Meet your President: Chrystal Carpenter

Chrystal Carpenter photoWhat jobs have you had in the archival realm?

I have worked in many different types of archival repositories and had various job descriptions throughout the years. When I first started, like many recent graduates I found non-permanent employment - first cataloging rare books for a Research I institution’s academic library, then transitioned to the institution's Anthropological/Archaeological Museum doing metadata – both original cataloging and EAD work.  My first permanent position was with the Arizona Historical Society as the photo archivist, and  a few years later I became the Manuscript and Congressional Archivist at the University of Arizona.  Utilizing the range of experience I obtained under these various institutions and roles, I started to seek out management/leadership roles – first as the Head of Archives at a science non-profit, the J. Craig Venter Institute, and now as the Coordinator of University Archives & Special Collections at Elon University.

What is your educational background?

I have an M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona.  I became a certified archivist in 2008, and a member of the 2013 Archives Leadership Institute cohort.

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 people – both internally within my organization and with researchers who utilize our collections.  I like being in a position/space that allows me to work towards effecting positive change – whether it is at a University policy level, service in a professional organization, within my library or department – and even more so on connecting one-on-one with colleagues, peers, or future archivists.

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.

I am very proud of the work I contributed to as a member of the Committee on Elon History and Memory.  The Provost appointed Committee was created to explore questions related to historical memory and collective identity at Elon University.  This past fall the Committee published our final report ( and would encourage folks to check it out – and I'm happy to talk with people who are undertaking (or undertook) similar work at NC institutions as this important work is ongoing.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?

Connect with people in the field and learn about their experiences, hear about the challenges and opportunities our profession faces – reach out and connect!  If possible explore ways to have some hands on experiences as well.

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?

There is no one person or specific author but a mix of both. However, I would be remiss to not mention the literature and trailblazers that work on archival theory/practice with a social justice and human rights framework. Additionally, my experience as a member of the 2013 Archives Leadership Institute had a profound impact on shaping my professional outlook.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?

This past year with Covid impacting all of our lives my goals have continued to shift – my main hope is that as an organization SNCA can continue to enhance our connection with the archival community in meaningful and impactful ways – from virtual education and social sessions to supporting the SAA Archival Workers Emergency Fund.

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