Name: Keri Hallford
Title: Collections Archivist
Specialties: Preservation of paper, books, and leather; oversize paper media (maps, posters, architectural records, etc.); specialty housing and display construction for archival collections
How did you end up working at the Alabama Department of Archives and History?
Eight years ago, I was finishing work on an Alabama State Historic Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) grant for Tuskegee University Archives. During this time, I found a mentor in the Tuskegee University Archivist, Dana Chandler. Dana felt that I’d be an asset to the State Archives after I was fully trained. I interviewed for and was offered my current position at the ADAH a few months after being fully trained. I have been here for 7 years now and love what I do!
What is your role?
My primary role is to process and make available the oversize paper media that comes in through government records or private donation. I also help with exhibits, provide webinars and lectures to civic and cultural heritage institutions, and consult on proper preservation methods.
What is something you enjoy about working in the Collections Section?
I enjoy how well we work together. We’re a small group that is often asked to take on monumental tasks, but every person in the section will help, no questions asked, at the drop of a hat (or a text message). Regularly, our section is asked to step in and help in other building programs or ‘for other jobs as assigned’. We’re always happy to pitch in!
What do you view as the biggest challenge facing the profession today?
I think the growing lack of diversity within the archives community is troublesome. Due to the required (and often pricey) academic background and the need to complete more than one unpaid internship to qualify for entry level positions, untraditional and economically unsupported students are often put at a disadvantage.
What is your superpower?
Obviously, it’s getting items off tall shelves for short people. [Note, featured staff member is 6’2”]
What are your hobbies when you are not at work?
I enjoy spending time with my spouse, daughter, and our 3 rescue pups. I also like to read, garden, take trips, explore the great outdoors, and try new foods. Occasionally, I will tackle difficult home renovations, to the chagrin of my family.