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      Faces of Widener

      Jill Borin, University Archivist and Reference Librarian

      Diamond Schuler, communication studies, '18

      Jill Borin, University Archivist and Reference Librarian

      Widener University and the Chester community have a wealth of history, and University Archivist and Reference Librarian Jill Borin is working hard to preserve, store, and share that information with everyone.

      As university archivist, Borin determines the best way to organize materials in the archives so that they can be made more accessible. Along with her archives assistant Kayla Van Osten, she works to create more digital exhibits and preserve born digital content such as What's Up @ Widener! Borin works with documents like course catalogs and scrapbooks, which date from the beginning of Widener's history to present day.

      Borin joined the library staff at Widener in 2002. "The job was made for me," she said of learning of the position after graduating from Rutgers library school. "Having my master's in history and experience working in archives, I felt like it (the job at Widener) was perfect for me." While Borin didn't always want to be a librarian she felt like she "found her people," while pursuing her degree. She had a love for history and a desire to work in academia.

      The job of an archivist requires one to be creative and think outside the box, which is what Borin loves about the position. Though she is not artistic, being an archivist still allows her to create things. From building images or designing digital exhibits, she likes making valuable and timeless items more accessible.

      Borin has learned a lot about Widener during her time as an archivist and librarian, and she feels there's a lot for people to learn from these documents. "Widener has a very rich and interesting history of dedication to student excellence in education, which has been the goal of the university and all its predecessor institutions," she said. "These values are apparent through all the documents – past and present."

      One of the projects, Borin is most proud of is the Connections Timeline exhibit in Alumni Auditorium. It was the first thing she worked to digitize at Widener.

      She'll never forget one incident that showed the power of living history. One photo displayed on the Connections Timeline exhibit, features Malcolm X, Gloria Richardson, and other civil rights luminaries in Chester, as well as "an unidentified man." During the presentation of the George Raymond Papers, the unidentified man showed up and identified himself as Woody Woodland. He took a picture next to his photo and the caption of "unidentified man." Borin was able to quickly update the digital exhibit with this new information. She says Woodland was a joy to meet and seeing him with his own history was unforgettable.

      Borin currently lives in Chadds Ford, Pa., where she runs a book club out of the local library, the Rachel Kohl Library. She enjoys spending time with her family and attending arts and cultural performances.


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