2021 Election: Candidate Statements

Thank you to all of our excellent candidates for standing in the 2021 Accessibility & Disability Section election. Please take some time to review their candidate statements and get to know them so you can make an informed choice.

You will be voting for:

  • One Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, for a two-year term; and
  • Steering Committee members (three-year terms).

Ballots will be managed by SAA staff through Survey Monkey; keep an eye on your inbox for when the ballot opens!

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Candidates

The following candidates are running for the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect position:

Christopher Anglim
Reference Librarian & University Archivist, University of the District of Columbia

I have been an archivist in an academic setting for over 30 years. I presently work at the University of the District of Columbia, where I serve as a Reference Librarian and University Archivist. UDC is a HBCU and an urban land grant institution.

The issues the section deals with resonate with me because I am disabled myself, being hearing impaired, and have experienced many examples of discrimination based on my disability. I strongly believe that SAA should take the leadership role in championing accessibility issues, over and beyond the minimum requirements set by the ADA and similar statutes and regulations.

Bridget Malley
Records and Information Management Specialist, U.S. EPA

Bridget Malley is a hard-of-hearing Chicagoan constantly missing Pittsburgh. She currently serves as a steering committee member of the Society of American Archivists’ Accessibility and Disability Section, as well as a member of the Organizing Committee for the Archival Workers Emergency Fund. From January 2019 to July 2020 she worked as a contractor with the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium (WPDHAC) and is now a member of the WPDHAC steering committee. She received her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in December of 2019. She works as a Records and Information Management Specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If elected vice chair, I would propose engaging with the section with greater consistency, whether that be through the SAA Connect listserv or through regular low-key events. I’d also like us as a section to connect with accessibility and disability groups within other LIS organizations. On the steering committee side, this might look like meeting with these groups to ask them what has or hasn’t been fruitful for them, what their goals are, and how we can collectively make LIS more accessible. On the section side, this might mean more Twitter chat collaborations. (Many thanks go to the steering committee members who have been working hard on our outreach and educational efforts!)

To phrase all this a little more straightforwardly: I want to use this platform we have built in order to further build the disability community within SAA. We can’t predict what resources will be needed or what issues will need to be addressed. We can, however, decide what we’ll do to create the space in which resources can be gathered and issues addressed. In addition, from our spot here we can connect with other communities, learn from them, and hopefully grow in our own work. So—as much as my instincts may point me toward lists and spreadsheets, I think focusing on conscious connection best fits where our section is at right now.

Veronica Denison
University Archivist, Kansas State University

Veronica Denison is the university archivist at Kansas State University, where she has been since 2019. Previously, she was an archivist at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Veronica is a member of MAC, as well as an active member of SAA serving on the Steering Committees of both the Accessibility and Disability Section and the Privacy and Confidentiality Section. Raising awareness of disability in the archives profession is one of Veronica’s passions, and she is currently working on a research project, along with another archivist, regarding the professional experiences of archivists with disabilities.

As the Accessibility and Disability Section vice chair, I would to continue to expand upon the intersectionality between this section and others. This past year, I helped to plan an Identity Series course hosted by the Archivists and Archives of Color Section. The course included both sections, and I felt this was a successful event and would like to see more collaborative efforts such as this. As vice chair, I would be committed to advocate for people with disabilities in our profession, and to continue to make our section a space where all are welcome. Some ways we can do this are to continue to publish in Archival Outlook and other profession related newsletters and journals to continue to raise awareness regarding equity, inclusion, and disability representation. I would also like to see the section continue to host discussions, webinars, and institute quarterly brave space meetings. The section has already accomplished great things, and I would like to continue to be a part of seeing it grow.

Steering Committee Member Candidates

The following candidates are running for the section steering committee:

Christopher Anglim
Reference Librarian & University Archivist, University of the District of Columbia

I have been an archivist in an academic setting for over 30 years. I presently work at the University of the District of Columbia, where I serve as a Reference Librarian and University Archivist. UDC is a HBCU and an urban land grant institution.

The issues the section deals with resonate with me because I am disabled myself, being hearing impaired, and have experienced many examples of discrimination based on my disability. I strongly believe that SAA should take the leadership role in championing accessibility issues, over and beyond the minimum requirements set by the ADA and similar statutes and regulations.

Gracen Brilmyer
Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, McGill University

Gracen Brilmyer (they/them) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University. Their research lies at the intersection of feminist disability studies, archival studies, and the history of science, where they investigate the erasure of disabled people in archives primarily within the history of natural history museums. Their research attempts to retell such histories while emphasizing how ableism is central to colonial narratives—historical-archival research that is complemented by empirical research on how living disabled people use and experience archives today. Their work at this intersection has been published in journals such as Archival ScienceArchivaria, and The Journal of Feminist Scholarship.

Outside of academia, they are involved in Disability Justice, Design Justice, and social justice projects, including the poster “Identifying & Dismantling White Supremacy in Archives,” which is co-authored with Michelle Caswell and published in The Library Quarterly. They have worked in a number of different archives and museums—from designing digital archives for personal collections to working in large natural history museums digitizing millions of biological specimens, they critically think about the digital translation of physical material and the implications and access for different communities. They hold a PhD in Information Studies with a certificate in Gender Studies from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master of Information Management and Systems from University of California Berkeley. Their research is shaped by their experiences as a white, Disabled, non-binary, queer person. For more: gracenbrilmyer.com

As a disabled and chronically ill researcher, I’m deeply invested in elevating the voices of my communities within scholarship and the profession. As a steering committee member, I would continue to advocate for centering disabled people in conversations around disability, ableism, and access for archives. Having been involved with the Accessibility & Disability Section since it's formation as well as being an accessibility consultant for the SAA Annual Meeting in past years, I am excited to continue to bring disability to the forefront of conversations within SAA and the archival field in general.

Much of my research and experience that I would bring as a steering committee member would be around bridging theory and practice. I bring my deep investment not only with critical and feminist disability studies but also with the lived experiences of disabled people. For me, conceptualizing power and oppression around disability—and how disability informs other axes of identity—is only strengthened by centering disabled people's experiences. I attempt to make these connections by considering how archives shape(d) the ways we understand disabled people in records and how archival practices and policies can intervene in reshaping histories of disability. And, through interviewing disabled archival users as well as disabled archivists (a new project in collaboration with Veronica Denison), I turn towards how archives impact living disabled people today. Through balancing and connecting theory and practice—both disability and archival theories to the lived experiences of people—my contributions to the steering committee would be critical, collaborative, and rooted in Disability Justice.

Jenna Cooper
Records Analyst, Austin History Center/Austin Public Library

Jenna Cooper is a neurodivergent archivist who does local and regional advocacy work for disability history. She recently co-steered a working group for Austin State Hospital's preservation and interpretation, and led a panel discussion at the Society of Southwest Archivists' 2021 annual meeting on challenging archival silences around neurodiversity and mental illness. Jenna is the Records Analyst for Austin Public Library (APL), and is also responsible for appraising and processing City of Austin records at the Austin History Center (a branch of APL). She received her BA in English and MSIS from The University of Texas at Austin.

I would love the opportunity to work closely with other disabled archivists and allies to continue the initiatives ADS is already doing, in addition to forging more connections with other SAA sections, regional archival professional associations, disability scholars from diverse fields, disabled activists, and disabled users of archives. Being disabled in an ableist world can feel incredibly isolating due to lack of accessibility and representation, which makes creating an intersectional web of connections and resources all the more necessary. Moreover, I would like to see the section further create and promote programming and scholarship around accessioning, describing, and exhibiting disability collections.

Harriet Elizabeth “Lizzie” Strumolo (she/her/hers)
Archivist, Gates Archive

Lizzie Strumolo is an Archivist at the Gates Archive with a passion for disability advocacy and accessibility. She received her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington in 2015. Before working in archives, Lizzie studied medieval manuscripts and worked at the historical museum in her small Connecticut hometown.

Lizzie is an active member of the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative at the Gates Archive. She led an in-depth training for her team on interrupting microaggressions. She is a leading member of the Accessibility Strategy and most recently spearheaded an organization-wide effort to increase accessibility awareness through the use of accessible features in common workplace programs and tools. She is currently working towards a certificate in Access and Inclusion in Libraries. As a disabled archivist, Lizzie is passionate about expanding disability representation and creating safer, more inclusive, and accessible spaces.

I am grateful for the opportunity to run for a position on the Accessibility and Disability Section Steering Committee. I have spent the last several years cultivating my passion for disability advocacy, awareness, and accessibility and I am eager to apply my knowledge to the archival profession and community. As someone with an invisible disability, I believe that representation across the spectrum of disability is paramount. ADS has done an excellent job expanding representation within the profession. As a part of the Steering Committee, I would push for the continued expansion of disability representation and fostering connections, within SAA and beyond. Within SAA, furthering exploration in the intersections of other marginalized communities with more events like the Identity Series and capitalizing on the mentorship pilot program to continue fostering connections between disabled archivists and allies at all levels. Beyond SAA, reaching out to disability communities and advocates to develop long-lasting relationships, bringing in expert knowledge through disability workshops and trainings, and continuing to collaborate with allied professions.

I am committed to acknowledging accessibility at the start of conversations and making accessibility integral to our profession and community at large. As a part of the Steering Committee, I would urge SAA to have an accessibility statement clearly visible and easily accessed on the website that details the society’s commitment to supporting current and future disabled archivists, in addition to patrons and users. Additionally, I would collaborate with ADS and other stakeholders on providing clear guidelines for accessing not only the SAA website but all SAA-sponsored events and establishing a dedicated contact who can assist with access barriers. I believe the increased awareness of disability and accessibility that ADS brings will foster a culture within SAA that is inclusive and accessible to all – and I would like to help achieve that.

Thank you for your consideration!

Lydia Tang
Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, LYRASIS

Dr. Lydia Tang is currently an Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for LYRASIS. Previously, she held archivist positions at Michigan State University, the Library of Congress, and numerous graduate positions at the University of Illinois, where she received her MLIS and Doctor of Musical Arts degree. She served on the Task Force to Revise Best Practices on Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities and spearheaded founding the SAA's Accessibility & Disability Section. She is the 2020 recipient of SAA’s Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Award and was recognized in three SAA Council resolutions as a co-founder of the Archival Workers Emergency Fund, for spearheading the Accessibility & Disability Section’s “Archivists at Home” document, and for her work on the “Guidelines for Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities.”

I am so proud of what this section has accomplished and the community we have built together. I am applying for a leadership position again with this section because there is still so much more to do! Here are some goals I hope to work on with a renewed term:

  1. The Guidelines for Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities are due for a revision in 2022. Since I was involved in the 2019 revision, I have an in-depth knowledge of the procedure and am keenly interested in remaining involved for a collaborative and in-depth revision process in the future. Building accessibility and disability into standards and resources is an ever-present need, whether it might be advocating for accessibility statements to be added to description standards or to raise the visibility of existing resources to help archivists care for collections and workplaces care for them.
  2. The ADS can continue to build community among the section. I piloted the ADS mentoring sign up sheet and as the co-chair of the Mentoring Subcommittee propelled the planning of the Accessibility & Disability pilot mentoring cohort. I’m looking forward to continuing to build venues for greater connection and collaboration.

Thanks for your consideration!