Jessica Achberger

01242017_AchbergerJessica_0004_EditI am currently the African Studies Librarian at Michigan State University, where I am also Adjunct Assistant Professor of History. At MSU, I am responsible for the selection of all African Studies materials (including special and archival collections), their preservation and accessibility, and reference services to the MSU community, as well as for outside researchers. I am available to serve on the committees (comprehensive and dissertation) for graduate students in the Department of History. I have a particular interest in digital methods for preservation, access, and research dissemination, including forums like the Africa Past and Present Podcast Series, for which I am a new co-host.

Originally from Florida, I received a BA in History (Hons) from the University of Central Florida before moving to the University of Texas Austin for my graduate studies in African History (MA, 2010; PhD, 2012). My PhD dissertation, which focused on bilateral relations between Zambia and the People’s Republic of China, is now being finished as an expanded monograph entitled, Negotiating for Development: Zambian Economic Development in the Cold War. I received my Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Florida State University in December 2016.

Prior to coming to MSU, I was a Senior Research Fellow at the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research (SAIPAR), based in Lusaka, Zambia. At SAIPAR, and in collaboration with other regional institutions, I was actively involved in collection development and management, particularly with digital library and archival digitization projects. I am still on the international advisory board for SAIPAR, as well as on the editorial board of the Southern African Journal of Policy and Development and the advisory board for Zambia Social Science Journal.

Previously, I have been Associate Director of Research and Programmes and Associate Research Fellow at SAIPAR. I also held a post-doc at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, where I am currently a Fellow Community Member. At SAIPAR, I worked on a number of research projects, including work on Zambian economic development history, Chinese migrants in Zambia, and information needs and access of university faculty in Zambia, amongst others.

My current research interests include endangered material preservation, digitization and digital libraries, and the interaction between archives and historical study.

Position: Adjunct Assistant Professor
Field: Africa

Office: E223 Main Library
Phone: 517-884-0839

Twitter: @JessAchberger