Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Award: Lydia Tang

Lydia Tang, special collections archivist-librarian at Michigan State University, is the 2020 recipient of the Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award celebrates and encourages early career archivists who have completed archival work of broad merit, demonstrated significant promise of leadership, and performed commendable service to the archives profession.

Tang’s exemplary leadership and service is highlighted throughout her emerging archival career, including her work with SAA and ArchivesSpace. Among her leadership activities within SAA, she was an invaluable contributor on the SAA Task Force to revise the Guidelines for Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities and the driving force behind the creation of the Accessibility and Disability section. With this group, she spearheaded the “Archivists at Home” crowdsourced work from home advocacy document and co-founded the Archives Worker Emergency Fund. Passionate about enhancing the usability and accessibility of the ArchivesSpace collection management tool, Tang currently chairs the ArchivesSpace User Advisory Council, is co-leader of the ArchivesSpace Development Prioritization sub-team, and leader of the Usability sub-team, and chaired the Staff Interface Enhancement Working Group (2017).

Nominators described, “Her dedication is matched only by her drive and enthusiasm. She was able to coordinate and spearheaded the creation of the section in record time and with amazing organization and forethought. Everything from the way she created the first steering committee, to how she planned and organized the strategic goals for the section, how meetings are run, and how credit is shared, has set the standard for how a new section should be developed.”

“Lydia leads by example, making respect part of everything she does. She makes sure that everyone can participate in a way that feels comfortable for them. More than that, she knows when to say something in a group setting and when to reach out directly.”

“Her sub-team members are inspired by her energy and encouragement to work harder and do more. In turn this enables the program team to push development projects through more quickly and for users to derive benefits from improvements in the application. Lydia’s ability to inspire others to do better marks her as a future leader.”

“[…] Lydia is a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusion in all activities. She is already a leader in this area for the whole archival community, both in raising awareness and actively working towards demonstrable change, including in the tools that archivists use to do their work. The lens through which she views the archival field leads her to ideas that are always creative and often challenging to conventional wisdom. Her enthusiasm and drive to take those ideas and work with others to turn them into action from which others will benefit sets her apart from many archivists…”