Meet new Steering Committee member: Liz Scott

Liz Scott (she/her) is an Archivist & Special Collections Librarian and Assistant Professor at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and has worked at a variety of institutions during her career. Liz is a member of the Society of American Archivists, the American Library Association, and has been a certified archivist through the Academy of Certified Archivists since 2006. Additionally, she is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) where she is a member of the Nominations Committee. She belongs to several local organizations including the Monroe County Historical Association (MCHA) and the Museum and Library Alliance of the Greater Lehigh Valley (MLA). Liz received an MLS from the University at Albany, SUNY and a BA in history and English from Dickinson College. She is currently working toward her second master’s degree in the English department at East Stroudsburg University. Her research interests  include archivists in academia, art and archives, service-learning in libraries and archives and web archiving.

Photo from Liz Scott

Why or how did you find your way to becoming an archivist?

I feel really lucky to have discovered archives when I was in college. I got a job as a student in Dickinson College’s archives and special collections and from day one I was hooked. I had finally found the perfect career for a history major. After considering teaching and law, the archives job felt like the perfect fit. I was lucky enough to get a paraprofessional job at Lafayette College after graduating from Dickinson and soon realized I wanted to go to graduate school. My boss was a great mentor to me and encouraged me to leave even though she would have to find someone to replace me. I feel very lucky to have been involved with this field now since the age of 20 which is over half of my life.

Can you share a success you’ve had in your repository recently?

As a lone arranger, it is all about the small things for me! We just launched our university’s institutional repository for which I am partly responsible. We have a librarian who is solely dedicated to the graduate theses and I have been working to populate it with faculty publications, student projects, jazz materials, and records from the archives and special collections. Getting the archives and special collections accessible is one of my biggest priorities so I am excited for the materials to finally be online.

What current or future project are you most excited about in your archives?

I am really excited about getting our art collections online into CollectiveAccess. There is a University Art & Sculpture Collection and then we have another collection dedicated to the local folk artist Sterling Strauser and some of his artist friends. I only have spreadsheets and an Access database as organizational tools. Our state school library network asked if I would be a guinea pig and test out CollectiveAccess and then train other repositories in how to use the software. I am excited to get these works of art and sculpture online so that people can see our collections.

What are some of the challenges you face in your position?

I think the biggest challenge is splitting my time as a librarian and an archivist. On the librarian side I teach information literacy sessions, am a liaison to eight departments on campus, and staff the all-virtual reference desk for several hours a week. This takes away time from doing the things archivists need to do like accessions, organizing records, and getting materials digitized and online. In the past, it had gotten so bad that I needed to schedule time into my day just to do archival work. We recently lost a librarian position so there is even more work. I do not want to let my colleagues down so I continue to work on library projects. We work a few weeks in the summer and this is when I get most of my archival work done. Even though I have been in this job for almost five years, I am still finding that balance. I hope that someday the majority of my work will be archives related vs. library related.

What projects do you envision the section undertaking during your time on the steering committee?

I am really interested in tenure and promotion for archivists. I have been working with my research group on the subject for several years where we have done three presentations on the subject including an SAA session and an SAA Research Forum topic. We are just about to finish an article on that same topic. When I got my tenure-track job, it was hard to find resources and information about archivists and tenure. There was plenty about librarians and tenure but largely not a lot of scholarship or even just blogs and other resources where I could find information. It may be because so many archivists are lumped in as librarians that they assume the information good for a librarian is good for an archivist. I am going to be working on a Tenure & Promotion Pathways as a Steering project that will work to create resources for those in tenured and tenure-track positions. I will also be leading a few Coffee Chats in October, November and December on various subjects. I am really looking forward to being a contributing member of the C&U Steering.

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