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2023 PACSCL Board Candidates

The 2023 elections for the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries, Inc. open on Wednesday, April 12th. Representatives of PACSCL member institutions have until 11:45pm on April 21st to cast their votes. Representatives are encouraged to discuss the candidates with staff at their institutions prior to casting their votes.

There are six candidates for four Class B seats. Class B directors must be representatives of member institutions. There are three candidates for two Class C seats. Class C directors are staff at member institutions. Lastly, there is one current director seeking appointment for a second term.

Each candidate was asked to provide a brief bio as well as a response to this question: What will you bring to PACSCL?

Class B Candidates

Lois Fisher Black, Curator of Special Collections/Lehigh University

Lois plays a pivotal role furthering special collections visibility through community outreach. Lois’s collaborative approach was shaped by Special Collections positions at University of Delaware, NY Academy of Medicine, and NCSU before being appointed Lehigh’s Curator in 2006. Lois brings strategies for Board discussions and was PI for PACSCL-CLIR’s digitization project BiblioPhilly. She contributes to professional and community organizations, holding offices and committee appointments in RBMS and PACSCL. Her career is replete with examples of making meaningful contributions to the profession that include developing guidelines, strategic planning, and mentorship.

Lois brings PACSCL support from Lehigh’s Library and Technology Services (LTS). LTS takes a leadership role in developing effective methods of education, including the creative use of information technology in teaching, scholarship, and library resources. Central to its mission, LTS added a digital archivist to collect, preserve and make discoverable born-digital material. Digitization efforts have included collaborative projects and community partnerships.

Jennifer Garcon, Librarian for Modern and Contemporary Special Collections/Princeton University

I’ve been engaged in PACSCL since moving to the DVAG region in 2018 and have welcomed the opportunity to be in conversation with colleagues while developing and refining my approach to post-custodial practice, DEI, and cultural competency in community-facing library work. Through PACSCL colleagues, I became involved in Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia as a member of the steering community and have implemented community archiving pilots to support local conservation and preservation efforts in West Philadelphia. What brings me to PACSCL is the belief that a collaborative and consortium model can positively contribute infrastructural support to small cultural heritage institutions in the region, in support of the care of materials pertaining to communities often absent traditional repositories. Joining the board presents an opportunity to contribute to the existing work being done in this space, via the Chronicling Resistance, In Her Own Right, and the Hidden Collections Projects. In collaboration with my PACSCL colleagues, I’m hoping to find ways to expand this work.

Bettina Hess, Librarian/German Society of Pennsylvania

As the only permanent staff member in my library, I bring to PACSCL the perspective of smaller libraries that rely on only a few employees and volunteers to get everything done. As head of the German Society’s Horner Library for the past 8 years, I have worked on all aspects of library operations, including cataloging, reference, digitization, programming, budgeting and grant-writing. Being part of the PACSCL community has been invaluable for the German Society. Our PACSCL membership has enabled us to get advice from larger libraries with more specialized staff, participate in grant projects such as In Her Own Right, and other collaborative efforts, like the OPAC group we are currently part of. I think it is important for PACSCL to represent special collections libraries of all sizes, and for this reason would like to add my voice to the PACSCL Board.

Mike Lear, Rare Collections Librarian/State Library of Pennsylvania

Michael Lear is the Rare Collections Librarian at the State Library of Pennsylvania/Office ofCommonwealth Libraries (OCL) where he manages a collection of 70,000 rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, etc. including a large collection of Pennsylvania imprints and approximately 500 surviving volumes of the of the 18 th century PA colonial assembly library. Michael serves on OCL’s Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion Committee as well as PACSCL’s DEI Committee. He previously worked as a library assistant in the Archives and Special Collections at Franklin and Marshall College Library and as a costumed interpreter at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum.

Regarding what I bring to PACSCL are diverse experiences in three of the four types of GLAM work, an interest in promoting professional development, sources of funding, and learning opportunities for smaller community organizations. As geographic outlier institutional member, I would like to encourage other Central Pennsylvania institutions to see the value in joining PACSCL.

Nancy Loi (she/her), Assistant Librarian/Rosenbach Museum & Library

I am the Assistant Librarian at the Rosenbach Museum and Library and a member of the PACSCL OPAC group and DEI Committee. As a newer member rep to PACSCL, I am eager to learn from my peers and make connections across our institutions. If elected to the PACSCL board, I will bring my experience in managing projects, an ability to grasp new processes quickly, and an appreciation for the complexity that often comes with the work we do. I am committed to fostering a welcoming, inclusive environment for library and archives workers and the communities we serve.

Caitlin Rizzo, Archivist/Institute for Advanced Study

Caitlin Rizzo is the Archivist for the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center at the Institute for Advanced Study located in Princeton, New Jersey. Caitlin recently re-located to the greater Philadelphia region and is excited to be serving as one of the newest Member Representatives to PACSCL. Caitlin has worked in a variety of libraries/archives, including the Library of Congress, University of Maryland, Folger Shakespeare Library, and Pennsylvania State University as well as service organizations. She hopes to bring this diversity of experience and a dedication to advocacy for the profession to this position. 

Class C Candidates

Jessica Lydon, Brooke Dolan Archivist/Academy of Natural Sciences

As a near life-long resident of Philadelphia, I am deeply rooted in the area, its history, and its special collections. I have had the opportunity to work at five PACSCL member institutions from a graduate student intern at the University of Pennsylvania, Biddle Law Library Archives through my current position as Brooke Dolan Archivist at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Library and Archives. I understand and value the need and benefits of strong collaborative partnerships and consortial approaches to methods of access and resource development in both large and small repositories. As a staff member of an institution that is deeply committed to recontextualizing holdings that tend toward expansionist and imperial treatment of marginalized communities, I am eager to ideate and implement strategies for collaborative work that foregrounds historically unacknowledged voices, particularly within the history of science. Thank you for your consideration.

Synatra Smith, CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for African American Studies/Philadelphia Museum of Art

I am an Afrofuturist cultural preservationist focused on the ways in which extended reality (XR) and other digital humanities tools transform access to special collections and archives through a Black speculative methodology. I currently serve as the co-chair of the Advocates for Black Representation staff working group at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and I am the primary mentor for the LEADING Fellows program at the Temple University Libraries Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio hosted through Drexel University. I am also in an Association of African American Museums working group to identify ways to build capacity for member institutions through traveling, shared, and collaborative exhibitions, and I have been consulting as a researcher for various organizations. As a PACSCL board member, I am eager for the opportunity to continue to advocate for the interests of institutions and individuals committed to the preservation of African-descended cultures and communities.

Gabriela Zoller, Senior Technical Services Librarian/Science History Institute

I am a huge fan of Philadelphia and our unique collections, and I would bring to PACSCL a commitment to making these collections relevant and accessible to more people in our community.  I have 17 years experience in technical services roles in special collections libraries, and I care deeply about the challenges and opportunities of reaching our users through databases and online catalogs.  In recent years, I’ve become equally interested in figuring out how we can make our in-person and virtual spaces feel less intimidating or esoteric to the average person. I think part of the answer lies in the newest generation of librarians, and I believe strongly in the importance of mentoring new and potential librarians.  And finally, I would bring humor and a calm energy to working with PACSCL and its members.

Second Term Appointment

Heather Willever-Farr, Special Collections Librarian/LaSalle University

Over the past few years, I have endeavored to be a committed and active PACSCL board member. Serving on the strategic planning team, I helped to fashion PACSCL’s short- and long-term goals with an eye to professional development programming. I am the co-chair of the Program and Membership Engagement Committee and am proud of the committee’s collaborative efforts with the DEI committee to develop a slate of programming around reparative work. Additionally, I played a leadership role in organizing PACSCL’s first conference for K-12 teachers and in the ongoing efforts of the newly-formed K-12 outreach working group. In collaboration with Celia Caust-Ellenbogen, I helped to establish PACSCL’s Teachers Advisory Group and continue to manage the group. I believe strongly in PACSCL’s mission and hope to further serve this successful consortium.