On February 1, 2013, our Special Collections Department will be just a little different. Not only will the office across from mine be empty, but our department will have said good-bye to our Head, Tanya Zanish-Belcher. She will be moving on to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she has accepted the position as Director of Special Collections & University Archivist. She has worked here at Iowa State for over 17 years, led our department for over 14 years, and began in the Special Collections Department in 1995 as Curator for the Archives of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). She has been a supervisor, manager, leader, mentor, guide, role model, fellow archivist and colleague. To say that she will be missed is a vast understatement.
Tanya has been such an integral member of the Special Collections Department for so many years that it is hard to quickly summarize what she does for the department. As her resume states, she “Manages the Special Collections Department through the general administration, planning, evaluation, and implementation of program goals including reference services, collection development, digital project coordination, preservation, and technical processing; promotes archival issues and the Department’s activities and holdings to campus and outside constituencies; and selects and appraises organizational archives and personal manuscript collections in a variety of formats. Responsible for the Department’s grantsmanship and development efforts; overall supervision of the departmental faculty and paraprofessional staff; and participation in divisional and library management.” In addition to her duties as Head of the Special Collections Department, she has maintained her position as Curator of the Archives of Women in Science and Engineering and has continued to work with donors to bring in a variety of collections documenting both women’s organizations and individuals in this area.
Tanya has not only lead and managed the Special Collections Department, but she has not hesitated to do the day to day work such as handle reference requests, conduct tours (in fact, she is conducting one right now as I write this post!), and when we lost staff she quickly volunteered to be the one who stayed in the department over the lunch hour to pull a rare book or archival collection when everyone but the archivist at the reference desk was out to lunch. Not only has she conducted her work here with enthusiasm, energy, and dedication but she has also been committed to local, regional and national professional groups. She is a founder of the Consortium of Iowa Archivists (CIA), and has been involved in a variety of professional groups such as the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA). She is a Past President of MAC and was recently elected to the Council for the Society of American Archivists. She is also an SAA Fellow. In addition to her work with professional organizations, she has regularly given presentations to local and regional groups.
She has contributed much to the Special Collections Department, University Library, Iowa State University, and the State of Iowa. Even though she may be leaving us for a new opportunity, she has pointed out repeatedly that she will only be a phone call or email away. Her dedication to Iowa State will not completely disappear, but her steadfast leadership will be missed. We wish her all the very best in her new endeavors!