As we say goodbye to longtime Davidson fixture Jan Blodgett, who retires this month, we say hello to a new archivist – join us in welcoming DebbieLee Landi, the new College Archivist & Records Management Coordinator! DebbieLee began work two weeks ago, and I conducted a short interview with her to introduce Around the D readers to the newest member of our team:
You just began working at Davidson a few weeks ago – can you talk about your background in archival work and where you’ve worked before?
I was fortunate to attend the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and gained a solid foundation in archival theory and practice while living (and playing) in one of the most beautiful and captivating cities in the world. I have worked at two other private liberal arts colleges, Furman University and the University of the South, affectionately known as Sewanee.
What appealed to you most about the College Archivist & Records Management Coordinator position?
The quality of the established program that includes both the archival records for the College and Records Management. I was already familiar with the work of the current archivist, Jan Blodgett, and when I visited campus, I was impressed with the expertise and talents of the other members of the department as well as the staff of the Little Library. There were several students involved in my interview process and they, too, were exceptional, demonstrating a keen interest in the work of the department and asking insightful questions.
Beginning a new job can be a bit of a whirlwind, but do you have any favorite moments so far?
There are so many. Each day I learn something new and receive warm and welcoming greetings from people all around campus. In the E.H. Little Library, one of the greetings was a musical serenade performed by members of the staff (including an original song!). Another very unexpected welcome was an anonymous donation in my honor to support the #allinforDavidson campaign.
What has surprised you about the college or the area?
The number of smiling, friendly faces and the beauty of the campus.
Are there any new initiatives or ideas that you’re hoping to implement here?
Augmenting the impressive work of the department with the integration of Archives & Special Collections resources in the curricula and expanding those initiatives to include programs such as Study Abroad and Service Odyssey. Involving students as field agents and inviting guest curators to increase the involvement of the college community in building the archival record. Exploring the possibilities of a digital badging initiative and archival records as Open Education Resources … to share just a few ideas.
What are your hobbies when you’re not in the archives?
Trying new recipes and new restaurants and incorporating chocolate whenever possible! Keeping up with Moxy, my canine companion, and the latest travels of Dr. Who. Hiking and visiting state, national and provincial parks in search of waterfalls and secluded beaches.