2017 Meeting Minutes

Archives Management Section

Annual Meeting

July 26, 2017


Room B115, Oregon Convention Center


AGENDA items numbered in boldface

1.   Welcome and introduction of Steering Committee

Chair Jelain Chubb called the meeting to order at 4:05 as a sign-in sheet was sent around the room. She opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and introducing the current members of the Steering Committee:

  • Nancy Lenoil, Vice Chair / Chair-Elect (7/29/2017 - 8/18/2018), California State Archives
  • Sherry Williams, Immediate Past Chair (8/6/2016 - 7/29/2017), University of Kansas
  • Ann Case, Secretary (8/11/2012 - 8/18/2018), Tulane University
  • Chrystal Carpenter (8/6/2016 - 8/15/2019), Elon University
  • Lynn Eaton (8/17/2013 - 8/15/2019), George Mason University
  • Tamara Livingston (8/22/2015 - 8/18/2018), Kennesaw State University Archives & Records Management
  • India Spartz (8/22/2015 - 8/18/2018), Union College 

She also thanked outgoing Steering Committee members 

  • Daria D’Arienzo (8/16/2014 - 7/29/2017), Archives Consultant
  • Susan Malbin (8/16/2014 - 7/29/2017), American Jewish Historical Society

and outgoing Council Liaison

  • Pamela Hackbart-Dean (8/16/2014 - 7/29/2017), Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

2.   Introduction of Section Intern and discussion of duties

Jelain then introduced Jane Thaler, our Section intern for the year. Jane is a Project Archivist at the University of Colorado and is also a Ph.D. student at the Univ. of Pittsburg. Jane chose to intern with Archives Management Section because not only does she care about how the fledgling archivist works with managers day to day, but she also is interested in learning how we can make those relationships better. Her primary focus will be doing research, working on possible webinar topics with Nancy Lenoil, and also helping to improve the Archives Management webpage. Right now, all we have on the website is past minutes and reports, and a few announcements. We want the website to be a site of resources for people to consult when they want to learn about a management topic. We think that this is a great opportunity to create a place for people to come for information or to turn to and quote from when they need an appropriate turn of phrase. The goal is to build our section’s resources by collecting and adding resources to the page, either via links or by adding contributed PDFs.

3.   Approve minutes of the last meeting*

The minutes of the last meeting were introduced for approval {*A copy of the 2016 meeting minutes had been made available for review on the Section’s web page at https://www2.archivists.org/groups/archives-management-section/meeting-minutes-and-presentations.}. No additions or corrections were offered. Michele Pacifico motioned for the minutes to be approved; the motion was seconded and all approved. Recording secretary Ann Case was thanked for her efforts in creating and posting them.

4.   Report on the Development of Standardized Statistical Measures for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries – Amy Schindler, SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force Co-chair

Jelain talked about the perils and frustrations of using and relying on inadequate, inconsistently tabulated, and subjective statistics to assess the performance of your archives, as they can be doing more harm than good. Having a standardized set of statistical measures that are being assessed the same way everywhere will make for a much more even playing field among archives that have to compete for resources.

Amy Schindler was introduced to give a report on the Development of Standardized Statistical Measures for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries. She is co-chair of the SAA- ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force, which is comprised of 10 members, five from SAA and five from RBMS. Formed in 2014, the task force released a survey that received responses from 300 colleagues and  repositories. The first draft of the proposed standard was released last summer before ALA and SAA; there were 18 pages of comments. Version 2 was released last winter. On June 9, 2017, a 76-page draft proposed standard was given to the RBMS Executive Committee and to the SAA Standards Committee. RBMS Executive Committee passed the standard and sent it on to ACRL’s Standards Committee, where it may take forever to approve it. SAA’s Standards Committee approved the draft on July 25, 2017, and forwarded it to SAA Council, which may approve it soon. Once approved, it will be the first jointly-developed standard. For now, it’s still a draft standard; it’s posted on the joint task force webpage, but you can start implementing it now.

The Standardized Statistical Measures for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries Overview: there are eight Domains and 48 Measures across those Domains. Each Domain (e.g. Reference Transactions; Instruction) has 1 basic Measure that each repository can collect. So, for Reference Transactions Domain, the basic measure is Reference Questions – How many reference questions did you receive? We all can track that, be it on paper, electronically, through Aeon, or however. The standard includes rationale for why you want to collect that, and guidelines for collection and applications and examples. Each measure also includes at least one, and up to 12, advance measures that can be collected; for Reference Questions, an advance measure might be How much time was spent answering a question; or What was the complexity of the question. Your repository will decide which measures to collect, based on what they want to know. Each domain has recommended metrics. Collecting certain metrics may help to provide you with data to support your case for additional staff, or to change the way you are doing something, or to begin doing something. For example, in the Instruction Domain, the How much time did you spend preparing for classes advance measure might help you make the case that you need additional staff to help with instruction.

Each domain also has recommended metrics; measurements are the data points you are collecting, and the metrics are taking two or more data points and doing comparison.

The task force did not conduct a national survey because it was outside the scope of its charge. But people want a nationwide comparison of the data. So, perhaps the Archives Management Section members might try collecting and sharing survey instruments, reports, examples of classifications by repository types, case studies, analytics, training and workshops.

What do we need to help implement the standard?  Task forces may help with that.

Tamara Livingston asked how this project started. Amy said that the Reference, Access and Outreach Section started it in SAA while something similar was going on in RBMS.

Jelain asked about scalability at smaller institutions – how will smaller places even hear about this if they can’t afford to attend the SAA annual meeting? Amy suggests that they might obtain training through workshops held by regional associations, State Historical Records Advisory Boards, NHPRC, COSA/NAGARA.

5.   Discussion of the WArS/SAA 2017 Salary Survey

The discussion then turned to the Women’s Archives Section (WArS/SAA) 2017 Salary Survey.  Salaries tend to make up a large portion of our budgets, so this is important. There were several striking figures to take away:

  • 48.9% of people in the field got their bachelor’s degrees in history, the highest percentage reported
  • 60.2% respondents reported having debt as a result of pursuing a library or archives-related graduate degree
  • 63% of the respondents had delayed or decided against a major life decision (such as medical treatment/procedure, starting or adding to their family, purchasing real estate, relocating, or retiring) in the past five years due to their current socioeconomic status or salary and employment opportunities
  • 21.6% of the respondents said that they were not satisfied with their careers as archivists. Some of the reasons that they gave for dissatisfaction in the field and/or reasons they might leave the field in the future: no opportunity for advancement; no opportunity to learn new skills; tired of moving every year or two for temporary jobs; no possibility for advancement or significant pay increase; embedded racism; no support from the university to do what needs to be done; lack of diversity in management; become increasingly tired of microaggressions from faculty and staff…and the field overall; overwhelmed and exhausted…no time to engage; intellectually stimulating, though not fully appreciated by others.

Michele Pacifico said that one of the reasons why many were not satisfied was that they felt underappreciated by their managers and the public.

Jason Speck said that he attended a management seminar in the fall and heard that 71% of people who leave their position said that they leave directly because of the relationship with their supervisor (any position). Certainly money and salary is a big issue; everyone is overworked and underpaid, and they feel underappreciated, but that one relationship is critical in determining whether someone goes or stays.

Tamara Livingston wondered if there was a direct correlation between pay scale and leaving a job.

Jen Barkdull attributed a lot of job dissatisfaction to the lack of professional development and stagnant jobs – no opportunity to progress.

Stephen Logsdon commented that it might take two years after getting a degree to find a professional job. You have to be willing to move.

Megan Atkinson added that Project Archivist jobs only last a year or two, so there is little stability.

Jane Thaler echoed that thought – with these short-term project archivist jobs, how can you commit to something when you’re looking for your next position after being only six months in your current position?

Michael Seminara, project archivist at Univ. of South Dakota, concurs. It’s hard to establish a track record when you’re constantly having to look for your next position.

Jelain asked if managers should mentor staff and help manage their expectations.  Are we doing what we should be doing?

Phil Montgomery said that people deserve to be mentored. In his place, people seem to be sane, they seem to be happy and they stay, so he feels an obligation to make them as happy as he can. When an opportunity come along, he feels that it’s his obligation to help his staff if they want to advance. And when a project archivist comes along, he also uses them. It’s easier to get money for projects than it is for salaries.

Robert Clark of the Rockefeller Archives Center opined that library schools are cranking out too many degreed students for a tight job market, and that SAA ought to approach ALA and SLISes and ask them to ratchet back. Maybe we’ve reached critical mass. Also, our profession may be complicit in creating the diversity problem by asking for unpaid interns—because who can afford to take an unpaid internship?... upper middle class people.

Jelain suggested that as a possible topic for a session at the next SAA, maybe with the Archival Educator’s Section. SLISs don’t want to turn out professionals who cannot get jobs, who are dissatisfied and who are unhappy in their profession because it’s not what they expected.

Jelain said that as a Texas archivist, she usually gets students who are trained in the state of Texas – she rarely sees anyone trained from another state.

Aaron Davis, Colorado State Archives, says that interns are expected to work for free, but that devalues our profession.

Adriana Flores commented that she is a SNAP member and was lucky to have had a paid internship. She said that project positions can be made into permanent positions, and she sees possibilities for ways that the Archives Management Section can collaborate with SNAP.

Jelain ended discussion of this topic and said that the link to the salary survey was sent out on the Archives Management listserv, so anyone wanting to review the questions and numbers can find it there.

6.  Survey Says: What members want from the AM Section

Jelain had sent out a survey asking what the Archives Management Section wanted the leadership to focus on in the coming year. Out of 1000 members, 230 voted; only about 60 people attended the meeting {only 46 signed the attendance roster}.

We asked two questions: What do you value the most as a member of the section, and what do you want would you like from the section in the future?

According to the survey, members of AMS value most: 

  • Practical advice on managing people and programs
  • Tips and skills for developing into a good supervisor

Members of AMS would like from AMS in the future:

  • Programs for projects and administrative experience, with support, finance and budget exercises
  • Personnel and resource management
  • Workflow and process product management
  • Webinar where experienced managers provide guidance about what has worked for them and give suggestions about growing as a manager
  • Learn how to be a good mentor
  • Learn how to be a good manager
  • Learn how to become a manager
  • Webinars
  • Better use of the listserv for discussion of topics
  • Contested elections (which means people need to volunteer to run for office in elections!)

Jelain wondered if ALI had any mentoring resources that we could mine and incorporate into our own resources.

Can we mentor within the section? Buddy-up with others to learn/share. If people have had a good mentor, then they know how valuable a good mentor can be, and they can be a good mentor to others. We can use the listserv to contact others, or we can create a Google Doc to sign up if you’re willing to be a mentor/looking for a mentor. The Google Doc can be posted and linked via the AMS website, and publicized through the listserv. SAA is also looking to set up a mentor network.

Create collections of tips and tricks to show how valuable your archives is. Collect impact stories that illustrate the benefit and reach of your archives.

John Slate, Dallas Municipal Archives, talked about creating public value, and Jelain said that they just talked about this in their management meeting, how do you define and create public value.

Jane Thaler, our intern, will send her email address out on the listserv so that people can forward to her recommendations on books and resources to post on the website.

7   Discussion of potential future initiatives by the AM Section

When asked for future initiatives for the Steering Committee to explore, Archives Management members focused on the idea of senior managers mentoring junior managers.

From the leadership side of the table, incoming chair Nancy Lenoil said that she would like the Steering Committee to develop resources for general AMS enhancement, including

  • Book and article titles, to be posted on the website
  • Webinars
  • Identifying people who can be a resource for other managers
  • Engaging the Listserv

8.   Introduction of new officers and steering committee members

Jelain used this opportunity to segue into the results of the 2017-2018 election:

Section Chair:

Nancy Lenoil, California State Archivist

Vice Chair / Chair-Elect:

David Benjamin, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida


Ann Case, University Archivist, Tulane University

Joining the Steering Committee:

John Slate (7/29/2017 - 8/9/2020), City Archivist, Dallas Municipal Archives

Jason Speck (7/29/2017 - 8/9/2020), Head of Collection Management, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland

And joining as new Council Liaison:

Audra Yun, University of California, Irvine, 7/29/2017 - 8/9/2020

We also have a Standards Committee Liaison:

Rebecca Wiederhold, Ex Officio (Standards Cmte Liaison) 8/6/2016 - 8/18/2018          Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library

Jelain and Nancy mentioned that if anyone is interested in running for an office next year, the call for nominations for Section elections will be May 15, 2018, and the ballot information must be submitted to SAA by June 1st.

Jelain called for any announcements from the floor, and Ann Case asked that everyone please sign the attendance roster before they leave.

9.   Adjournment

With no further announcement forthcoming, Jelain officially passed the leadership of the Section over to Nancy and ended the meeting at 5:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann E. Smith Case

Recording Secretary