Meet your President: Kelly Wooten

Kelly Wooten photoWhat jobs have you had in the archival realm?
I’ve been the Research Services and Collection Development Librarian for the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture since 2006, and while it’s not the only job I’ve had in libraries, it is the only job I’ve had in archives.

What is your educational background?
I have a BA in English Literature and Women’s Studies and an MS in Library Science, both from UNC Chapel Hill.

What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?
I love working with students of all levels (including Girls Rock NC campers in elementary school, Duke undergraduates and graduate students from all over the world) in the classroom and as researchers in the reading room. I lead workshops to share about my work documenting women’s, girls’ and LGBTQ+ history particularly through our zine collections. I enjoy doing this outreach work because it helps people learn about the archives as well as seeing themselves as important creators of history when they make their own zines.

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
I was humbled to be recently honored with the the Blue Ribbon Diversity Award at Duke University in recognition of my work documenting women’s and LGBTQ+ history as well as my leadership with the Duke University Libraries’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. I’m very glad to be part of an organization that values working towards creating a more inclusive and diverse historical record and environment for library workers and visitors.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?
The relationships I built with archivists, librarians, and other library workers at different institutions have been the most important part of my education while I was in graduate school and for my ongoing professional development. I have been fortunate to work with colleagues who are generous with their time, energy, and expertise and have been invested in bringing along new professionals in the field. My advice is to seek out people working in archives or related areas and build meaningful connections with them.

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?
My colleagues at the Rubenstein Library are too numerous to list by name, but I have learned so much from them during my time here. I am inspired by the writings of Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor about radical empathy in archival practice and by the work of the women who participated with me on a panel on that topic at the Society of American Archivists meeting in 2016. I have also built a practice of feminist pedagogy based on the work of Maria Accardi.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
I’m excited to start work on developing a strategic plan with our board to help give us a longer-term view of our goals as an organization.

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