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Take Note: Melissa Banta, Lael Dalal, Bill Kenyon, Eric Thompson, Ann Whiteside

Take Note shares professional news about Harvard Library staff members. Have something to share? Please send it to the Harvard Library communications team at


Melissa Banta, projects curator at the Weissman Preservation Center, has written a book, The Art of Commemoration and America’s First Rural Cemetery: Mount Auburn’s Significant Monument Collection, with Mount Auburn Curator of Historical Collections Meg Winslow. The volume explores Mount Auburn Cemetery’s monuments within the context of the development of American commemorative art in the mid-19th century and includes a guide to its 30 most significant monuments. The publication was funded by a “Museums for America” grant from the US Institute of Museum and Library Services.

In her role at Weissman Preservation Center, Melissa works to preserve, enhance access to, exhibit, and publish special collections throughout Harvard Library. She was formerly director of the photographic archives at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard. She also serves as an exhibit curator at Baker Library, Harvard Business School and as a consulting curator for  Mount Auburn Cemetery. She received a BA in anthropology from SUNY Buffalo and an MS in journalism from Boston University.


Lael Dalal joined the Harvard Library as 19th-century manuscript/archival collection survey/processing archivist. In this role, she is working as part of a team on the Arcadia-funded 19th-Century North American Project to survey manuscript and archives collections in the Harvard libraries related to North America in preparation for digitization. She will also be processing 19th-century collections at Harvard Library.

Lael most recently held positions with the Jewish Women’s Archive and Simmons College Department of Art and Music. She holds an MSLIS with an archives concentration from Simmons College School of Library and Information Science and a BA in history from Simmons College.



Bill Kenyon has joined the Office of Physical Resources & Planning and the Library Facilities Group as the manager of library mechanical systems for FAS and Harvard libraries.  As a member of this team, Bill is responsible for HVAC, electrical, mechanical and structural maintenance, repairs, and long-term planning.

Bill has worked at Harvard for five years, most recently as an assistant property manager at Harvard Real Estate and prior to that, working for GCA Services as chief facility engineer at the Smith Campus Center. He worked in various facilities positions for GCA, starting in 2001 at DeSales University as the Working Trades supervisor and as director of facilities at The Lutheran Theological Seminary, both located in Pennsylvania. He has a certificate in facilities management from Ferris State University and is currently attending Wentworth’s Project Management Degree Program. Bill is a veteran of the United States Air Force.


Eric Thompson joined the Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) Library team as the manager of desktop support. After a stint as an intern at Harvard during his senior year, he was hired full-time as a technical support engineer, and then as a senior technical support engineer for another support team that supported various parts of the University. He holds a BS in computer information systems from Westfield State University.





Ann Baird Whiteside, Librarian and Assistant Dean for Information Resources at the Frances Loeb Library, received both the 2016 Distinguished Service Award and the Visual Resource Association’s Distinguished Service Award from the Art Libraries Society of North America. This is the first time that one individual has won both awards; Ann also has the distinction of being the only person to have served as president of both organizations: the VRA president, 2000-2001 and ARLIS/NA president, 2006-2007. 

The focus of Ann's work at Harvard Library is expanding the creation of and access to digital resources in close collaboration with scholars and the use of technology to support teaching and research. She also actively works to re-envision the 21st-century library through her work. She served as co-editor of Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images, published in 2006, an extensive data content standard that paved the way for resource sharing and interoperability. Serving as project director for the SAHARA initiative, she was a strong advocate for individuals in the VRA and ARLIS/NA communities to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of scholarly communication. In a previous role at MIT, she served in a leadership role for FACADE, or Future-proofing Architectural Computer-Aided Design, a group that investigated the best methods for capturing, describing, managing, preserving, archiving, and making accessible digital 2-D and 3-D models produced by architects. Ann is active in many professional organizations and committees that shape approaches to the changing needs and opportunities faced by research libraries in an increasingly digital environment. She holds a BA in art history at Boston College and a MLIS from Simmons College of Library and Information Science.