University of Wisconsin–Madison

Alumni Profile: Rachel Behnke (MA’16)

Rachel Behnke (MA’16) shared the path to landing her dream job at the Library of Congress National Audiovisual Conservation Center.

I started Library School in 2014 with an interest in film preservation. Film was my background. I had spent the last few years working at film festivals, museums, and cinemas and all the jobs I wanted required an MLIS. I was thrilled when I was accepted to UW-Madison. After classes began, I realized I wanted to learn even more about moving image preservation and archiving. Moving image preservation is a niche specialization, so offerings are limited. I expanded my search for opportunities and was lucky enough to get a summer internship at the Academy Film Archive and volunteered in the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research during my final semester.

Next, I attended the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in Rochester, New York and earned a certificate in film and media preservation in June 2017. Within days of my graduation, I started my current position as a Library Technician at the Library of Congress National Audiovisual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. My job involves working in the vaults, processing incoming collections, and assessing the preservation needs of nitrate films, some of which are in advanced stages of decomposition. Having a degree from the iSchool has been extremely beneficial to me and was a huge factor in landing my dream job. I am surrounded by extraordinary people and get to do what I love every day. To pay it forward, I can only pass on what I learned in the process: Be open to every opportunity. Be honest with yourself about what you want and go after it. Create your own road map. Jump!