After RBMS, I headed on to Berea, Kentucky. As a Steering Committee member, I again participated in the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI), now based at Berea College. Funded by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), the goal for the Institute is to “bring to tomorrow’s leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.”

The Steering Committee consists of archivists (Rachel Vagts, ALI Director) from Berea College as well as representatives from New York (Geof Huth), Kentucky (Barbara Teague), Ohio (Dan Noonan), Oregon (Terry Baxter), Texas (Brenda Gunn), and North Carolina (Tanya). For our fifth year, we worked with the faculty to revise the schedule and again reviewed applications (there were nearly 75 for 25 slots). The Committee conducted daily evaluations of the curriculum, and served as facilitators for small groups in the cohort. This is probably my favorite part, as it gives me the opportunity to connect with 4 other archivists at a deeper level.

The curriculum is facilitated by Mark Nigro, a staff member of the Brushy Fork Institute at Berea College. Other faculty members included Sharon Leon (George Mason), Stacie Williams (2015 ALI, Case Western University), Christopher Barth (West Point), and a Skype visit from Dr. David Gracy (Professor Emeritus, UT-Austin). In addition to our classroom time and small group discussion, the CoHort also participated in broommaking, had a visit to the Appalachian Center and viewed its collections storage (plus played on their Dolly Parton pinball machine), met with bell hooks where she shared about the process of donating her papers to Berea, and hiked at Indian Fort Mountain Trail.

bell hooks and me

The week again ended with a special celebratory dinner and party. The group is scheduled to meet again at the annual meeting for the Society of American Archivists, being held in Portland, Oregon in July. This particular iteration of ALI will continue for one more year, and then a new group (we hope) will step up to take over for the next generation!