Jamie Seemiller, Candidate for Nominating Committee

Jamie Seemiller

Acquisitions Archivist
The motto of the Denver Public Library (DPL) is “You’re Welcome Here. “ This motto drives everything I do in my work as an acquisitions archivist to make sure that our collections and services contribute to the diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community.



I have always loved telling stories. After graduating from Southern Methodist University with a film degree (1995), I worked in cable television production for ten years. While working on the PBS show Great Museums, I got the opportunity to work with archivists and museum curators to pick items from their collections to feature on the show. Working with objects and records to tell stories of the past inspired me to go back to school to pursue an MLIS degree from the University of Denver (2007). Since 2007, I have worked at the Denver Public Library (DPL), Western History and Genealogy Department. I managed two IMLS grants called Creating Communities (2008–2013), which involved digitizing content about Denver neighborhoods and creating an online participatory archives for community members to share their stories. Since 2013, I have been an Acquisitions Archivist, where I work with donors and two committees to shape the future of the archival collection. In these positions, I have questioned and revised outdated processes to create efficiency and equity in our donor relationships and collection development guidelines. For SAA, I have served as a mentor, (2008–2012); chair, Public Libraries & Special Collections Roundtable (2012–2013); member, Program Committee, Atlanta (2015–2016), and member-at-large for the Appraisal & Acquisitions Section (2019–2021). Locally, I have served on the board for the Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists (SRMA) as archivist (2011–2016), vice president (2016–2017), president/past president (2017–2019). I have been a Certified Archivist since 2008 and received my Digital Archives Specialist Certificate in 2016. I taught Archives Appraisal at the University of Denver (2013–2014) and was a trainer for the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Program for the Library of Congress (2011). I have presented at SAA Annual Conferences (2013, 2015), Public Library Association conference (2010), Western Roundup (2015), and several SRMA conferences.



The motto of the Denver Public Library (DPL) is “You’re Welcome Here. “ This motto drives everything I do in my work as an acquisitions archivist to make sure that our collections and services contribute to the diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. I have long recognized the gaps and omissions in our collection to tell the story of those who live(d) in Denver, Colorado, and the West. I am fortunate to work at a library where the city librarian is dedicated to DEI and doing the hard work to repair and heal our community and workplace. DPL has hired a DEI manager and has social workers/peer navigators to train staff and help the community by providing services and kindness in these difficult times. As a white woman of privilege, I am aware of my own implicit biases and I recognize that I cannot make collection decisions in isolation. I have two committees that help to make collection decisions: the Staff Acquisitions Committee and the Community Acquisitions Committee. In my career, I have sought to actively engage new partners in the community to help with acquisitions, description, and networking including the Colorado LGBTQ History Project, disability rights activists, and my colleagues at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. The archives unit is currently developing a Diversity Audit, inspired by work done by our colleagues in the circulating collection. We are hoping that this audit will help to capture data about race/ethnicity, years of coverage, geographic areas, sexual identities, gender identities, religion, physical disabilities, neurological diversity, and language. The data collected by this audit will help us identify what we have and most importantly what we don’t have. It will help us create our collection development strategy to further our work to create a more equitable and diverse collection that better represents our community. I would like to help advance DEI on the Nominating Committee by finding a variety of candidates from diverse backgrounds of life and professional experience, geographic locations, and institutions. I have long been an advocate for archivists from public libraries in the West to be included in SAA leadership. I am happy to see that many of the candidates on the ballot this year represent Western states. The Nominating Committee’s work is essential in creating a path for the profession and organization to continue to tackle DEI and move the needle forward.



According to the SAA Council Statement on Black Lives and Archives, "The labor of dismantling white supremacy and structural racism in archives, and beyond, does not rest solely upon our Black membership and other people of color. White archivists, who comprise a vast majority of the field, have a responsibility to disavow racism daily in society and in our profession." How do you interpret the Nominating Committee's role in decreasing structural racism in the field to make it more equitable for BIPOC archives workers?


In her book Our Time Is Now, Stacey Abrams says that “we cannot demand that others value minority rights elsewhere when we fail to demand it of ourselves.” The Nominating Committee plays a key role in providing a slate of candidates that reflects the diversity of SAA membership. It is time to break down the barriers that often make it harder for BIPOC archives workers to fully participate in SAA governance. The first step is to commit to creating an equitable environment where BIPOC archivists feel valued and welcome. Let’s face it, applying for an SAA leadership role can be intimidating. Perhaps it is a good idea for the Nominating Committee to reach out to potential candidates by phone, Zoom, or in-person to talk to people face-to-face about the importance of becoming a leader in the organization and profession. The Committee needs to go beyond a list of credentials to get to know the candidates on a personal level. I applaud this year's committee for changing the biographical statement to a narrative rather than a resume. I would like to see candidates who have ideas on how to tackle structural racism within our profession and how to come together to make SAA a stronger, more inclusive organization that is willing to take risks and push for change, even when it is hard. SAA leadership plays a vital role in representing the archives profession and needs members at all levels to continue to disavow racism in society and our profession. The Cultural Diversity Competency course is a great step in providing members with resources to begin this work. Most white archivists are ready to dedicate themselves to doing the work to help make our workplaces and collections more equitable and look to SAA leadership for guidance. SAA leaders from elected positions, committees, and sections need to provide inspiration and guidance for this work so that members can advocate and demand change at their institutions. I would personally like to see guidelines for conducting a diversity audit, more DEI resource lists, and courses on community outreach and developing a collection management policy with a DEI lens. But all this starts with SAA providing membership with a slate of potential candidates who feel welcome and ready to get to work to provide leadership and new ideas to help all of us create a more equitable profession and organization for BIPOC archives workers.



Slate of Candidates

The Nominating Committee has slated the following SAA members as candidates for office in the 2021 election:

Vice President/President-Elect



Nominating Committee