Introducing River Freemont, Archives Assistant

This post comes from River Freemont, Student Archives Assistant in the Historical Collections & Archives.

Hello! My name is River Freemont (they/them/theirs). I graduated from Portland State University in 2012 with a BA in Liberal Studies, and a minor in Indigenous Nations Studies. The courses I chose to take adhered to a theme: I wanted to study systems of oppression and power in society. After graduation I considered going into social work, but I was apprehensive about the emotional strain of that field. I chose to continue working in the restaurant industry, where I’ve worked for about 14 years now, and to wait and see where my interests led me.

My strong sense of curiosity, and a love of learning and research led me to libraries and archives. I am drawn to the idea of advocating for universal access to knowledge and information, and I intend to work to disrupt systems of oppression in cultural institutions. I believe this work is a good balance of my empathic nature and my intellectual curiosity. I am passionate about discoverability as an issue that commonly impedes access, and I am excited about curation of archival materials as a tool for community engagement.

Prior to beginning any formal training, I volunteered at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center from May 2019 – March 2020, where I worked on adding descriptive metadata to photographic records. Of course, that opportunity was cut short due to the pandemic. In Summer 2021, I was lucky to have the chance to work with the Smithsonian Institute’s Libraries and Archives as an intern. I worked on a project aimed at proposing changes to Library of Congress Subject Headings, in order to make the common descriptive resource more accurate and inclusive.

I am now a second-year Master of Library Science student at Emporia State University, with a concentration in Archives Studies. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to work as an Archives Assistant with the Historical Collections & Archives at OHSU. After more than a year of exploring libraries and archives remotely, I am especially excited to work with materials hands-on. I hope to build experience with digital tools, cataloging and description, curation, and more.

Talk to me about science fiction, plants and animals of the Pacific Northwest, foraging, crafting, and your pets!