Preserving a Passion for Libraries

June 6, 2016 by Kimberly Marselas

Couple’s gift will benefit Sheridan Libraries’ future

Jim Archibald’s passion for reading built during his days studying as a “D-Level guy” at the Eisenhower Library, the heart of the Sheridan Libraries and University Museums at Johns Hopkins, and, later, in law school. An attorney and vice president of administration and regulatory affairs for Wm. T. Burnett & Co. and STX, Archibald still sets aside plenty of time for reading. He and his wife, Joanne, own more than 1,000 books — many of them tomes about Jim’s beloved Maine. Long-time university supporters, the couple recently established a charitable gift annuity that will benefit the Sheridan Libraries’ future needs. Here, he and Joanne, a realtor with Long & Foster, talk about their love of all things library-related.

A man and a woman stand smiling in a library
With a charitable gift annuity, the Archibalds have preserved a passion for all things library-related.

What made you devoted library supporters?

Jim: “My love of libraries started with my mother, Jean. She was the head librarian at Macalester College, a liberal arts school in St. Paul. Books and libraries were obviously something that I had great exposure to and appreciation for from a young age. At Johns Hopkins, I enjoyed wandering the stacks and exploring the shelves. There was so much interesting, unexpected material.”

Joanne: “Reading is something our whole family enjoys. My parents were big readers, too, and we’ve kept many of our children’s books to share with our grandchildren.”

Why are libraries so critical to academic and professional success?

Jim: “I was a trial lawyer for most of my career, and often, the job was about figuring out what the facts were. There are always going to be disputes about facts. With well-run libraries, we can go back like a detective or historian to the original sources to find the facts.”

How has Jim’s service on the Sheridan Libraries National Advisory Council informed your thinking about modern library science?

Jim: “This is a fascinating group. We’ve met with librarians from the University of Virginia and Cornell, and Carla Hayden, CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library, who was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as Librarian of Congress. These are talented, smart people who bring to the table important scholarly and business insights.”

Joanne: “In Dublin last year, we were able to see the Book of Kells (circa 800). In Paris, we saw beautiful, hand-made illuminated Bibles and manuscripts. The age and the history behind them give you new appreciation for preservation.”

How do you envision the Sheridan Libraries of the future?

Jim: “They are probably going to be much the same as they are now — cutting edge in both historical and cultural respects, but with a focus on the digital age moving forward. Dean Winston Tabb has assembled such a wonderful team, especially with the Digital Research and Curation Center. The Sheridan Libraries are probably going to be even more important because it is increasingly difficult to organize what is ephemeral and not physical.”

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Topics: Sheridan Libraries and University Museums, Undergraduate Student Experience, Support Scholars