Tara Zachary Laver, Candidate for Nominating Committee

Professional Experience: Curator of Manuscripts, Special Collections, Louisiana State University Libraries, 2006–present. Assistant Curator of Manuscripts, LSU Libraries, 2000–2006. Archivist, Delta State University Archives, Cleveland, Mississippi, 1997–2000. General Librarian in Manuscripts Processing, LSU Special Collections, 1997.

Education: Certified Archivist, 2004, 2009. MLIS, Louisiana State University, 1996. Graduate coursework in American history, LSU, 1994–1995 and 2000–2001. BA, History and Mass Communication, LSU, 1994.

Professional Activities:  Society of American Archivists: Member, 1996–present. Spotlight Award Committee, 2010–present. 2010 Annual Meeting Program Committee. Acquisitions and Appraisal Section: Ex officio, 2009–2010. Chair, 2008–2009. Vice Chair, 2007–2008. Steering Committee, 2005–2007. Manuscripts Repositories Section: Steering Committee, 2006–2008. District 7 Representative for Membership, 2005–2007. Key Contact for Louisiana, 2003–2005. Member, Steering Committee, Description Section, 2001–2004. Key Contact for Mississippi, 1999–2000. Other: Louisiana Historical Records Advisory Board, 2010–present. Academy of Certified Archivists Nominating Committee, 2010–present. Society of Southwest Archivists: Member, 1998–present. Program Committee, 2007–present. Executive Board, 2005–2007. Annual Meeting Local Arrangements Committee Co-chair, 2003–2005. Scholarship Committee, 2003–2006. Newsletter Editor/Publications Committee Chair, 2001–2003. Annual Meeting Local Arrangements Committee, 2002–2003. Louisiana Archives and Manuscripts Association: Member, 1995–present. President, 2003–2004. Vice President/President-Elect, 2002–2003. Executive Board Member, 2000–2002. Local Arrangements, 2001, 2003. Society of Mississippi Archivists: Member, 1997–2002. Vice President/President-Elect, 1999–2000. Executive Board Member, 1998–1999. 

Publications and Awards: “Letters of William H. Whitney from the Red River Campaign,” in, Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink, University of Tennessee Press, 2007. “Do a Good Deed: Deeds of Gift for Manuscript Collections,” Louisiana Libraries, 2005. “Where Duty Shall Call: The Baton Rouge Civil War Letters of William H. Whitney,” Louisiana History, 2005. “In a Class by Themselves: Faculty Papers at Research University Archives and Manuscript Repositories,” American Archivist, 2003. “Off the Shelf and Into the Classroom: Working with Teachers to Integrate Digital Collections into Classroom Instruction,” The Southeastern Librarian, 2003. Richards, David and Tara Zachary, eds., Guide to Oral History Collections in Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History, 1996.

Question posed by the Nominating Committee: As SAA celebrates its 75th Anniversary, what does it mean to be a SAA leader in the 21st century?

SAA’s leaders for the 21st-century need many of the same skills our leaders have always needed, with an added twist in consideration of the challenges and opportunities the profession faces as we celebrate the Society’s 75th year and look forward to its future. Officers not only provide direction for the organization and work to meet the needs and concerns of its members, but they also represent the interests of archives and archivists to other information professionals and advocate to appropriate government agencies and the general public. These multiple roles call for individuals who are articulate, diplomatic, and adaptable, and who have integrity and good listening and communication skills. Given the time entailed in effectively fulfilling their responsibilities, leaders should also be committed to serving.

In the context of the 21st-century, meeting these expectations requires that leaders make the most of technology to enhance communication with members and outside audiences. In addition, since officers and Council members make decisions and recommendations about areas ranging from technical standards and ethics to best practices and advocacy, leaders must have thorough and current knowledge of the archival enterprise and the challenges members face both individually and collectively as archivists. Finally, our leadership should exhibit a cross-cultural awareness; that is, officers should be able to take a wide view and consider the diverse internal constituency of SAA, not only in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation, but also diversity in geography, institution type, and professional experience.