The College Loses Its Archivist
editor's note: Archivist Stephanie Wood will be leaving the library at the end of June. I sat down with her recently to ask about her time here.
Please tell us about your tenure as Bryan College's Archivist:(L-R: Student Michael Sherrill reads Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! during our Listen to This! Children's Books event. Student artwork from Ms. Elaine Davis' classes (and submissions from the English Department's Visual Arts contest) were on display throughout the library. Alumni Drew and Chelsea Zimmerman speak about aggressively paying off college loans during one of three Money Smart Week events.)
SW: I have worked as the College Archivist since February of 2010, although I've been at Bryan College for 13 years as Research Assistant for CORE. [Professor Emeritus and unofficial archivist] Dr. Cornelius left behind so much stuff and only he knew where it was; my goal has been to make the things he collected accessible to the rest of the college and to researchers in general. I've also been processing and preserving other donations that have come in. It's all about access. I feel like my job has been to bring order to chaos.
What has been the most rewarding thing about working in the Archives?
SW: I've really enjoyed finding things, learning more about the people of the school (Dr. Rudd, Dr. Mercer, etc.) and the founding of the school. There were so many struggles that went into founding the school that, on the face of it, it shouldn't have succeeded. I've enjoyed making exhibits, because I want to expose other people to this--have them learn about Mr. Bryan, about this school. I think we've lost a sense of the history; students today don't necessarily think about why there's even a school here. There's not much of a sense of context of how we fit into a larger work; instead there's the mindset "this is just my four years here and I'll move on."
I've enjoyed branching out from my office in the Museum, seeing students more often, and working with the library staff. I have enjoyed my time at Bryan as well, I feel like I've had fun in my job and have done it well.
What is next for you?
SW: We are starting our new nonprofit educational ministry, Core Academy of Science, and we are excited about the opportunity. (Click here for a recent news article about Core Academy.)
In Pictures: What You May Have Missed This Month:
From the Director
The BC Library is losing a great asset. Although it won’t be noticed by many, Bryan’s Archivist, Stephanie Wood will be pursuing other opportunities since her half-time position at the library was lost with the loss of funding for CORE (where she worked the other half of the time).
Shortly after I came here as the Director of Library Services, the library established the collections of the archives beginning with materials which had been saved by Dr. Richard Cornelius. “Established” here means that they were boxed up and deposited in my office where they sat until we found room for them in the closet off of the Humanities Room, where they sat some more while we struggled to find some time between myself and some volunteers to begin to organize them. We kept finding other collections in various places around campus that properly belonged in the college archives, and began collecting them.
Then Stephanie married Todd in CORE and suddenly needed to be working for someone else. CORE lost half of a position, but the library gained a half-time position with a trained archivist as she was just finishing her Certificate in Archival Science. She has been doing the tedious work of organizing and indexing the archives into collections of findable materials. She does her work quietly, preferring the background over the limelight, but she is and will be for the years to come the main reason that the library staff can find requested items from our College Archives. Her work will not be finished when she leaves us, and we will have to go back to relying on volunteers for continuing. She has left an indelible mark in the library and will be sorely missed. I certainly wish and pray for her and all of CORE the best in their new enterprise as they continue their ministry as an independent entity.
--Dr. Gary Fitsimmons