Tribute to Brenda Banks

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Brenda S. Banks. In an indirect way, she affected my interest in publishing. In 2009, I was working at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in downtown Atlanta. At the time, she was teaching “Administration and Use of Historical Archives” at Georgia State University in the Heritage Preservation Program. When she decided to not teach anymore, she called my colleagues to see if they were interested. Due to other commitments, neither of them could do it so they asked me. With only a couple weeks before the semester started, I agreed.

I used her syllabus and spoke to her about the class. I was excited to teach, even though I hadn’t taught before. This was 5 years after I finished library school and because at the time I was working on my PhD, I did not do much to keep up with archival literature. Teaching the class forced me, in a good way, to examine the literature and read much that I hadn’t read before. I taught the class three times and it helped me become an adjunct in the Master of Archival Studies at Clayton State University.

Naturally, it was much different reading, interpreting, and analyzing the literature as a professor than as a student, especially with several years of practical experience. With every class I taught since, I look for a wide variety of books and articles to incorporate into a syllabus to provide students with a breadth of resources. I spent hours researching and reading books and articles and gained a familiarity with specific resources plus ways to research different topics both within archival literature as well as related professions.

Teaching was one avenue that led to my interest in publishing. The knowledge of resources helped me while editor of Provenance, in that I frequently recommended literature for authors to read to help with their articles. It also proved beneficial while on the SAA Publications Board to again recommend resources to authors, but also understand gaps and needs in archival literature. And it continues to help as I write the reference book.

So thank you Brenda, for your role in leading me down this path.

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