Sharmila Bhatia, Candidate for Council

Professional Experience: Archivist, National Archives and Records Administration, 2001–present. Reference Archivist, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 19882001. Reference Librarian, Richland County (SC) Public Library, 20002001.

Education: Archives Leadership Institute, 2011. MA in Applied History, concentration in Archival Management, and MLIS, University of South Carolina, 1990. Bachelor of Arts, History, University of Maryland, 1986.

Professional Activities: Society of American Archivists: Program Committee (Cleveland), 2015; Appointments Committee, 20122013; Host Committee (Washington, DC), 2010 (Co-chair); Government Records Steering Committee, 20062008; Host Committee (Washington, DC), 2006. Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference: Development Coordinator, 2016–present; Program Committee for Spring 2015 (Boston) Joint Conference with New England Archivists, 2015 (Co-chair); Publications Committee, 2010-2014 (Chair); Program Committee for Spring 2014 (Rochester) Conference, 2014. Program Committee for 2008 Fall (Silver Spring) Conference, 2008 (Co-chair). Program Committee for Fall 2006 Conference (Morristown), 2006. National Archives Assembly: President, 2006–2007. South Carolina Archival Association: Secretary, 20002001. South Carolina Library Association: Secretary, Public Services Section, 1998. Archives & Special Collections Roundtable, 1995 (Chair).

Presentations: Privacy Issues in the Electronic Records Environment for the Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable, SAA, 2008. Continuing Education and Electronic Records Archivists for Session 307 Moving Targets: Identifying Evolving Needs in Electronic Records Education, SAA, 2008.

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Question posed by Nominating Committee:

How would you leverage your role on the Council as a liaison to various SAA groups to support their initiatives and encourage the general membership to present new ideas to the Council and be more engaged with SAA leadership?

Candidate's Response:

This is a creative period for archivists. We are developing and updating methodologies, working with a variety of formats and technologies, and exploring different ways of interacting with our customers. We expect SAA, our professional organization, to evolve along with us and to provide the resources we require to do our jobs.

Council members, as official liaisons between SAA groups and leadership, report on Council activities and decisions, but there is often little opportunity for discussion and feedback from members. I have often had very productive conversations informally, over coffee, lunch, and in between sessions at conferences. In addition to the usual office hours, Council members should offer opportunities for these interactions at the Annual Meeting. We have to also recognize that the old-fashioned way of networking, which still has a place in today’s world, isn’t the most available or comfortable option for all our members.  

In addition to talking with folks at the Annual Meeting, we need to actively engage members outside of conferences and use surveys, virtual town halls, and new venues for members to submit ideas continuously. However, all these methods of gathering ideas, suggestions, and proposals from our members will do little if we in turn do not actively respond.

Members have ownership in SAA. They drive the agenda, staff the committees, and influence the organization. A few years ago SAA gathered input on what members wanted at annual meetings. These ideas were reviewed, discussed, and some were implemented. I had the privilege of serving on the Program Committee for Cleveland and one of the new ideas we implemented were the pop-up sessions. It was fun and exciting; we filled the slots with timely topics and members could directly vote for the sessions they wanted. We need to highlight these and other new developments that have flowed from our members. Members have an impact on the organization.

Most of my work has been with archival organizations, from the small professional organization at NARA to the mid-size MARAC to SAA; additionally, I have experience in serving and representing other diverse groups such as town committees and a federal public service union. If elected to the SAA Council, I will bring extensive experience in serving members in a variety of organizations. 


Slate of Candidates

The Nominating Committee has slated the following SAA members as candidates for office in the 2017 election:

Vice President/President-Elect

Council (Three-year term)

Nominating Committee