Meet your 1st Member At Large: Leah Kerr

Kerr photoWhat job(s) have you had in the archival realm?
Currently I'm a Processing Archivist for the Rubenstein Library at Duke University. Previously, I lived in Los Angeles and was a digital archivist for REVOLT TV, a project coordinator for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, and the first archivist for the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum.

What is your educational background?
I got my Masters in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA and a B.S. in Psychology from Colorado State University.

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 discovering an object, a field, a fact, a person, or even a place I'd never heard of previously. I am very happy that I can often highlight that new knowledge to enlighten others who may have never heard of it either. I find two different areas important about my job. The first may be the obvious: saving history for inquiring minds in the future. The second is related: interesting others in doing the work of saving history.

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
I’m proud that the Rubenstein Library has taken on the mission of increasing diversity in the workforce and collections. This effort will continue with a focus on accessibility and also increasing equity and inclusion.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?
My advice would be to keep an open mind and bring all of your skills and interests into the profession. I started as a moving image archivist but soon found myself arranging and describing movie posters, books, and manuscripts. I would never have guessed that I’d currently be working with an author’s collection, but I’m glad my legal assistant and writing background helps me to understand the publishing process and gives me a familiarity with the materials I’m now processing.

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?
Every mentor I’ve had has helped me to navigate the profession. My professors, supervisors from internships, colleagues from graduate school, and certainly my coworkers each offer insight into envisioning the profession and my place in it. These folks are instrumental both in helping me to move forward in my career and in approaching an archival challenge. I frequently turn to them for inspiration and answers. Because of the assistance I’ve received, I am happy to mentor others to encourage them into the field and to be of help in any way possible.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
As the Member at Large, I'd like to learn what the membership finds important and effectively have those concerns addressed by either the Regional Archival Associations Consortium, the Society of American Archivists, and anywhere else where I'm representing SNCA.

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