Joshua Youngblood, rare books librarian and head of the Special Collections Instruction and Outreach Unit, has been elected president of the Society of Southwest Archivists. He assumed the role on May 18. 

An associate professor and faculty member since 2011, Youngblood serves the University Libraries in multiple capacities, including as the history librarian and Arkansas subject specialist.

“The importance of archives as a source of historical context and reliable facts has never been clearer in Arkansas and the entire country,” said Youngblood. “It is both a privilege and a challenge to help lead SSA as we continue to promote access to and greater understanding of archives, as well as advocate for the professionals and institutions doing the vital work of preserving our history and culture.”

The Society of Southwest Archivists is a regional, professional organization of archivists and records managers in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, representing more than 500 professionals and emerging professionals. Youngblood has presented at the society four times on topics that include using work-study assignments as professional development for students, outreach to regional and community organizations and digital humanities. Most recently, he and university archivist Amy Allen presented earlier this year on teaching with university archives and Special Collections’ initiative to reach more programs across the U of A. He served on the group’s program committee in 2014 and 2015 and was the local arrangements chair for the 2017 conference held in Fayetteville. Youngblood was elected vice president for the organization during 2018-2019 and served as program chair for the 2019 annual meeting. The Society of Southwest Archivists will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021, and Youngblood is the first president from an Arkansas institution since 1989. 

“Joshua brings a wealth of experience in archives to the role of SSA President, and we are so pleased that he has the opportunity to share this experience with colleagues around the region during the coming year,” said Melanie Griffin, assistant head of Special Collections.