Pikes Peak Library District’s Special Collections Manager, Tim Blevins, has been awarded the highest honor The Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) bestows, its Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a member who has made significant contributions to the Society of Southwest Archivists as well as the wider archival profession over a period of years.
Blevins coordinated the Rio Grande Historical Collections’ preservation microfilming project in Durango, Mexico. The primary focus was the filming of the Historical Archives of the Archdiocese of Durango, but the notary records in the Archivos Historicos del Estado de Durango and colonial records in Sombrerete, Durango were also included. The project produced two thousand rolls of microfilm. Access to these formerly closed archives has delighted academic researchers, and they have proved invaluable to people researching their family history.
Blevins left the Southwest region for the Northwest, accepting a job with the Office of the Secretary of State in the state of Washington, where he rescued a floundering microfilming program and made it self-supporting. In his current position as the head of Pikes Peak Library District’s Special Collections Department, he recognizes how public libraries are in a good position to save the primary research materials important to regional history. He is the producer of the annual Pikes Peak Regional History Symposium. He continually strives to make Special Collections relevant to the community by obtaining, digitizing, and indexing original death and internment records and documenting historic events, such as the recent Black Forest Fire.
Blevins has been an active member in the Society of Southwest Archivists since 1989. He has served as chair of SSA’s Membership and Development Committees. In 2006, he began a three-year commitment to SSA when elected vice-president/president-elect. He quietly and supportively stepped up to the plate when needed during his vice-presidency when the president was forced to deal with health issues. Last year he stepped up again to serve SSA on the new finance committee.
In accepting the award, Blevins noted, “During the past 20-plus year you allowed a young, shy, awkward wannabe to immediately get involved and participate in what I believe is the best professional archivists organization, bar none.”