Get to Know PLASC: Joanna Kolosov, Vice-Chair, Chair-elect

Where do you work? What is your favorite part of your job?

I work at the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library, one of four special collections of Sonoma County Library, located in downtown Santa Rosa, California, about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. 

The favorite part of my job is that every day is different. I gain exposure to new ideas, people and places, and historical insights. It’s great for the curious mind!

What’s a typical day like at your job? 

My typical day as a librarian/archivist is a mix of answering questions on local history and family history by consulting a wide range of resources including books, maps, directories, genealogy and newspaper databases, and archival collections. I facilitate donations of historical materials from community members and organizations. In my off-desk time, I am creating accession records to make our archival backlog discoverable. I also help manage the library’s web archives and provide access to the County of Sonoma Archives. And lately, I’ve been asked by non-profit organizations to consult on community archiving projects.

When and how did you become an archivist or become interested in archives?

I first encountered the professional field of archives (and that you could be an archivist) in the beginning of my MLIS program at UCLA. A documentary film enthusiast, I was interested in the elements – oral histories/artifacts/documents/photos –  from which a hidden narrative can emerge and curious about the notion of “archivist as documentarian.” I had an adviser who encouraged me to think big picture and take classes in documentary filmmaking from the department of EthnoCommunications and courses in Oral History. Working with primary sources, I developed an appreciation for the persistence of materials and the stories they embody. 

What’s your favorite project or collection you’ve worked with in the past year?

My favorite project has been bringing a DIY digitization memory lab to Sonoma County Library. I had been watching the Memory Lab Network evolve and had visited other labs and pestered their librarians (Thank you – Hoan-Vu Do, Jonathan Waltmire, Trina Camping, Breanna Feliciano – for your patience!!). Now, with a grant from IMLS through California State Library’s LSTA program, we will be offering digitization/digital preservation education, training and services to the public next spring. Stay tuned for the Playback Memory Lab – empowering individuals and communities to preserve what matters to them!

What made you join PLASC’s Steering Committee?

I joined to be part of a larger network of archivists working in public libraries. I wanted to contribute to making PLASC a resource hub and a forum to recognize the collections & programming work of our members from across the country.

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