Meet the Simmons Archivist: Jason Wood '01MS, '11MS
It's kind of a cliché at this point, but there really is no "typical" day in the Archives. I wear several hats in the Library, so I may be juggling any number of things... The only constant is that I like to try to make the work environment a good place to be, both for myself and those around me.
Where did you go to college, and what did you study?
I have a BA in English from the University of Maine. I graduated from the Simmons School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) in 2001 and received my masters in communications management in 2011.
Tell us about your role at Simmons.
I've been a member of the Simmons Library staff for 19 years. I’m currently the University Archivist and Deputy Library Director, as well as an adjunct faculty member.
Do you have a favorite course you teach?
I particularly enjoy LIS 442 — “Management of Archives and Manuscript Repositories” — which builds off of students’ experiences in the program and speaks to my interests in project management and team management in archives settings.
What's your favorite thing about Simmons?
Its strong commitment to mission — to educate scholars for an independent livelihood — and the ability of that mission to adapt and update to meet the needs of the time. Also, the staff and faculty's dedication to seeing Simmons succeed is very laudable and important.
What inspired you to work in archives?
I was an English major — concentrating in creative writing — so as I grew tired of temp work and contemplating an MFA program, I started combing through my past experiences. I looked back on my work as a research assistant to a faculty member while an undergrad and thought, "well, that kind of digging and discovering wasn't so bad," so I applied to Simmons SLIS, thinking it would prove a fairly logical means to a fairly satisfying end.
And it was. After several internships and part-time jobs, I started working in the Simmons Archives around six months after graduating. A job opening had come up, I applied for it, was fortunate enough to get the position, and have been here, in a variety of capacities, ever since.
I do wish I had more dramatic stories to recount here, but, despite what they say, truth is often duller than fiction.
What's a typical day like working in the Archives?
It's kind of a cliché at this point, but there really is no "typical" day in the Archives. I wear several hats in the Library, so I may be juggling any number of things: working on aspects of the Library budget, doing research on an alumnae/i of the University, managing an intern's processing or encoding projects, meeting with a donor, discussing catalog display issues with members of the Library staff, or negotiating with a digitization vendor. Sometimes I even sweep the floor in the Archives' workspace. The only constant is that I like to try to make the work environment a good place to be, both for myself and those around me.
If we visited your home office, what would we see?
My cat, Maple.
What's the last book you read?
I’m always reading several books at once. But the last couple of books I really really loved were Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and Death in Her Hands by Otessa Moshfegh.
Is there a TV show you're currently binging?
I’m trying to get caught up on Below Deck Mediterranean as a means of distracting myself from the news.
Are there any Instagram accounts you've been following lately?
My Instagram account is a pretty solid feed of National Parks, New Mexico, and art museums.
Do you have any words of encouragement for students this semester?
It’s a most unpredictable semester, and we’re all in this together! Some of the skills you are developing or deepening this semester — working online, collaborating synchronously and asynchronously, balancing life and work obligations — are important to long-term success.