2021 Election: Candidate Statements

Thank you to all our excellent candidates for standing in the 2021 Congressional Papers 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; and
  • 2 Steering Committee members

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:




Sheridan Sayles
Technical Services Archivist
Seton Hall University



Candidate statement: Sheridan Leigh Sayles is the Technical Services Archivist working for the Special Collections and University Archives in the Library. She received an MA in American Studies from Rutgers University-Newark and an MLS with a focus in Archiving from the University of Maryland. She has previously worked as Assistant Archivist at Trinity Church Wall Street and as Archivist for the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Papers at Rutgers University. She is active in both the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference and the Society of American Archivists, where she advocates for both early career professionals and technical services work. In running for Vice Chair of the Congressional Papers Section, Sheridan would like to connect early career archivists working with Congressional Collections to resources to make the processing easier, including blog posts and additional CPS sponsored programming.

Mary Goolsby
Director and Bob Bullock Archivist, W. R. Poage Legislative Library
Baylor University

Candidate statement: I am the Director and Bob Bullock Archivist at the W. R. Poage Legislative Library and have been a member of CPS since 2012. I've worked in the Baylor Libraries for 26 years, including eight years raising money for the library system, and 13 years at Poage. I served as CPS newsletter co-editor from 2015-2017, which included a seat on the Steering Committee, and was on the local arrangements committee for CPS Day 2012. Currently, I am a member of the CPS Electronic Records Committee and a facilitator for our new Educating for American Democracy (EAD) initiative.

I have also been a member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress since 2012 and participated in the task force that produced the National Issue Forum discussion guide, "The Divided State of America." Since summer 2014, Poage Library has hosted 100 grade-school students participating in the iEngage Civics Institute (affiliated with iCivics), where we delve into topics of public service and civic engagement using material from our collections. Since democracy is not a spectator sport, I am a member of the League of Women Voters and have served as a Volunteer Deputy Registrar and Poll Worker.

Experience with congressional papers: My experience with political papers comes from my years at the Poage Library, named for W. R. “Bob” Poage who served the Waco, TX area for 42 years in the U.S. House. The library is home to 14 congressional collections, mostly from those representing Waco and from Baylor alumni. We have been reprocessing our legacy collections for entry into a CuadraSTAR archival management system for five years. Since becoming director in January 2019, I have diversified the collection with papers from local officials, each serving the Hispanic or African American communities in Waco and Central Texas for 30+ years.

What you might contribute to the CPS Steering Committee or leadership position: The role of the Steering Committee and leadership is to listen to members and keep up with new archival trends to bring relevant and timely information to CPS members. They also set priorities for the Section and develop new initiatives that encourage collaboration between members and their institutions. As a member of the Baylor Library Cabinet and in my duties as director of Poage Library, I bring a servant-leadership framework to all endeavors and would use this same approach to CPS roles.

What you would like CPS to accomplish in the next three years: Current projects (developing a solution to CSS data, updating the Congressional Guide, and creating EAD lesson plans) need support and fostering over the next few years to ensure members stay encouraged and engaged to produce the best outcomes. There are many more areas of inquiry I think CPS can contribute, including diversifying our profession and collections, research and case studies of how congressional and political archives are used by academic researchers and the public, and steps we can take to become part of digital humanities research, and finding ways we can help SAA achieve its goals and initiatives. I know it will be a productive and rewarding time.

Steering Committee Member Candidates

The following candidates are running for the section steering committee:



Claudia Willett
Senator John S. McCain Papers Archivist
Arizona State University



Candidate statement: I graduated from Simmons University School of Library and Information Science, in Boston, Massachusetts, with an MA in History and MLIS in Archives Management in 2015. Before moving to Arizona in 2018, I worked at Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University in various special collections and archives roles. I’ve always had a passion for American political history and pursued it wherever I could, whether through pleasure reading, academic research, or archival instruction.

I am coming up on my 3rd year working on the Senator McCain Papers at ASU Library. This has been one of the most challenging experiences of my professional career and it has motivated me to seek out opportunities to connect with other archivists responsible for the processing or management of political papers. It can feel pretty isolating! We have to operate with a lot of discretion and navigate complex and ambiguous situations, personalities, and institutions. Most often we cannot share or present externally on our work, further limiting our ability to connect. In my role on the Steering Committee I would like to contribute to the cultivation of an inclusive and dynamic community of professionals by engaging and encouraging more of us to actively participate in the shaping of this Section. An idea to explore for the Steering Committee members would be to host informal community / office hours. In support of this idea, over the next 3 years, I would like to see CPS establish a workshop-style series of events outside of the Annual SAA meeting. Attending SAA is a really prohibitive barrier for some people, especially new and young professionals. In the new world of virtual capabilities, this can manifest in a lot of ways, if not workshops, then brown bag lunches, or quarterly lightning talks. The reality is that most of us do not come into our roles with an intrinsic knowledge of the rules, guidelines, and best practices for political papers. I would like to see this Section hold space for uncomfortable questions and sharing failures. And most importantly, I would like to see CPS foster internal guidance and support as well as external outreach and engagement.


Keri Myers
Office of Senator Patrick Leahy



Candidate statement: Since early 2019, I have worked as an archivist in the personal office of Senator Patrick Leahy.

I am responsible for inventorying and describing the records created by the Senator and his staff since 1974. It is a large and growing collection with paper and electronic records, a massive photograph collection with over 250,000 images, memorabilia, and other materials.

Prior to my work with Senator Leahy, I was Congressional Liaison at History Associates, where I worked with several retiring members of the House and Senate to close out offices and prepare records to be shipped to repositories.

I have worked in archives both in the US and the UK for the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU, Trades Union Congress Library in London, English Folk Dance and Song Society, and School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

As a member of the Congressional Papers Section Steering Committee, I hope to encourage offices to set up workflows to maintain their current records and ensure more members enrich the public record by donating their collections at the end of their tenure.

I earned my Master's in Archives and Records Management from the University College of London and a Bachelor's in History from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.