For the Record’s “Meet the Staff” feature is an opportunity for our archivists to connect directly with the community which we serve
Name: Dorothy Gidiere
Title: Archival Collections Coordinator
Specialties: Government records, Project Management, Cataloging, Arrangement and Description
How did you end up working at the Alabama Department of Archives and History?
I actually went to grad school wanting to work at a state archives. My internships at the Maryland State Archives and Tennessee State Library and Archives sparked a passion for public service. I wanted to work at a state archives to support the ideals of government transparency and accountability. I joined the ADAH as an entry-level archivist in November 2013. It was a homecoming of sorts for me since I scanned collections at the ADAH from 2009-2010 while working for Ancestry.com. I was very excited to have the opportunity to return to Montgomery to start my state archives career.
What is your role?
I manage the Archival Collections Section, which is responsible for preserving and ensuring access to our archival collections. My section has six full time employees, two part-time retired state employees, and several volunteers. I spend a lot of time managing—filling out employee performance appraisals, reviewing timecards, submitting purchasing requests, and conducting long- and short-term planning. I also collaborate with other sections in the Department on projects, review finding aids and catalog records, assess potential donations, give behind the scenes tours, and help with exhibits.
What is something people don’t know about the Collections Section? OR What is something you enjoy about working in the Collections Section?
I really enjoy my role as a manager. I enjoy planning and setting priorities for the section while working to maintain a big-picture view. I also enjoy seeing my full-time staff members grow in their positions as they take on more responsibilities. I am very proud of my staff for continuing to seek opportunities to learn new things and their willingness to pitch in whenever help is needed.
What do you view as the biggest challenge facing the profession today?
From my view, our biggest challenge is that it takes a lot of resources to become an archivist. I was struck by a post by Rachel Vagts on SAA’s Off the Record blog that highlighted the student loan crisis in the profession. I worry that as a profession we miss out on not always having different voices in the room. While there are many excellent programs dedicated to creating a more inclusive profession, our barrier to entry remains high for many.
What are your hobbies when you are not at work?
I am an avid hockey fan. I love watching my Nashville Predators or my husband’s Toronto Maple Leafs play. I also love listening to podcasts about hockey and pop culture. I am a beginner knitter and advanced crocheter, and I love to make stuff for my family and friends.