Elena Rossi-Snook was the 2002 Fellowship recipient. She is currently an Archivist at the New York Public Library in New York. Anastasia McGee, PRO-TEK Customer Outreach Administrator, spoke with Elena recently about her time at PRO-TEK.
AM: How do you apply what you learned at PRO-TEK in the job you’re doing today?
ERS: What I remember most about PRO-TEK is that everyone there was very supportive. It was my first time working with such a caring group of people. Sharing information was very easy and open. That is the benefit that I thnk of first when I think of PRO-TEK. My first week there a couple of the guys and their wives took me to dinner and I can still phone Rick with a question whenever something comes up.
That’s a great lesson.
AM: Tell me a bit about the collection that you manage.
ERS: It is a circulating collection of films. It has been highly curated since the 1950’s. People would send in films for consideration to be a part of the collection. For new acquisitions these days, we will take some things from collections that are being disposed of by other institutions. We try to honor the history of our collection.
AM: What kind of access does the public have to it?
ERS: Almost everything can be checked out but some things must be screened at the library. We also lend to festivals and for public exhibitions. There is a trust inherent in being a circulating collection and we respect that.
AM: What will you do with the original media once you’ve digitized everything?
ERS: We are planning to keep everything on film. We preserve 1-4 titles per year. We have over 8000 films but we don’t own the rights to transfer everything to a digital format.
AM: How do you decide what to save?
ERS: A lot of it is personal choice. Sometimes the filmmaker contacts us or there is a grant for a specific project. We are trying to do the most significant titles first. The librarians have a great historical knowledge and they know what the community needs to have preserved. So their input is vital to the decision making process.
AM: How did you enjoy your time in California?
ERS: It was great! I learned to surf and I found driving around everywhere to be very exciting.
We would like to thank Elena for her time and participation in our 20th anniversary celebration.