Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Meet the Staff - Carol Roberts

Welcome to another installment of “Meet the Staff.” Today, let’s meet Carol Roberts. She is the Conservation Manager for the Tennessee State Library and Archives.


How long have you worked here?

I have worked here since September 1986. That is 32 years, or 5 governors soon to be six, 5 Secretaries of State and 4 State Librarians.


What are some of the things you do as a Conservation manager?

Being the Conservation Manager involves being responsible for the preservation of the collection; books, documents, photographs, anything that is permanent part of the collection. That involves any and all techniques and environments to lengthen the lifespan of the item. We match unique techniques to the needs of the item; such as basic cleaning, then stabilizing the item based on the chemistry of it, and the care and handling of each item or collection. I use a different process or archival conservation technique each day to preserve something in Tennessee history.


What is your favorite part of your job?

I have many favorite things about the Library and Archives, but my top projects include helping counties care for their permanent records either on microfilm and or permanent documents related to the county. I love touring county courthouse attics, basements, and storage looking for rare historic documents to help the citizens of the county preserve their history. In 32 years I have visited all 95 counties to help either a county official, county archivist, museum, or public library.





Do you have a favorite collection?

In addition to county records that tell neat stories, I enjoy working on historic photographs. They provide wonderful clues to the story of historic events or people. The type of photographic style, the studio details, and any notes add clues to build historic story. Photographs help bring in much more interest than just words on paper. I never look at a historic image without looking at every detail of the subject and even the background.


What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

Libraries and archives bring the detail of history and current events into perspective. It helps understand why it is important to do things a certain way, or why laws exist. Or, it can even be as simple as why that road or creek is named the way it is. There is always a story from the past and it should be the strong foundation for the future.


The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

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