The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Special Collections staff shuffled

New co-director position created
Photo by Ari Ismail for The Lafayette
Ana Ramirez Luhrs and Elaine Stomber hope their co-directorship will expand the bandwidth of Special Collections.

Two familiar faces in the world of Lafayette libraries became the first-ever co-directors of special collections and college archives this summer.

Ana Ramirez Luhrs most recently served as the librarian in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights and head librarian for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives; the college is looking for a replacement for the latter position. Elaine Stomber will continue to serve as the college archivist. Both step into the role of co-director after over 15 years of experience at Lafayette.

According to Stomber, the new co-directorship structure will allow the department to adjust to its ever-changing role on campus. 

“The department has changed dramatically over, I would say, the last ten to fifteen years in terms of the amount of classes and researchers that we’re working with,” Stomber explained. “So while we used to be primarily a repository where we were working behind the scenes to process and catalog collections, now we’re … working more closely in the classroom with students, faculty and outside scholars.”

Until now, Luhrs’ time on College Hill has been primarily in a research and instruction role, but she has extensive special collections experience — her first job in the industry was as a special collections librarian at the New York Historical Society. 

“I’m a special collections librarian at heart,” Luhrs said. “For me, going back to this type of work permanently is a dream.” 

Luhrs hopes to use her experience running the library’s justice, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure that the department develops diverse collections moving forward. In pursuit of that goal, Special Collections recently added “The Gay Cookbook” by Lou Rand Hogan and the first published volume of poetry by an African-American writer.

According to Luhrs, the largely alumni-supplied catalog in Special Collections reflects the historically white and male makeup of the school.

“[My goal is to] increase the visibility of those voices that haven’t been historically collected or paid attention to,” Luhrs said.

Stomber and Luhrs believe that working as co-directors will give them greater bandwidth to pursue the numerous projects centered around supplementing course material for professors and students and preparing for the 200th anniversary of the college in 2026.

“It’s really nice for us to be able to start to split [the work],” Stomber said. “I can work more in terms of the college archives, the college history and our institutional records, and [Luhrs] focuses more in terms of special collections, rare books and those really important manuscripts, like the Marquis de Lafayette materials, that are going to be in such high demand in the upcoming years.”

Though Luhrs has not worked directly alongside Stomber in Special Collections until now, they have collaborated extensively in the past. 

“We’ve been colleagues for a while now and we’ve always worked really well together and respected each other’s work,” Luhrs said. “[Stomber] is like the living memory of the college. She knows everything … I just think we make a really good team.” 

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About the Contributors
Madeline Marriott
Madeline Marriott, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie (she/her) is a senior English major with a Government & Law minor. As the Editor-in-Chief, a Mentor Writing Associate, a Senior Student Contributor for Lafayette Communications, a Communications Intern for the Office of Sustainability, co-founder and Vice President of English Club, and a Senior Interviewer for Lafayette Admissions, no writing happens on campus without her knowing about it. Her Google Calendar would make your head spin. She is a die-hard Swiftie and Phillies fan, a collector of tote bags, a builder of a Hay Day empire, and an avid Goodreads and Letterboxd user. She smokes cigars and uses an old-timey typewriter and notepad in the newsroom.
Ari Ismail
Ari Ismail, Staff Photographer

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