Out of the Vault, Spring 2023 – ALA Archives Notes

Out of the Vault is the newsletter of the University Archives, which covers the activities and staff of the archives and its programs, including the American Library Association Archives! The first issue can be found here: https://emails.illinois.edu/newsletter/43/391280343.html. ALA Archives Notes is an addendum blog post to the newsletter with additional information relating to the ALA Archives.

As noted in the Spring 2023 issue of Out of the Vault, University Archivist Emeritus William Maher received the Midwest Archives Conference’s Emeritus Membership Award. Professor Maher retired from the University of Illinois Archives in December 2022 after 45 years of service. His contributions to the University Archives and the archives profession as a whole cannot be overstated. He is also a tireless supporter of the ALA Archives.

William Maher and Joel Lee
William Maher, archivist at the University of Illinois, and Joel Lee, ALA Librarian, demonstrating PARADIGM online subject index to the ALA Archives.

Professor Maher arrived at the University Archives a few years after the ALA Archives was established in 1973 by then University Archivist Maynard Brichford. Maher was present for and oversaw several expansions to the ALA Archives program. This has included physical changes to the archives, such as moving the archives to its current location at the Archives Research Center and working on major updates to the climate controls for the stacks. He has also overseen the expansion of intellectual access to the archives, demonstrating the use of the PARADIGM online subject index at the 1978 Annual Conference and, years later, input in the development of the archives websites and current Archon database.

While much of the oversight for the ALA Archives was done by former assistant university archivists, Elizabeth Cardman and Chris Prom, in recent years Maher took on a more active role with impactful results. He worked on expanding the staffing for the archives to improve services. He helped to secure adequate storage for an influx of new accessions from ALA Headquarters after its move in 2020, which resulted in over 580 boxes being transferred to the archives. He has made sure that ALA Archives staff have seat at the table in discussions about needs for the Archives and Special Collections building and helping ALA Archives staff prepare for the move in the next couple of years. And he has long emphasized the value that the ALA Archives brings to the University Archives and Library by strengthening the University Archives collections on the history of librarianship.

Professor Maher has been a mentor to many of the graduate students, hourly workers, and professionals who have worked at the ALA Archives. His impact within just the ALA Archives was significant enough that current and past staff of the archives nominated him for his Emeritus Membership Award.

The ALA Archives congratulates William Maher on a well deserved award and retirement! We hope to see Professor Maher back at the archives as a friend, researcher, and maybe even as a volunteer!

David McCartney, Paul Eisloeffel, and William Maher
William Maher (right) with David McCartney and Paul Eisloeffel with their MAC Emeritus Awards. Photo courtesy of MAC.