Archivist makes home for herself in between the shelves

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Lyndon B. Johnson Museum and Library archivist Lara Hall has been passionate about books her entire life. She has worked at the library for many years now. 

Photo Credit: Pedro Luna | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: In 300 words or fewer, this series spotlights people in our community whose stories typically go untold.

Surrounded by over 45 million pages of documents, archivist Lara Hall never feels more at home than at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum.

Hall’s lifelong fascination with stories led to the discovery of her dream job. Her passion for reading emerged and grew during
her childhood.

“I started reading when I was five and I really haven’t looked back,” Hall said. “I was that kid in high school who always had a book in her purse.”

In her twenties, Hall became the manager of a bookstore. But, dissatisfied with her career, Hall decided to go back to school in her thirties to get her master’s degree in public history at Texas State University.

Hall’s studies varied from British colonial history to Latin American studies. While attending classes, Hall also began interning at the LBJ Library and
Museum. During her work as an archivist, Hall found her niche in 1960’s American foreign policy.

Hall’s internship with the museum was a life changing experience.

“I absolutely loved it,” Hall said. “So, at the end of the summer when my internship was up I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna leave.’”

For Hall, studying archives related to LBJ’s foreign policy brings history to life.

“Working here definitely makes the sixties seem much more real,” Hall said. “It’s tangible. You can see it in front of you, you can hear it.”

Being an archivist also helped Hall appreciate the narrative nature of history, something that, as a reader, keeps her going. 

“It’s all in the interpretation,“ Hall said. “History is stories. You have to ask not only what is being told but also what isn’t being told.”