Watcher at the Gate
The University's new archivist hopes to make the collection more accessible to users.
At St. Catherine University, the archivist is the gatekeeper to the priceless collection of historical artifacts — paper files, photographs and objects — that have been amassed over the institution's 106-year history.
Although Deborah Kloiber, the University's new archivist and head of special collections, still plans to "keep the gates" at the archives, she also hopes to make the collection more accessible to members of the University community.
"In the archives profession, there seems to be a growing recognition that our job is not to be hoarding stuff but preserving our collections so that people can use them," Kloiber says. "While we still need to be aware of the preservation and security of these materials, they should be opened up for people to enjoy."
A reference librarian and curator of St. Catherine's Ade Bethune Collection, Kloiber was the natural choice to fill the shoes of her predecessor, the venerable Margery Smith, CSJ, '49, who retired from the position this past summer.
"After Sister Margery left, I made sense for the job because I had an interest in archives, and I have had experience working with an archival collection," says Kloiber, who has worked at St. Catherine since 1998.
As she transitions into her new position full time, Kloiber will begin the serious task of studying the archive's contents. After getting familiar with what's there and how the materials are arranged, Kloiber's next step will be to open the doors of history.
"I want to make contact with people all over campus," she says. "I also want to educate people about the things that should be coming to the archives to help preserve the institution's history." — Andy Steiner