Professional Issues & Advocacy

On October 3, 2016, archivists around the country will take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Take this opportunity to engage via your personal and/or institutional Twitter accounts and to respond to questions posed directly to you or more generally to all participants.

SAA President Kathleen Roe issued a challenge to SAA members, as archivists, to spend a year “living dangerously” by taking some concerted actions to increase awareness of and advocate for archives.

Because archival records ensure the protection of citizens’ rights, the accountability of organizations and governments, and the accessibility of historical information, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) believes that the archives profession must take an active role in advocating for the public policies and resources necessary to ensure that these records are preserved and made accessible. This Public Policy Agenda identifies a limited set of broad priorities that serves to guide the Society’s advocacy efforts in the public policy and legislative arenas. Requests for SAA’s commitment to a specific advocacy issue are more vigorously pursued if that issue fits within these priorities. View the Public Policy Agenda and issue briefs here. To view SAA’s statements on a variety of issues, see Statements and Resolutions.

October is American Archives Month—an opportunity to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists. Since 2006 SAA has provided members with practical information and great ideas to help you make your archives program more visible. See the American Archives Month page to access “evergreen” resources that will help you enhance public awareness of your repository—and your profession!

In conjunction with American Archives Month, SAA encourages a special effort to involve people who have sought out archival collections by engaging them in a fun contest that makes use of social platforms. I Found It In The Archives! is a collective effort to reach out to individuals who have found their records, families, heritage, and treasures through our collections. Get started here!

Protecting our collections is one of our fundamental responsibilities as archivists. The Heritage Health Index, released in 2005, reported that few institutions have disaster plans and for those that do, often the plan is out of date. It’s easy to put off emergency response planning as we devote our attentions to tasks with more immediate “payback.” But on May 1—this year and every year—you can do something that will make a difference when and if an emergency occurs. That’s the purpose of MayDay—a grassroots effort whose goal is to save our archives. Find quick tips and annotated resources on disaster preparedness and response.

Need access to data about archivists? A*CENSUS, the first truly comprehensive nationwide survey of the archives profession, was fielded in early May 2004. Included in the results are analyses of graduate education, continuing education, diversity, leadership, and certification.

A bill to provide federal formula grants to every state for projects that preserve historical records and make them more accessible.