ARCHE Archives Advocacy Committee Updates

Greetings ARCHE Archives Council Members from the ARCHE Archives Advocacy Committee!

 

As we move from this incredibly long cool spring into full summer, how many of us can honestly say that we remember what we did last October? Think back, and if you can fight the fog of pollen and the haze of allergy medications, you may dimly recall a survey accompanied by repeated pleas from the Advocacy Committee to please stop whatever you were doing RIGHT NOW and complete it. After inwardly groaning about yet another survey and the fact that you had a million other things to do that did not involve answering a long list of questions, you set to work and opened the survey link. And you may even recall that feeling of satisfaction having answered the last question and clicking on “submit,” knowing that this would FINALLY satisfy the Advocacy Committee and stop the “gentle reminders.” Ah yes, good times. So, whatever happened with the survey anyway and what has the Advocacy Committee been doing since the ARCHE Archives Council last met? We’re glad you asked!

 

Just to refresh your memory, the Archives Advocacy Committee is interested in asking a big question; that is, how can archivists demonstrate the collective impact of archival work measurements that are understood by stakeholders outside of the profession? We believe that archives have a demonstrable economic, social, and political value that can be articulated via quantitative and qualitative data collection. To show a wide impact, archival data collection works best when gathered collectively across a commonality like geographies, subjects, or communities. This is a large undertaking, and the data needed for collective impact statements means we need to ask ourselves a new and different set of questions. The questions in the survey point to new ways of thinking about our value and how we might articulate it to stakeholders for the purpose of developing strong ties to our community and our external stakeholders. This collective advocacy effort is not meant to replace internal advocacy but to energize it and provide additional frameworks supporting our archival institutions.

 

So what did we discover? Here is a brief snapshot of some of the most interesting results:

  1. Who Are We?
  • 19 members completed the survey.
  • 14 archival facilities are part of a college or university, and all but two of these are embedded within the library of that institution (e.g. The Georgia Archives stands alone and is part of the University System of Georgia; the Department of Museums, Archives, and Rare Books at Kennesaw State University reports to Academic Affairs)
  • 2 repositories are part of non-academic museum/libraries (Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum; Atlanta History Center)
  • 1 is affiliated with a seminary
  • 1 is a subject-specific research library (Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American History and Culture)
  • 1 is a program serving public libraries across the state (Georgia Public Library Service).
  • 15 members have director or archive manager positions. Of the remaining members, the positions represented are processing archivist, access archivist and public services coordinator.

 

  1. Our Collections

Many of us have common collecting areas including women, LGBTQ community, religious/non-profit followed by persons of color, businesses and prominent personalities. In addition, our repositories collect in the areas of African-American community development and history, civil rights, and audiovisual materials related to Atlanta history. Collectively, these collections could be said to represent a major font of Atlanta’s history and could be used to make connections to external stakeholders.

  1. Patrons

We asked a number of questions about patrons with the goal of assessing collective impact in a number of areas. We learned that ARCHE archive institutions engage in 33,857 reference transactions and 17, 804 patron visits per year (whew! No wonder it seems like there’s never enough time in the day!)

 

The results from the questions asking about patron demographics (i.e. how many are NOT from the metro-Atlanta area) were mixed. Some track this information, others do not. What we do know, however, is that most of our patrons do not tend to stay for more than a day. This does not mean however that we should discount their spending activity and engagement with local businesses; indeed, we suggest this might be an area in which ARCHE Archives members could more actively engage.

 

  1. Products

So what happens with all the research requests and requests for scans and copies of our materials? Where do they go and what do they become? The survey asked about scholarly research products like books, articles, and documentaries and commercial or creative products including commercial films or television, marketing campaigns, exhibits produced by external entities, photos for interior decoration. Not surprisingly, we collectively support the production of books, articles, documentaries and exhibits.

 

But we also contribute to products that may be more commercial in nature, such as interior decoration for restaurants or exhibits for businesses or corporations. Besides a check for our troubles and possibly a mention on a plaque, our contribution to the success of the business is largely invisible.

 

  1. Community Connections:

 

One of the ways ARCHE archive institutions contribute to their communities is by supporting allied institutions and programs. Over half (57%) reported supporting historic preservation projects; 33% support community development projects and 10% support public policy initiatives. In addition, a little more than half of the respondents indicated they work with their institution’s development officer; this is an area worth investigating to see if these numbers could be revised upwards. In addition, even though the majority of respondents do not currently have endowed collections, most indicated that their institution has named buildings, rooms and/or programs. These may present opportunities to begin to build the archives “brand” with internal and external stakeholders. Collectively, the group submitted a list of 66 names that appear prominently within their institution as the name of colleges, schools, buildings, programs, exhibit halls and centers. Clearly each of these individuals or families have connections to the institution that may provide as yet untapped advocacy opportunities.

 

  1. Business Impact:

ARCHE archive institutions also leave a footprint by their expenditures. Besides providing employment for staff and administrators, these institutions expend budgets on preservation supplies, digitization and reprographics, storage (digital hosting and physical storage), software licenses, consulting work (project archivists; IT consulting). Collectively, we spend approximately $72,500 per year in the daily course of business. This is another area in which we can make connections between what we do and our economic impact.

 

Where do we go from here? Amanda and I will be following up with some members to clarify responses or to ask about blanks in the survey. We then will focus on one or two of these areas of inquiry during our ARCHE Archives Council meetings or perhaps with smaller focus groups outside of the meetings.

 

We hope you are as excited by some of these results as we were. Stand by for more to come!

 

Tamara Livingston

Amanda Pellerin

May 22, 2018

 

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ARCHE Archives Meeting, Friday April 21

Greetings,

Our next ARCHE Archives Council meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 21 at the Auburn Avenue Research Library from 10:30 – 12:30.

Agenda:

com-archearchivescouncil-agenda-20170421

We are looking forward to a tour of the library by our host and council member, Derek Mosley.  Learn more about the Auburn Avenue Research Library here:  Auburn Avenue Research Library

Teaching with Archives Workshop – September 30 at UWG

The ARCHE Archives Council met at University of West Georgia’s Ingram Library for a “Teaching with Archives” workshop presented by Emory archivist Gabrielle Dudley, followed by lunch and our regular meeting.

This professional development workshop provided an overview of best practices for teaching primary source literacy to college & university students (teaching them how to identify, interpret, evaluate, use, and access primary sources and follow ethical principles during the course of their research) and discusses current guidelines & standards.

Gabrielle M. Dudley is the Instruction Archivist and QEP Librarian at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. She earned her M.A. in Public History and MLIS with a concentration in Archival Studies and Preservation Management from the University of South Carolina. She also holds a B.A. in History from the University of Montevallo. She holds active membership in the Society of American Archivists, Society of Georgia Archivists, and ACRL’s Rare Book and Manuscript Section. In her free time, Gabrielle co-leads a mentoring program for teenage girls in College Park and East Point, Georgia.

Looking Back – Top Three Accomplishments for ARCHE Archives Council for 2015/2016

The ARCHE Archives Council is now two years old so it seems a good time to look back at the survey results of what our members hoped to accomplish. At that time we asked members to indicate their top three accomplishments for the ARCHE Archives Council. Here is the list you provided:

Accomplishment #1

  • Nurture connections and networking between the member institutions
  • Training opportunities for librarians responsible for local history collections
  • More consistent communication among member institutions
  • Explore lending of archival and/or rare materials
  • Define role within local archival community
  • Professional development/ Education activities
  • Develop a collaborative grant project
  • Foster a sense of collaboration among the members
  • Facilitate partnerships with archival institutions in a number of areas
  • Consortial lending

Accomplishment #2

  • Identify shared concerns
  • Training and/or opportunities for digital preservation
  • Development of collaborative grant projects, particularly to assist smaller institutions
  • Create a collaborative and supportive group
  • Be recognized by the community as having that role
  • Collaborative panel submissions for SAA and SGA
  • Develop a collaborative digitization/digital project
  • Develop and share basic records management templates.
  • Professional development in leadership (target gaps that SGA, USG, other systems/orgs don’t provide)

    Accomplishment #3

  • Seek cooperative solutions to shared concerns
  • Disseminate info. about grants in the field and grant-writing training
  • Offer workshops and learning experiences for members
  • Support State Archives’ efforts to strengthen ties/assist other institutions
  • Support network for archives administrators
  • Develop resources/training for records management and/or electronic records
  • Generate at least 1-2 collaborative presentations or articles
  • Collaborative community engagement activities

We have successfully held meetings at various ARCHE institutions including the Georgia Archives, Agnes Scott College, Emory University and the University of West Georgia. In each case, members were given an opportunity to tour the facilities and to learn more about each other’s operations. The Education Committee successfully produced a Teaching with Archives workshop, and the members have engaged in fruitful and lively discussions about outreach and advocacy.

The ARCHE Archives Council is off to a great start but we can do more – with the energy, interest and dedication of our members and parent institutions. Thanks everyone!

-Tamara Livingston, Chair

 

Welcome

We thank you for your interest in the the ARCHE Archives Council.  The Council is working hard to develop their Education and Grant Committees to enhance collaboration among member institutions at the consortia level.  The Education Committee has planned a special workshop for their next meeting at the University of West Georgia in September.

This workshop will provide an overview of best practices for teaching primary source literacy to college & university students (teaching them how to identify, interpret, evaluate, use, and access primary sources and follow ethical principles during the course of their research) and discusses current guidelines & standards. Exercises and break-out or group discussions will enhance attendee’s understanding. Teaching exercises will be shared. The workshop will also address managing the teaching process, including working with professors, building a teaching program, managing time & expectations, and more.