Please join us in welcoming Crystal Johnson to the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries as the Processing Archivist for Community Collections. Prior to joining the Libraries, Crystal was the LA as Subject Resident Archivist at California State University, Northridge.
We asked Crystal, who uses she/her/hers pronouns, a few questions about herself and her plans for her new role.
What are your goals for this year as our new Processing Archivist for Community Collections?
I have two main goals for this upcoming year. First to get a few backlogged collections processed and available to researchers. Secondly, I’m eager to establish partnerships between the University Archives and CMU student organizations. Although they might not know it, student organizations are constantly creating records. “Records” like photos, videos, meeting minutes, t-shirts, and event fliers capture what the social, cultural, and political climate was in the time they were created and will give insight into what student life was like for future researchers.
How has your prior experience prepared you for this role at the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries?
In my last job as a Resident Archivist, I worked with community organizations on collaborative archival and digitization projects. I learned a lot about building trust and the importance of active listening. I also gained experience in adapting my teaching style to fit the needs of a wide variety of ages, backgrounds, and technology skills. I hope to draw from these experiences when performing outreach to campus organizations.
What projects are you excited to tackle in your first few months?
I’m really excited to work with students and student organizations. I’m interested in learning how they create and preserve their “archives.” It’s really important that any collections donated by student organizations to the University Archives are described in a way that reflects their voice and is respectful of their community. I’m excited to learn more about the groups’ traditions and history at CMU.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to sew, watch movies, and explore Pittsburgh. I’m a printmaker so I like to spend time in my studio and read about the history of printing.