Librarians and Archivists Working Together

September 08, 2015

Jeannette Bastian and Donna Webber Publish a Book to Guide Librarian-Archivist Collaborations

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Jeannette Bastian and Associate Professor of Practice Donna Webber co-wrote Archives in Libraries: What Librarians and Archivists Need to Know to Work Together, published by the Society of American Archivists, 2015. On behalf of the InfoLink, I asked a few questions about their collaboration. 

What inspired you to write Archives in Libraries?

Our goal, based on combined observations and experience, was to better understand some of the similarities and differences between archivists and librarians as well as the challenges they faced in working together. Our aim was to narrow the divide and build shared understandings among archivists, librarians and library directors while helping archivists working in libraries to better negotiate their relationships with the institution and with their library colleagues.

What was the greatest challenge for writing this book?

Our greatest challenge was in formulating and implementing a research methodology that would enable us to identify, collect, and analyze relevant data. We conducted a series of extensive interviews with both archivists who worked in library settings and the directors of those libraries and analyzed those interviews using NVIVO. We collected data produced by the archives and library professions such as vocabularies, organizational charts, mission statements, codes of ethics, and policies, and we did extensive searching in the archives and library literature.

What part of the book did you find most rewarding?

The most enjoyable part of the book was creating a wide range of vignettes to illustrate the complex relationships between libraries and archives.

Will you be presenting/lecturing on any of the ideas in the book?

We have presented at conferences at the New England Archivists and the Society of American Archivists.