Emilyn Brown Selected as Administrative Fellow

Emilyn Brown  
Emilyn Brown, a new Administrative Fellow, splits her time between projects at Loeb Music Library and Harvard University Archives. A reception in honor of Brown is scheduled for October 29, at 4 pm, in the Spaulding Room of the Loeb Music Library, Music Building.

October 25, 2007 – As one of ten new fellows for the 2007-08 University Administrative Fellowship Program (AFP), Emilyn Brown is a busy woman, dividing her time between significant projects at Loeb Music Library and the Harvard University Archives.

Brown’s archivist background makes her an excellent fit for both of her Harvard assignments. For the past four years, she has worked as the Archivist/Acting Librarian for the Library for Caribbean Research (LCR) at the Research Institute for the Study of Man (RISM) in New York. There Brown had responsibility for managing all aspects of archival preservation for the institute’s archival collection and for preparing it for transfer to another institution.

At Loeb Music, Brown reports to Sarah Adams, Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library, and is working through a backlog of archival processing that includes everything from classical composers to jazz collections to the Isham special collections.

"Currently I’m surveying the collection that Isham has for Nadia Boulanger to look at how music archives are processed and I’m learning what sort of processing goals Loeb Music has," says Brown. "They want me to suggest ways that archiving could be implemented. Although they’ve done a great job, they’re looking for feedback."

"We are extremely grateful for the specialized skill and sophisticated experience and accomplishment she brings to our enterprises for the year," said Virginia Danielson, Richard F. French Librarian of Loeb Music Library.

Brown may not be a musician herself but she carries an appreciation for music of all kinds and aims to make the archives as accessible as possible, largely through Encoded Archival Description (EAD) guidelines. She also hopes to be involved with the digitization of a civil rights collection, which would involve identifying people in the civil rights movement and helping choose those whose work might be digitized.

After spending Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday at Loeb Music, Brown finishes out each week at the University Archives. There, reporting to Megan Sniffin-Marinoff, University Archivist, she is working on a project involving materials from Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

"Megan would like to identify underrepresented groups in the Archives, beginning with Latin Americans who were at Harvard," says Brown, noting that the task raises both collection development and record management issues. "If you can identify the Latin American presence at Harvard, you can then determine if the records have been secured".

With her dual job responsibilities, time management is key for Brown. "I’m really making sure that I’m clear about everything I have to do and that I’m constantly able to get answers to questions. Both Sarah and Megan are excellent at providing that feedback," she says.

For Brown, the timing of her arrival in the AFP program is fortuitous. The Library for Caribbean Research closed its doors at the end of August, and she just recently earned her MSLIS from the Pratt Institute in New York. Pursuing a library degree was a calculated move on her part, which she undertook knowing that LCR would close this year. Brown also holds a BA in anthropology and African American studies from City University of New York, and an MA in history from Columbia University.

She initially learned of AFP through the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). "The Administrative Fellowship Program offered experience in a library setting, which is what I was really looking for. And I wanted to be in a real team environment," says Brown.

Now in its eighteenth year at Harvard, AFP works to attract candidates, especially those from underrepresented ethnic minority groups and those committed to addressing their underrepresentation in university administration, to administrative careers in higher education. The program selects professionals from both within Harvard and without. Those chosen benefit from a twelve-month management experience in an academic environment complemented by a professional development program, all coordinated by the Office of the Assistant to the President

This marks the third year in a row that HCL has participated. "The College Library is committed to recognizing the significant value having a diverse employee population can bring," says Steve Marley, Director of Human Resource Services. "The Administrative Fellows Program is one vehicle that we have been able to use to address that."

"We have always tried to match our applicants' interests with our needs," says Marley. "Once we identified Emilyn as a candidate we shared her resume with Ginny Danielson and Sarah Adams who felt that her skills would help them address some important tasks they needed to complete."

As an AFP Fellow, Brown will also participate in an education program designed to enhance the Fellows' administrative and professional skills and to help clarify their career objectives. The program includes regularly scheduled seminars, group workshops, and lectures given by senior administrators and faculty members at the University on various aspects of leadership development.

"Needless to say, I'm very happy to be here," says Brown. "I’m very excited about what I can bring, but also about what I’m learning. I am just really open to the whole experience, and have discovered that I very much like being part of an academic community. This is great preparation for the future, and I am thankful for the opportunity."

On Monday, October 29, at 4 pm, there will be a reception in honor of Administrative Fellow, Emilyn Brown in the Spalding Room of the Loeb Music Library, Music Building. All HCL staff are invited to attend.