When we receive a letter of thanks from an archives user who is grateful for our help, we’re reminded of the “humanness” of our profession. Since 2006, American Archives Month has given SAA members an opportunity to tell (or remind) people that items that are important to them are being preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by archivists — like you!
In conjunction with American Archives Month 2012, SAA is encouraging a special effort to involve people who have sought out archival collections by engaging them in a fun contest that makes use of online 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.
Ask your users, your friends, and people you’ve never met to share their stories of discovery. Set up a contest, select the best entries, and allow others in the online world to vote for their favorites. Your local winner will join others in what will be a national competition, culminating in August 2013 when the national winner will attend the SAA Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Submit your entry by March 1, 2013, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Measure your success in terms of entries, but also by the number of times you promote this contest with email messages, Facebook or blog posts, tweets, or YouTube videos. As others pass along your posts, you expand the opportunity for awareness. As local media carry stories of your contest — and post information online — you add to the awareness effect. How many people visit your website as a result of your promotion? Each person who clicks on your repository’s website is being exposed to who we are and what we do.
Please begin making plans now to launch your I Found It In the Archives! local contest during American Archives Month in October. Working together, we’ll build awareness of the people we serve, the history we preserve, and the significant contributions of archivists!
SAA President, 2012-2013