lori Since joining the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries as Special Collections Librarian for Historical Manuscripts, I have successfully implemented initiatives to improve library processes, increasing access to special collections and the visibility of our department and the library within the university community and the Rochester area.

As a leader and manager, I encourage staff to work across our department, the library, and with faculty and students, to best meet the needs of our patrons. I work closely with these staff members to provide them support in their roles. Through annual and ongoing goal setting we work to ensure that they accomplish tasks linked to our department goals and library strategic priorities, while giving them the opportunity to pursue professional interests. My supervisory role builds on my extensive experience collaborating with diverse stakeholders to help my staff navigate these complex relationships.

Improving library processes, and collaborating with faculty and staff

Under my leadership as the Post Digitization Project Manager we exposed 2,000 letters documenting nineteenth-century Rochester activism to an international audience. I developed transcription guidelines, and implemented workflows for scanning and uploading images, transcriptions, and student work to the project’s website. After the 2012 project launch, I published an article in Archival Outlook. These processes served as a model for the Seward Family Editorial Project, and will impact workflows for upcoming digitization and transcription of Susan B. Anthony Papers in support of a possible History course on international women’s activism. This project is funded by the same donor as the Post Project which I view as one testament to the success of that project.

In keeping with departmental goals to adhere to archival best practices and become part of the broader archival community, I led planning and implementation of ArchivesSpace. I collaborated with members of our IT units, communicated with the vendor and staff to schedule a three day training workshop, and collaborated with the Rochester Regional Library Council (RRLC) to offer training to the greater Rochester community in addition to our library staff. I developed workflows and guidelines for use of ArchivesSpace and worked with Memorial Art Gallery’s archives department to set up a MAG repository within our installation. I am currently leading a related project to migrate legacy finding aids from HTML to EAD-encoded XML documents to improve consistency and adherence to archival descriptive standards.

As part of a solution to our department’s unprocessed backlog, in collaboration with the Head of Metadata Services, I initiated a processing pilot pairing cataloging staff with outreach librarians. We developed training materials, a processing manual, and co-led two training sessions. As a result of our project, staff processed and made discoverable five collections. We presented on this project at the fall 2013 MARAC conference, and published a peer-reviewed article in Archival Practice.

My collaboration with library staff extends to participation in library committees, including the 2012 Strategic Planning and Implementation Team (and as a returning member in 2016), the 2012-2013 Digital Asset Management Task Force, and the 2012 Annex Working group. I served as 2012 and 2013 co-chair for the annual Halloween event, Scare Fair. I have served on a number of library search committees.

My work with faculty and staff demonstrates a record of collaboration and contribution to university efforts beyond the library. I currently serve on the Information Literacy Task Force, a joint effort by the library and the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program to create information literacy standards for the Writing 105 curriculum. In addition to maintaining existing relationships with faculty, I have expanded our outreach to faculty not traditionally served by our department, by holding instruction sessions for a musical engineering class and an introduction to chemistry class. Beyond supporting the curriculum, I collaborated with department staff, faculty and students, as well as outside researchers to mount the 2013-14 exhibition Nurturing Inquiry: Exploring Special Collections. I have supported faculty research projects and provided advanced bibliographic work to aid the Seward Project launch and curriculum development, and the Wit and Wisdom of Susan B. Anthony, a project led by the Director of the Susan B. Anthony Center.

Grant applications and donor relations

I contributed to the library’s successful 2013 Emerson Foundation grant application, which provides support to the Seward Family Editorial Project, a collaborative project between our department, the library’s Digital Humanities Center, and History Professor Tom Slaughter. In addition to direct project support, the grant funds a project archivist who I supervise. In consultation with the department’s director, I wrote the job description, developed our search criteria for this position, and led the search committee that led to a successful hire.

My work with donors has evolved since my initial role as Post Project Manager. In consultation with colleagues, the RBSCP director, and Advancement I have participated in developing processes to standardize acceptance of gifts in kind. I developed a template for letters of acknowledgement and initiated use of an updated standard deed of gift form, derived from a 2012 ARL best practices. Through these initiatives, I have helped to ensure that we communicate consistently with donors.

Teaching, presentations, and professional development

In 2014 I initiated a graduate internship program to provide local LIS and museum studies students with experiential training in special collections-related activities. These internships under my supervision have included processing collections, transcribing manuscripts and mounting an exhibition, as well as participating in department outreach efforts. For the past two years I have supported university goals outside the traditional curriculum by co-teaching the course, Hands-On History: Telling Stories with Stuff as part of the university’s Pre-College Rochester Scholars program. This class will form the basis of an upcoming talk my co-teacher and I will be giving at this year’s SAA conference.

I am currently pursuing an EdD in Higher Education Leadership at the Warner School. In 2016, I will complete the course requirements and begun work on the dissertation. In 2014, I enrolled in three day-long immersion courses as part of the joint SAA-ARL Digital Archives Specialist certificate program. In 2013, I completed RRLC’s Library Instruction Leadership Academy, which provides pedagogical training to librarians to augment their teaching methods.

My engagement with the library profession includes professional development activities. I serve as co-chair of the new Teaching with/about Primary Sources (a sub-committee of SAA’s Reference, Access, and Outreach Section). I proposed, chaired, and presented sessions at the 2013 and 2014 SAA annual conferences. I proposed Rochester as the site for the 2014 MARAC, and co-chaired the Local Arrangements Committee. In 2013 I co-founded Rochester Early-Career Information Professionals (RECIP), and co-wrote a successful grant application that received the 2013 Harold Hacker Fund for the Advancement of Libraries Award, funding a free one day leadership conference that attracted attendees from across the region.

I have taught two RRLC workshops: on archival practices in 2014, and one co-taught with Kristen Totleben, Modern Languages and Cultures Outreach Librarian, on our collaborative instruction model. Our experience developing this model and co-teaching instructions sessions led us to submit a successful book proposal to ACRL for a forthcoming edited monograph titled: Collaborating for Impact: Partnerships Between Special Collections Librarians and Subject Specialists.