Photo credit: Meredith Miller
BPL's New Archives Department
With our donors' support, the Associates has increased the number of staff we support in the Boston Public Library's Special Collections Department over the last several years. Today, we are proud to underwrite the salaries of eight full-time Special Collections staff members, as well as a number of contractors. The latest position that the Associates is pleased to add is the Lead Archivist, a new position for the BPL. This position oversees the processing of archival collections at the Library, ensuring that the collections are appropriately arranged, described, and made accessible. We are pleased to introduce you to Eve Neiger.
Neiger began as the Library’s Lead Archivist in September 2020. Beth Prindle, Head of Special Collections, said of Eve's hiring, "We are delighted to welcome Eve to our Special Collections team at the BPL. Eve's expertise, knowledge of best practices in the field, and prior experience with discovery tools are all important assets for the Library's new Archives Department and our incredible archival collections."
Originally from Chicago, Neiger came to Boston in the mid-2000s to attend Brandeis University. She later earned a Master of Science in Information
from the University of Michigan. Before starting at the BPL in September, Neiger was a Processing Archivist at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. During her time at Yale, she arranged and described visual materials, including photographs, prints, and artists' papers. Neiger was the Yale Archival Systems Management Committee's co-chair and helped lead the management and development of Yale Library’s ArchivesSpace system—a web-based database software for archival description, collection management, and search and discovery.
A view of the finding aid for the Aldino Felicani Sacco-Vanzetti Collection in the new ArchivesSpace public user interface.
A broadside for a Sacco and Vanzetti benefit at the Columbus Theatre on June 20, 1921.
Neiger is already immersed in her new role at the BPL and is working with her colleagues in Special Collections to increase the collections' availability to broad audiences. "I am thrilled to be back home in Boston and honored to take on the role of Lead Archivist at Boston Public Library to help build BPL's first Archives Department. Archival collections are everywhere at BPL, in Rare Books & Manuscripts, the Arts collections, the Leventhal Map and Education Center, and in our own institutional records. Archives hold endless human stories, always changing depending on our perspectives as researchers or readers," says Neiger of her new role at the Library. One project that Neiger is excited to be working on is to integrate ArchivesSpace into the BPL’s work. She notes the database system will allow staff to put together disparate collection management documentation and description. "The ArchivesSpace public user interface makes search and discovery of archival collections more accessible, dynamic, and user-friendly, and it will allow users to request materials directly from the site when we reopen our Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room in 2022," Neiger said about the software's potential to improve the accessibility of the Special Collections. “Stewarding BPL’s archival collections through preservation, arrangement, and description is essential for preserving the stories they hold and making these stories ‘free to all,’ " she adds.
The Associates is looking forward to learning about all the remarkable archival materials that will come to light through the work of the new Archives Department.