The University of Arizona

UA Special Collections Names New Director

By Gabrielle Sykes-Casavant, UA Libraries | March 29, 2012

India Spartz, senior archivist at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, has been named the new director for the UA's Special Collections. Spartz begins her post in April.

India Spartz has been named the new director of the UA Special Collections.
India Spartz has been named the new director of the UA Special Collections.

India Spartz has been named director of the University of Arizona Special Collections.

The University of Arizona Libraries announced Spartz's appointment to the newly created position earlier this month. She is scheduled to begin on April 16. 

The appointment of Spartz, who was hired after an extensive national search, represents a major step in elevating the profile of Special Collections, both on and off campus and particularly among researchers and the local community.

Spartz, currently the senior archivist at Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, has more than 20 years of experience in the field of special collections and archives management.

She previously was university archivist for the Alaska and polar regions department at the University of Alaska, guest curator for the Alaska State Museums and Alaska Historical Collections librarian at the Alaska State Library.

Given Spartz's commitment of service to the field and her achievements, Dean of University Libraries Carla Stoffle said she recognized her as the ideal candidate to lead Special Collections.

"India Spartz is a forward-thinking archivist with an entrepreneurial approach to Special Collections," Stoffle said.

"This is a time of significant change for Special Collections, particularly in terms of preservation, digitization and access," Stoffle said. "India's successful record of archival management and leadership, grant funding and donor engagement will position Special Collections to maximize on the many new opportunities that emerge from this time of change."

The scope and diversity of Special Collections make it an important resource for the UA and the local, national and international academic communities.

Established in 1958 to house materials on Arizona, the Southwest and the U.S./Mexico borderlands, Special Collections now includes rare books, manuscript collections, photographs and other materials in a wide variety of subject areas.

Newly acquired collections include the Heiko A. Oberman research library, the Henry F. Dobyns ethnohistory and applied anthropology library, and the American Museum of Vaudeville and Up with People Archives. 

"Special collections, in general, are being challenged with becoming more entrepreneurial," Spartz said. 

Spartz also said archivists and librarians in special collections must consider new approaches to how "collections are going to be preserved, made accessible, maintain relevance, and also be continuously funded."

Spartz also recognizes the importance of connecting Special Collections with its community of users.

In her first year at the UA, Spartz said she plans "to get to know the University and encourage the University to get to know" her. Within her first year at the UA, she would like to establish relationships across the campus with faculty members and students, and also within the local community.

Spartz earned a bachelor of arts degree in U.S. history and Alaska native studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a master's of library and information science from UC Berkeley, and a master's degree in museum studies from University College in London. She also holds an archivist certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists.

A member of the Society of American Archivists and the Academy of Certified Archivists, Spartz also has participated on panels and in programs at local, regional, national and international archival and library conferences.

Also, Spartz has served as a guest panelist and grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, an archival training consultant for the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Saudi Arabia, and has contributed numerous articles to scholarly publications.