Published: Oct. 11, 2019

To celebrate American Archives Month, the University Libraries want to introduce to you our amazing archival team. With 50,000 linear feet of collection materials, the University Libraries Archives are some of the oldest and largest in the state of Colorado. The Archives are heading in an exciting direction with current and forthcoming projects, and we wanted to give them a platform to share what it's like to work in the Archives, and why they are important for the present day and the years to come. 

Ashlyn Velte, Processing Archivist 

Ashlyn Velte

What do you like about the University Libraries Archives?

"I like how interesting our collections are and the opportunity we have as archivists to improve their accessibility! As an archivist, I see my job as improving access to collections by making sure that researchers are able to discover and navigate through them online and that they know how to contact us with questions. At this archive, there are so many opportunities to make small improvements that have big impacts on how people discover our collections. Improving how people find these archival materials means that we’re providing access to information you literally can’t find anywhere else."

Megan Friedel, Head of Archives 

Megan Friedel

What excites you about the future of the Archives?

"I’m really excited by the Archives’ current priority to actively reach out to and document communities on the CU Boulder campus that have traditionally not been well-represented in our collections. This fall, we are heading up a project to document the long and vibrant history of Japanese and Japanese American communities at CU Boulder, in honor of the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt suspending Executive Order 9066. It’s an amazing and humbling experience to work with communities to build collections that reflect diversity and inclusion and to preserve the stories of people who the historical record has intentionally or unintentionally excluded in the past."

Jamie Wagner, Moving Image Archivist 

Jamie Wagner

What do you like about the University Libraries Archives? 

"In our moving image collections, we have an amazing variety of material that you literally can't find anywhere else. We have original scientific and anthropological research, industrial training films, educational films, oral history interviews, home movies, filmed performances, and avant-garde art films. There is so much more in film archives than old Hollywood movies."

Walker Sampson, Digital Archivist 

Walker Sampson

What excites you about the future of the Archives?

"Archives have experienced a big uptick in digitizing materials for access online, but I am really excited about the future of natively digital material going online as well. All our work is done increasingly on computers: our correspondence, our drafts and documents, our photos and “film” are all digital not to mention our websites and online activity. At the Archives, we get growing numbers of this content  on floppy disks, hard drives, USB sticks and a variety of others and it is very rewarding work to turn this content around to our researchers."

Jennifer Sanchez, Photographic Archivist 

Jennifer Sanchez

What do you like about the University Libraries Archives?

"What I enjoy about the Archives is that it is a little bit like a historical society and university archives. Since history professors on campus who gathered primary resources for their research started it in 1918, the Archives contains a mix of some regional history alongside historical campus documents. I love the variety and the way it extends beyond the campus to be relevant to all researchers. I believe that a university is the epitome of expanded knowledge and I am proud that this archive is the bedrock of that information."

David Hays, Archivist II

David Hays

What do you like about the University Libraries Archives?

"I am fascinated by the stories one can discover on a wide range of topics. They span more than a century and a half, regarding a broad spectrum of people: from Southern Utes in Ignacio, Colorado, to pacifist women in the International League for Peace and Freedom, to immigrant coal miners in the 1920s, to early CU Boulder civil rights efforts, to Japanese American instructors and their students in the Navy Japanese Language school during World War II, to distinguished faculty of the University in all disciplines, and much more. No matter how long one works with these collections there is always more testimony, more evidence, and more source material."

Kalyani Fernando, Archivist

Kalyani Fernando

What excites you about the future of the Archives?

"I’m especially excited about our mission to make diversity and inclusion a priority for collections within the University Libraries Archives and in future acquisitions. I know what it feels like to rarely see one’s history reflected in primary sources. When I do find something, it is often a grounding experience. To be visually and historically represented is incredibly valuable for everyone. Our efforts to work with underrepresented communities to document their stories at CU Boulder is an important and exciting step, especially with communities whose experiences have been previously omitted. When we seek to fill the gaps in the historical record and make a variety of experiences and points of view available to the researcher, the more nuanced that historical period becomes."

Thank you all for all that you do!