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The Original Order of Things:

An AAO Monthly Newsletter

July 2023, Volume 3, Issue 6

Student/New Professional Spotlight:

Heather Clayton

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I am originally from Hamilton and now reside in Toronto. The place where I currently live and work is situated on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. It is also home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis peoples, and is covered by Treaty 13. I recognize this in reconciliation and am appreciative of my ability to be able to exist in these spaces.

    This June I graduated from the University of Toronto’s iSchool. I completed an MI, specializing in Archives and Records Management and Library and Information Sciences. Last summer, I completed a co-op at TD Bank Archive and have been lucky enough to join them again this summer as the Associate Archivist. I also had the great pleasure of working on projects at McMaster Archive and TIFF’s Reference Library. Outside of the archives, you can find me enjoying sunny days, rock climbing, and knitting.

    2. Why did you choose to pursue a career in the archival profession?

    After five years in marketing and communications, I decided I wanted to make my way back to my first interest: history! As I researched my options, I remembered my experiences in the archives - any time I could go there to work was thrilling. I knew I wanted to help facilitate the same kind of experience that I had in the archives, supporting researchers in their quest to learn about history to better the future.

    3. When and why did you first join the AAO?

    I joined the AAO during the second year of my Masters. I joined because I knew I wanted to be a part of the archival field in a more collaborative and holistic way. I also felt that it would provide me opportunities to continue learning once I left school and entered the profession.

    4. What aspect of archival work interests you the most?

    The thing that makes me the most excited about archival work is fulfilling research requests and providing people with reference services. Facilitating interactions with the archives always puts the role in perspective - we are here to help connect individuals with information that will support their work, with the aim of creating new knowledge that can change the world for the better.

    5. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing archivists today? 

    While for the most part I would say it is the fast-growing and complex reality of digital records, on the other hand the issue that is most pressing to me is the importance of archive advocacy. Our role in keeping the archives organized is also to share them with the public. However, the general public tends to be rather unaware of archives and the possibilities that they hold. In order for the value of archives to be understood, I think it’s important we make a concerted effort to learn new ways that we can raise awareness around the archives and the possibilities they hold.

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