University of Central Arkansas

UCA announces new head of special collections at Torreyson Library

Conway Institute of Music

CONWAY – Phoenix Smithey has been selected as the head of special collections and archivist for the Torreyson Library at the University of Central Arkansas.

In her new role, Smithey will perform a wealth of operations, including promoting access to history through primary source materials, bringing the UCA Archive out into the larger library ecosystem, introducing virtual reference and research appointments for the archive and bringing students into the archive.

“Archives are so important because not only do they teach us about our history but they teach about ourselves, archives empower us to be informed citizens and to seek answers,” Smithey said.

The UCA Archives consists of a variety of collection types that provide significant source material for researchers’ needs. Included in the archives are rare book and newspaper collections, photograph collections, oral histories and much more.

Torreyson Library has a huge focus on empowering students through research and information literacy and I am so excited to be here at UCA helping to accomplish these goals through education and outreach using archival materials,” Smithey said.

Phoenix Smithey
Phoenix Smithey

Smithey has worked in archives since 2018 and has held positions at the University of Arizona Museum of Art Archive of Visual Arts, the Western Archaeological Conservation Center and the Arizona Memory Project.

Previous to her hire at UCA, Williamson most recently held a position at the Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC). The CAHC is an archive and educational facility affiliated with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Smithey earned a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science with an archival concentration from the University of Arizona. She also received a Bachelor of Science in liberal arts from the New School, a university in New York City.

Some of her professional accomplishments include serving as the chair of the Professional Development Committee of the Society of Southwest Archivists, being named co-recipient of the 2023 Susie Pryor Award and being an active member of the Arkansas Humanities Council Next Generation Advisory Committee.

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