Helen Wong Smith, Candidate for Council

Professional Experience: Librarian/Archivist, University of Hawai`i – College of Pharmacy, 2013–present. Archivist, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, 2010–2013. Lead Archivist, Pacific Island Network, National Park Service, 2011–present. Librarian/Archivist, Hawaiian Collection, Edwin H. Mookini Library, University of Hawai`i, January 2007–February 2011 [Leave 2010]. Historical/Cultural Specialist, Land Assets Division, Kamehameha Schools, March 2004–January 2007. Librarian, Kamehameha Schools—Hawai`i Campus, August 2001–March 2004. Assistant Librarian/Archivist, Gemini North Observatory, November 1999–June 2001. Reference Librarian/Archivist—Hawai`i Medical Library, September 1996–April 2000. Contract Archivist: Kamehameha Schools, Bank of Hawai`i, KCAA Preschools of Hawai`i, Lyman Memorial House Museum.


Education: MLIS, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, 1991. BA, Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, 1986


Awards: Agnes C. Conrad Award, Association of Hawai`i Archivists. Mary Edward Professional Award—Library Alumnus. Beta Phi Mu (Library Honor Society), Chapter XI.


Professional Activities: Society of American Archivists: Key Contact for Hawai`i, 2012–2014; Nominating Committee, 2008–2009; Committee on Education, 2008–2010, Minority Graduate Education Scholarship Task Force; Association of Certified Archivists: Nominating Committee Chair, 2012–2014; Member, 2001–2016. Association of Hawai`i Archivists: President, 2000–2001, 2007–2008; Director, 1996–1999; Treasurer, 2004–2006. Hawai’i (State) Library Association: President, 1997–1998; Board Member, 1995–1998. Hawaiian Historical Society: Board Member, 2011–2014; Vice-President, 2012–2013.


Publications: “UH-Hilo & the Christensen Photographic Collection: Preserving a Piece of Hamākua's History,” in Past or Portal? Enhancing Undergraduate Learning through Special Collections and Archives, eds., Mitchell, Seiden, and Taraba (American Library Association, 2012). “Kona in History: A Guide to Resources” (The History and Humanities Program of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts in cooperation with the Kona Historical Society, 1994).


Selected Presentations: “Addressing the Archival Backlog of the National Park Service: 10,000 miles, 10 National Parks, 4 years,” Hawaiian-Pacific Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, 2012. “Beyond Inherited Order: Lone Arrangers, Legacy Arrangements, and Electronic Records,” SAA, San Diego, 2012. “Preserving Hawai’i’s Many Cultures through Five Governments,” SAA, Austin, 2009. “We are the World: Serving Diverse Cultures in Your Library,” Medical Library Association Annual Meeting and Exhibition, 2009. “Hawai`i’s Agricultural Archives: Records and Special Collections,”  ”Digital Hawaiian Resources: Disseminating Hawai`i-based Primary and Compiled Resources,” 7th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, 2009. “Identifying and Accessing the Lesser Known Archival Collections,” American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2008. Report on “Persistence of Memory: Stewardship of Digital Assets, Association of Hawai`i Archivists, 2007; Hawai`i Museum Association, 2007, 2008. “Outreach to those less served,” SAA, Chicago, 2007. Basic Workshop for Religious Congregations, Association of Hawai`i Archivists, 2007. “Digital Hawaiian Resources: Latest Innovations in Disseminating Hawai`i-based Primary Resources,” Hidden Treasures: Accessing the Riches in the Pacific Collections (Conference), 2007; Hawaii Library Association, 2007. “‘Land Legacy Database’Greenstone Digital Library Open Source Software,” Information and Computer Science Department, Library and Information Science Program, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, 2006. “‘X’ Marks the Spot: Archiving GIS Databases,” SAA, Washington, DC, 2006. Caring for Family Treasures, Lāna’i, 2005; Moloka’i, 2006. “Kamehameha Schools Land Legacy Database: A new cultural dissemination tool,” World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education, Hamilton, New Zealand, November 30, 2005.


Grants: Hawai`i Council for the Humanities Preservation and Access Grant, Chronicling Hilo: Digitizing the first six years of the Hilo Tribune, University of Hawai`i, Humanities Scholar, 2013.  Reviewer: Access to Historical Records Grant, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, 2012. Native Hawaiian Library Services Grant, Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2010, 2011, 2012. American Heritage Preservation Grant, Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2008, 2009.


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Question posed by Nominating Committee: SAA is not only growing in numbers, but also in constituencies—students and new professionals, diverse communities, emerging functional needs—all clamoring to be recognized and have specific needs addressed.  What challenges are posed for the association and how do we best address them? 

The recognition of new constituencies allows SAA an opportunity to provide education and development to its members beyond traditional means. While the 2010 Statement on Diversity recognizes the socio-cultural, professional, and geographic differences in the profession, what speaks to me is its intent to serve “a fuller range of stakeholders, increases organizational credibility, and becomes a stronger advocate for the archives profession.”  The relatively rapid inclusion of Diversity in the 2012 Core Values Statement and Core Ethics following the 2010 Statement on Diversity reflects SAA’s recognition of its importance. SAA’s establishment of the Digital Archives Specialist Certificate is an excellent response to an emerging functional need allowing members to secure the education and training with a self-paced program with a significant number of distance-education courses, a component very much appreciated by those of us not near traditional centers of such courses. Another emerging functional need is reflected by campaigns i.e. I Found It In The Archives! showcasing the need for advocacy and outreach fluency in our arsenal of skills.

I believe technology is not an end but (one of) the means to address the challenges SAA faces coupled with a willingness to empathize to the issues raised by constituents as we embrace a wider range of members and the issues facing them. The ability to listen and empathize with those one may not share experiences with is required to be an effective council member. The diversity of my professional experience and service has provided exposure to the specific needs of a variety of professionals (and non-professionals thrust in the role of archivist), patrons, and policy-makers.  Despite geographic isolation I have successfully sought avenues to increase the connectivity with SAA and allied professions and I hope to continue this practice as a SAA council member.