Meet your Treasurer: Sean Mulligan

Sean Mulligan photoWhat jobs have you had in the archival realm?
I was hired in November 2008 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) to work as an archivist. In that position, I have primarily focused on processing and managing University Archives records. However, I have also had experience with processing several manuscript collections. Additionally, I have served as the Chair of the Staff Development Committee at Jackson Library at UNCG since 2012 and was the Chair of the Triad Area Library Association Paraprofessional Conference Planning Committee from 2016-2018.

What is your educational background?

  • Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (December 2018)
  • Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (December 2014)
  • Master of Library Science (Archival Studies) from the University of Maryland (May 2008)
  • Bachelor of Arts (History) from the University of Virginia (May 2005)

What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?
What I love most about working in the University Archives is discovering unique items that have been “hidden” from the public and bringing them to light. One my favorite exhibits that I put together focused on various historical signatures we had within our collections. This included letters and documents signed by Thomas Jefferson, Helen Keller, Booker T. Washington, and many others. It was fascinating to me to see just how many "famous" people we had letters from.

I think one of the most important aspects of my job is providing reference help to patrons in answering their information needs. I want them to have a pleasant experience in the archives and hopefully they will return in the future if they ever need to. Unfortunately, sometimes the information they are seeking just isn’t within our collections, and it is never fun having to let them know that.

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
One thing that I am particularly proud of is our effort to have all of our collections represented online in some fashion so that the public knows of their existence. When I began in 2008, we had a massive backlog of materials that were essentially hidden from the public. Utilizing MPLP, we were able to create online records for all of them. While they may only be minimally processed, I think it is more important to let others know of their existence than to have them fully processed.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?
My advice to someone looking for a career in archives, specifically in University Archives, would be to conduct informational interviews with people already in the profession to learn more. I remember how much of a shock I felt upon graduating from library school and then seeing the reality of archives. I thought everything would be nearly in order and that all collections would have nice, complete finding aids, etc. I was very eye-opening to see the reality versus literature. I think talking with other archivists will help them have a better sense of archives and allow them to build connections within the archival community.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
Having served at the SNCA Treasurer since 2014, my hope is to continue making sound financial decisions for SNCA and to keep the organization fiscally solvent during the year.

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