Meet your Development Chair: Karen Feeney

Karen Feeney pictureWhat jobs have you had in the archival realm?
I have been an archivist at the Forsyth County Public Library, and for the past year I have been supervisor of the North Carolina Collection in the same library. I manage the book collection, archives, and photo collection to some extent. We have a staff archivist and a photograph collection librarian whom I supervise. They are very knowledgeable so we discuss things with each other but they have a lot of responsibility and autonomy within their special collection areas.

What is your educational background?
I have a BA in Anthropology and MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I did have a teaching license for social studies that I earned as an undergraduate but since I am not teaching I have let that expire. I use my teaching education pretty often when I create genealogy programs at the library. I am also a certified archivist.

What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is that I can work with people. I enjoy meeting new people and learning new things I haven't known before. The majority of our patrons that visit our special collections are local, but we often have visitors from other states and other countries. I am always learning something new about genealogy, local history, and people in general. The most important part of my job is facilitating and providing for the needs of my community. That may be in genealogy instruction, partnering with local organizations for exhibits, collecting materials they request or donate, or making our local history room a hub in the community for people to gather and research their own personal histories and to connect with each other.

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
We have space in our new downtown library for community artwork and exhibits. I am really proud that we can partner with individuals and organizations in our community to bring engaging and interesting exhibits to the public. I recently worked with the Children's Home Alumni Association to bring an exhibit on the history of the Children's Home to our Central Library. It is extensive and has been really popular.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?
I would suggest that you get involved in the local community. Whether searching for a job in a university, museum, historical society, or public library, knowing the people you will serve is a great advantage. Also, I would suggest learning about the types of collections that you want to work with, either through an educational setting or service learning. Expertise with a particular type of collection, whether textiles, paper, artwork, etc., can be advantageous and help you stand out in job interviews.

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?
I can't say that I have one person who has shaped my professional outlook. I tend to take from different people bits and pieces of behaviors and knowledge that I find practical. I would say my professional outlook has been shaped by my college professors, my library supervisors, and other professionals I work with on the job and in leadership roles. It has also been shaped in a large part by the piles of archival literature that I studied for archival certification.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
I hope to at least make the Development Committee a self-sustaining arm of the organization. Fundraising is challenging, but I hope to work with the committee to develop some pathways to funding that the next chair and committee members can pick up and run with to keep our organization on solid financial footing.

This entry was posted in Newsletter and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.