Evans '14 Tapped for Library of Congress Internship
April 17, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Most people wouldn’t travel from Bloomington to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. by way of Morocco, but that’s the route Illinois Wesleyan University student Nate Evans ’14 of Glen Ellyn, Ill., has taken.
In June Evans begins an internship with the Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. Evans’ interest in the internship at the largest library in the world — and library science as a vocation — stems from his study abroad experience in Morocco last spring.
A double major in international studies and religion, Evans’ program in Morocco included a journalistic component. Students developed feature stories on topics of interest; for Evans, that meant culture, religion and music. He met Vanessa Paloma, an American who is collecting sound archives and oral histories from the few thousand remaining Moroccan Jews.
Evans accompanied Paloma to interviews and assisted with cataloging and recording, with his work ultimately culminating in a story in the Reporting Morocco online magazine.
“Going along on the interviews was incredible,” recalls Evans. “Morocco was once home to more Jews than any other country in the Muslim world, but today only a few thousand are left and many are in their 60s or older. I realized it was important to preserve the history of these people, and I began to refocus my thoughts on working in library science, specifically archiving and preserving history.”
Returning to the United States, Evans began applying to graduate schools, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he will begin a master’s program in library science in August. This summer he’ll work on bibliographic records in the Library of Congress Music Division.
Bringing his journey full circle, Evans will return to Morocco in May after he graduates from Illinois Wesleyan. In Casablanca he’ll once again assist with interviews of the city’s remaining Jewish population, and help Paloma with cataloging and organizing her recordings and interviews. Evans believes that’s the type of archiving and preserving he’d like to do someday when his master’s coursework is complete.
“It’s just so important to preserve music, especially some that might not be as well known around the world, and to make it available to people,” he said.
At Illinois Wesleyan Evans has been a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the undergraduate honors organization recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences; Phi Kappa Phi, national scholastic honorary for junior and senior students; the IWU Jazz Ensemble; the men’s cross country and track and field teams; and a host on WESN, the student-run radio station.
Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960