A Shared Purpose

Team members of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center meet for a group lunchOrganizational experts at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School emphasize four pillars of teamwork: identification with group and mission, trust, distributed expertise and shared leadership.

Building these pillars takes time and lots of positive interactions as a team. For the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, also known as DigitalNC, that means dedication to their mission as well as time for taste-testing Oreos and sharing pet photos. The team — eight University Libraries employees in the Wilson Special Collections Library in Chapel Hill plus three Elizabeth City State University employees in a satellite office — are there for the work and for each other.

They work hard to preserve the state’s heritage. They have digitized more than 630,000 newspapers, yearbooks, photos and other items from 320 partners in all 100 counties. Nearly half a million people visited the online DigitalNC archive last year alone.

“It’s such a great team,” said Kristen Merryman, digital projects librarian. “You can be transparent about what’s going on, and you know you’re going to receive empathy and support.”

That mutual respect radiates out to the center’s relationship with its partners statewide, team members said. In April, the Office of the Provost recognized their partnership with the State Library of North Carolina with an Engaged Scholarship Award.

Nominator Judy Panitch, director of library communications, praised the staff’s generosity, openness and inclusion. “No partner is too small; no document too minor; no user unimportant,” she wrote. “NCDHC’s values include the belief that ‘community history and culture have the power to enrich the lives of all North Carolinians.’ Every aspect of the program enables and promotes these encounters.”

“Our mission is to support cultural heritage organizations around the state in their goals for access to their collections,” said Lisa Gregory, the program coordinator who supervises the team. “Everyone who works for the center has a passion for access to information and the cultural heritage mission. That helps make us a strong team.”

Read more about the DigitalNC initiative…

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