This Week in LIS - 03 January 2014

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Headline of the Week: Farewell to Rachel Vagts, Luther College Archivist

Rachel Vagts is moving to a new position as Head of Special Collections and Archives at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. She has served Luther College as College Archivist for the past 15 years. I shared the following remarks during the program portion of her farewell party 1/2/2014.

Let me close the program with a couple thoughts.

The first is Vocation. When I think about vocation I think in terms of Stewardship.  In response to God’s Grace, we are called to develop and leverage our special gifts in service to others.  

Rachel, you are the first professionally trained archivist at Luther College. As the College Archivist, for the last 15 years, you have faithfully served us by managing our institutional records, developing special collections, serving the teaching and learning mission of Luther College and supporting researchers and friends of Luther College. When the news of your new position spread, a group of ten faculty from a number of academic disciplines came together and each of them shared the various ways they leverage and depend on the Archives for their work and to register their ongoing service needs. This signals the value these faculty members see in the College Archives that you have nurtured these 15 years and the service you have provided to them.

The second topic is Lifelong Learning. I think about Stewardship here as well. In response to God’s grace we are called to develop our gifts; this includes those we use in our daily professional work. This is especially important during times of rapid change. Rachel, you have lead by example in this regard.  You are active in the professional archivist organizations both participating in and contributing to conferences. You have shared and developed further leadership skills by serving in municipal government. In terms of developing mastery on new topics, just his year you have engaged in learning about important new topics including document imaging and workflow systems and digital repositories.  For this investment I’ll be looking for a thank-you note from Berea.

Over the years, you and the Luther College Archives, have developed reputations that contributed to Luther College successfully competing for and being awarded the grant to host the Archives Leadership Institute. This brings twenty-five of the best and brightest mid-career archivists to Luther College in the summer. Not only do they develop their archives leadership skills they come to know Luther College and in that sense our reach is extended. Prior to Luther’s proposal, the University of WI at Madison had only hosted these workshops. The event last summer was a wonderful success and with ongoing collaboration with you, from Berea, we know it will continue to be so for the next two years as well.

Rachel, your enthusiasm for your new opportunity is infectious. The light in your eyes and the energy in your voice when you describe the new position signal to me the important vocational role this will play in your life. You are well prepared and I am confident this new role will provide you further opportunity to develop and grow.

Rachel, on behalf of LIS and Luther College, I want to thank you for all your good work and wish you fond-farewell.  You have indeed been a “...good and faithful steward.”   We will miss you and wish you all the best!

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Tuesday 12/31/13


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January 2014

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