Steering Shares: Helen Kim

“Steering Shares” is an opportunity for the WAR Steering Committee to introduce themselves to you! WAR Steering Committee Member Helen Kim is the Archivist at Visual Communications, an Asian American media arts nonprofit in Los Angeles. Helen holds a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and her MSIS from the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. She was elected to the WAR Steering Committee last year and currently serves on SAA’s Appointments Committee.

What drew you to archives?

Before my archivist life, I was working at a community-based nonprofit in Little Tokyo, which is in Downtown Los Angeles.  I volunteered at the Los Angeles Public Library Little Tokyo Branch, and thought about pursuing public librarianship. At the same time, I was volunteering with the Little Tokyo Historical Society, working on a book that took photo contributions from community members. I first learned about archives and archival materials from that experience. When I applied to school, I wasn’t sure which direction I preferred. That quickly changed at orientation, where Dr. David Gracy’s excitement for archives pushed me over to the archives side. (I should add that he’s the professor that Christine referred to her in post. He’s responsible for creating many archivists!)

Why did you get involved with WAR?
Women’s issues in the workplace have always interested me, and WAR seemed like a great opportunity to further explore issues like management, professional development, and work-life balance.  So far, I’m really enjoying hearing everyone’s ideas and perspectives, particularly from WAR’s live-tweets.  I look forward to more!

What’s your favorite memory from an SAA conference?

My favorite memory is from my first SAA conference in Chicago. Seeing and meeting so many archivists all over the country was a thrill, and I loved hearing the diverse range of projects people presented. But the best memory from that first conference might be of the Texas Round-Up, the alumni get-together, where very spirited professors and staff led everyone in singing the school spirit song, “The Eyes of Texas.”  I’ve got to make sure I learn all the words before this year’s conference in D.C.!HKim


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