2022 Election: Candidate Statements

Thank you to all of our excellent candidates for standing in the 2022 Accessibility & Disability Section election. Please take some time to review their candidate statements.

You will be voting for:

  • Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (three-year term)
  • Steering Committee members (three-year terms)
  • Early-career member (one-year term)

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

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Candidates

The following candidate is running for the vice chair/chair-elect position:

Zachary Tumlin
Project Archivist, Duke University

Zachary Tumlin is currently the Project Archivist for the Economists' Papers Archive at the Duke University David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library in Durham, North Carolina. He has previously worked for pay at the Library of Congress Music Division, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Folger Shakespeare Library, National Agricultural Library, and University of Maryland Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library and Special Collections in Performing Arts. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science in archives and digital curation from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Music in music education (summa cum laude) from West Virginia University. He is a former middle school band director from West Virginia, but his career goal is now to become either the curator of an archive on Disability or the accessibility coordinator at a cultural heritage institution.

Besides being an archivist, I am a formal Disability self-advocate and accessibility specialist. Within SAA, I am a founding Steering Committee member of the Accessibility and Disability Section (2019-present) and finishing my first year as a member of the Diversity Committee. I am most proud of having co-authored a guide on inclusive hiring practices that was published in Archival Outlook, then leading the effort to produce a follow-up on employee retention and advancement (which formed the basis for SAA’s first event recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which I moderated and got the Diversity Committee to co-sponsor last October). This past year, I was involved with the beginning of the process to revise SAA's Guidelines for Accessible Archives and the proposal for the book Preserving Disability (accepted by Library Juice Press and to be edited by Dr. Lydia Tang and Dr. Gracen Brilmyer), and I proposed to the Diversity Committee that they lead a project to author some kind guidance on conducting DEIA audits. In the coming year, I would like to continue with the revision and audit guidance and submit my co-authored chapter on employment for the book. The former would address goal 2.3.F ("Ensure physical and digital spaces and services are inclusive and accessible, considering learning styles and abilities, physical/sensory and cognitive abilities, and lived experiences") and the latter 2.1.F ("Contingent labor and pathways to a secure career for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and disabled archival workers") in the Strategic Plan Dashboard (both of which has been assigned to us).

Steering Committee Member Candidates

The following candidates are running for the section steering committee:

Steve Duckworth
University Archivist, OHSU

I came to archives as a second career. After college, I spent a bit over a decade working as a freelance cellist and teacher. Once I made it to my 30s, I began to ponder whether or not I could sustain that freelance living for the rest of my life and began investigating other options that could offer appealing work along with some of the capitalist comforts I’d been missing: some level of covered healthcare costs, paid time off, retirement savings – you know, the little things that make life a bit less stressful. In my searching, I found myself focused on library science as I had a love of systems and organizational thinking, and I chose to focus on archives during my studies on a bit of a whim. That whim turned out to be well-chosen as I’ve found myself enjoying the work I do and enjoying the people I work with throughout the profession. I got my MLIS at Drexel in Philadelphia; I worked on a PACSCL project there before moving to Alaska for my first “real” (though temporary) job. Alaska was followed by a move to Florida (the place where I grew up), and then one more move across the country to Portland, OR.

I’m still working in the job that brought me here – University Archivist at Oregon Health & Science University – and am now some sort of mid-career professional who finds myself focused on how to make the profession more accessible and welcoming, more diverse, more inviting. I’ve served on the SAA Diversity Committee and the Steering Committee of the Issues & Advocacy Section. I’m also an organizing member of the Archival Workers Collective (formerly the Archival Workers Emergency Fund). I’ve taught in archives programs as an adjunct instructor, and I have managed and mentored a significant number of archives graduate students during my time in Oregon.

I’ve had an interest in helping the archives profession become more accessible and welcoming since I was in grad school, though I didn’t specifically think of it in those terms at the time. Last year, I learned that I’m autistic and a lot started coming together for me and making more sense. Something you may not know about many autistic people is that we seem to have an innate sense of fairness or justice (at least this is how you’ll often see it described; I think of it as a logical thought process cutting through the crap society continues to put us through – with logical thought also being a typical autistic trait). After learning I’m autistic, I began reexamining the way I structure my work, what I say yes or no to (when given the option), how I communicate with others or ask them to communicate with me, etc. So, running for this Steering Committee position is not something I take lightly.

The Accessibility & Disability Section of SAA is a place I think my experiences and skills can be put to great use to further the work that has been done by the section before, to launch new initiatives that will better the profession, and to fulfill my own interests in creating a better place for all of us to work in, all while exchanging ideas with and working alongside others from similar and simultaneously different backgrounds and experiences. I grew up knowing I was gay in a world that I knew would often prefer I didn't exist. However, I also grew up not knowing I was autistic in a world that wanted me to conform to standards I didn’t understand. The society in which we live caused me to hide my authentic self away so extensively that even now, at the age of 44, I’m still trying to figure out who I am versus who others want me to be. My hope for working with the ADS is to break down some of the barriers others face within the profession and hopefully amplify a growing movement that sees the ills of society as the disability rather than our own individual traits.

Robert Perret
Special Collections Librarian, University of Idaho

Robert Perret is the Special Collections Librarian at the University of Idaho. He has been working in archives with a focus on research and instruction for more than 20 years. He has published books on the Camas Prairie Railroad, Sherlock Holmes, and Idaho history. He has previously served on the boards of Northwest Archivists, the Idaho Library Association and the Pacific Northwest Library Association.

In the renewed push for diversity, equity and inclusion, disability is often a forgotten element. Being personally impacted by several neurodivergent factors, I am especially interested in supporting and advocating for people with invisible and uncharismatic disabilities, an often forgotten group within an often forgotten group. I would be honored to serve on the board and support all persons with disability in both accessing archival collections and being appropriately represented within them.

Joe Schill
Archivist at Rakow Research Library/Corning Museum of Glass

I have been a member of SAA since 2018 and have participated in the Accessibility & Disability Section since it was formed. I was co-editor of the SNAP blog team from 2019-2020. I earned an MSILS in 2019 from University at Buffalo (SUNY) and in June of that year I started working as a project archivist at the Rakow Research Library (The Corning Museum of Glass). Since February 2020, I have been a full-time archivist at the Rakow. I am also a member of MARAC and have served on the local arrangements committee and the program committee over the last two years.

My own experience with disability is complicated. Until 2015, I had lived my life as an able-bodied person. Then I found out I had a large tumor in my left leg. After my treatment (chemo, surgery, radiation), my mobility became much more challenging. I use arm crutches to walk and can only be on my feet for so long before I need to sit down. Fortunately, I have been cancer free for over six years now. But I deal with pain on a regular basis and often with a lack of understanding by people who don’t know me and assume my arm crutches are an indication of a temporary issue. I frequently have to explain that no, my condition is permanent, not temporary. I have been lucky to work with supportive and compassionate colleagues, something I do not take for granted.

One of the challenges many of us face is overcoming exclusionary language in job descriptions. While basically all employers include a statement about not discriminating against people with disabilities, they often go on to state a range of issues which would in fact exclude a great number of qualified candidates from actually getting hired. We’ve all seen them. Examples include lifting and carrying 40-50 pounds or more; standing or kneeling for long periods of time; climbing a ladder and carrying a box; and the list goes on. Most of these “requirements” are things that an archivist does infrequently, if at all. Some are examples of tasks that would be unsafe for anyone to do alone (climbing up and down a ladder with boxes?). In many, if not most, libraries and archives, there are other staff members who could occasionally help with these tasks if necessary.

As a member of the ADS steering committee, I’d like to focus on encouraging employers to really think about their needs and expectations when writing job descriptions. How can our section help with this? Maybe we could develop some alternative examples of language that is more inclusive. As a member of the steering committee, I would make it a priority to change the status quo in terms of job “requirements” for archivists.

Early-Career Member Candidates

The following candidate is running for the early-career member position:

Kate Goodwin
MLIS Student, San Jose State University

Kate Goodwin is a second-year MLIS student focusing on archival management at San Jose State University, living in Los Angeles. They also hold a BA in Psychology from CSU Channel Islands. Currently, they are working as a lone archivist for a small public library's local history collection and advocating for the needs of their disabled patrons.

Kate is a deaf, autistic person with ADHD, chronic pain, and an autoimmune disorder, which is a delightfully varied disability experience that has given them insight into an array of the challenges and joys of being disabled. They are a loud advocate for inclusivity and accessibility in libraries and archives and write about the challenges faced by disabled information professionals and the benefits of working with disabled professionals.

I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve the ADS, because its members have provided invaluable support and information to me as I navigate the beginnings of my archival career with disability, and I would be honored for the chance to help bring awareness of what the ADS does to other students and early career archivists who do not have the connections yet to realize that there is a community advocating for them. As a disabled archivist, I've met with a lot of frustration trying to break into the field without destroying my health, so I understand the importance of the work that the ADS does, both in supporting disabled professionals and in advocating for more accessible workplaces.

I would like to support the continued publication of resources for employers to help guide them in creating more accessible and equal workplaces. I also would like to see the ADS implement a broader outreach campaign to SAA Student Chapters to reach the next generation of archivists with information and support. Finally, I would like to encourage the promotion and growth of the mentorship program, which has been of great benefit to me, personally. I know there are others who would gain benefit from it as well, if they knew it was available to them. I am grateful for your consideration of this position, and hope I will have the opportunity to serve the ADS for years to come.