Louis Jones, field archivist for the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and SAA in Austin, Texas, that runs beetween July 31 and August 6. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.
During his 26-year tenure at the Reuther Library, Jones has processed numerous collections, consulted with historical agencies, and secured collections associated with the Reuther Library’s collection scope. Oral history projects and exhibits he has played a part in curating have spanned the subject areas of Black history, Detroit, organized labor or some combination thereof. In the process, he has helped to provide voice and exposure to those who might otherwise be silent and unseen. His colleagues note his deep commitment to building relationships, his strong service philosophy, and his ability to establish respectful connections and trust with donors and communities.
Jones also serves as an adjunct professor in Wayne State University’s School of Information Sciences where he teaches an introductory level course in archival administration and has served as the faculty advisor to the SAA Student Chapter. Previous service to SAA includes membership on the Mosaic Scholarship Committee, as a SAA mentor, and as chair of the 2002 SAA Nominating Committee. The Midwest Archives Conference has likewise benefitted from his work on its Minority Scholarship Committee and Nominating Committee. He understands and champions the need for becoming a member of SAA, the Academy of Certified Archivists and similar professional associations.
One of Jones’ greatest contributions to the archival profession has come in the form of his work with the Academy of Certified Archivists. Within that organization, he served in a number of key positions, including as its president. During his tenure within the Academy’s leadership, Jones spearheaded an oral history project designed to document the work of the Academy, convened task forces to generate revenue without raising dues and maintain the organization’s digital assets, including emails, for future access and review by interested researchers. With the support of the Academy’s board and Capitol Hill Management, which manages the day-to-day activities of the organization, he worked to build upon past successes by initiating the Academy’s first strategic planning process in its then 28-year history. Through that effort, the Academy is now in the process of adding an additional board member to focus on member services, develop an improved website platform, and establish new guiding principles in the form of mission, values and vision statements for the organization. Given his continued commitment to the ideals of the Academy, he was appointed to lead the task force charged with drafting these statements for review by its membership.
One supporter stated that Jones has the “energy, courage, and foresight to question the status quo, and is willing to challenge his colleagues to explore and implement innovation. I admire his patience, professional integrity, and commitment to inclusivity.”