlets!

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