By: Donnelly Walton, Archival Access Coordinator
This fall, two Special Collections staff members received honors and promotions.
Kevin Ray first started working at the Hoole Library in 1993 and stayed until 1998, when he received his MLIS and left UA to work as a media specialist at a public school. Kevin returned to the Hoole Library in 2002 to work as a project archivist for the Bevill Foundation. As the project archivist, he arranged and described the papers of Tom Bevill, a long-time member of Congress from Jasper, Alabama. When the grant project ended in 2004, Kevin began working as the institutional records assistant, a position he held for about nine years. He worked with Tom Land, who was the institutional records analyst. As institutional records assistant, Kevin was responsible for the daily running of our large records management program. Departments on campus send us their non-current records which state law mandates we keep until a certain amount of time (ex: 10 years after creation) until we can destroy them. Occasionally, however, these offices might need to view the record again. A representative from the office then contacts us and requests delivery of the record. We deliver the record to them and retrieve it when they are finished, recording its chain of custody along the way. In addition to non-current records that may be destroyed eventually, we also hold student transcripts as well as many other permanent records that record the business of the University. Requests for these vital records come from the Records Office; we deliver and retrieve these records as well.
In 2013, Kevin became an archival technician, a role that is responsible for arranging and describing manuscripts. Around the same time, Jessica Lacher-Feldman, our faculty member who was responsible for managing our reference activities, resigned and moved to another institution. Kevin very successfully took on the added responsibilities of managing our reference activities—he answered all incoming questions via email and phone calls, and he supervised our reading room activities. Always an essential member of the Hoole Library staff, Kevin’s role and the importance of his contributions skyrocketed in March 2014 when Tom Land retired after twenty-seven years. For several months, Kevin, still an archival technician, took over management of the University archives and the records management program (with the help of Gates Winters, who joined Special Collections in Spring 2013 as institutional archives assistant), while continuing to oversee all reference activities in Special Collections.
As of October 1, Kevin Ray is now officially the institutional records analyst. He has made an impact on our services by developing new records management guidelines that will soon be shared with offices on campus; working with Gates Winters and various offices on campus to very quickly identify large amounts of records (6000+ linear feet) that can be destroyed according to state law and work with University Recycling to accomplish this feat; and updating our reference practices. Special Collections has undergone several changes in the last few years as staff have retired and resigned; Kevin’s selflessness and dedication have made these changes painless for other staff and our patrons. A past recipient of the Library Leadership Award, Kevin continues his long-standing commitment to providing excellent service to our patrons, whether that patron is an undergraduate, a faculty member from UC-Berkeley, or a representative from President Bonner’s office. Special Collections and the University Libraries are very fortunate to have Kevin Ray.