Blog Entry 1: Introduction


Dear Roundtable Members,

Welcome to a new and exciting year in the Issues and Advocacy roundtable.  We did a lot of work last year, and if you weren’t able to attend the meeting, we’ve posted the minutes on our microsite (  It was an exciting meeting, joining with the Latin American and Caribbean Culture Heritage Archives roundtable (LACCHA) to discuss the on-going work on the Displaced Archives Project which will seek to document archival collections that have been removed from their originators and are housed in alternate repositories.  If you are interested in joining that committee, please contact Alison Stankrauff at  for more information.

This year, we want to take the roundtable in a new direction.  For so long, we’ve been a reactive group, sending out letters, urging others to call, and contacting our representatives on a variety issues.  While we will continue to do this, this year, we will be focusing more on advocacy.  We need to learn (and teach each other) how to best highlight our work, organizations, and records.  The steering committee has come up with five goals to work towards this.

Advocacy Blog

Our goal is to put out two posts a month on topics regarding advocacy.  Most of these will be written by the steering committee, but we are hoping to get more involvement from others including students and other professionals from regional groups and Council members.  Topics already being worked on include a letter writing tutorial (along with a sample letter), composition and need for elevator speeches, and how to engage the media.  If you have any suggestions on topics and would like to contribute to the blog, just let me know.  We’d love more ideas and help with getting topics on advocacy fleshed out and posted. Blog posts will be hosted on the microsite:



We won’t ignore issues this year, so we will still need to send out letters and contact our representatives.  We might as well have a letterhead (that shows we are an actual group) rather than just a blank page.  There will be a contest, and we are going to ask that members of the roundtable submit a design.  This is already underway, and I hope you will all get involved.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just something that shows we have some organization.  Unfortunately, we don’t have an address or phone number, so that does limit us, but I think we need something, and I look forward to seeing your suggestions.


Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a short, concise statement.  I first heard about them in grad school when the Tennessee Library Association held their Legislative Day and bussed librarians from across the state to Nashville to meet and greet their representatives.  The idea was that politicians don’t have a lot of time and their minds will wander to other issues if you don’t get your point out clearly and quickly.  But elevator speeches aren’t easy, because… what we do isn’t always short and concise.  Ideally, I would like to have an online forum for discussion, but that seems unlikely at this point, so we will just have to post these on the microsite as well.  I do think this would be a great topic to discuss in the listserv.  After discussing the topic with a student from Simmons, the idea of making this a contest came up, because that is exactly what was done last year.  Here’s a link to the outcome of that contest :


Advocacy Survey

We’re currently working with some students that were at the meeting this year who are interested in doing some research, and we’re considering conducting a survey to gather information on the level of interest in advocacy as part of the profession.  Right now, Jasmine Jones from Simmons College is heading this, but I’m sure she would be interested in any help that you’d like to offer.  If you are interested in being involved, please let me know. 


Social Media

We’re hoping to jump into the Facebook and Twitter world.  It’s hard to remember to go to the SAA page everyday just to see if there is new information, so we’re hoping that using social media will allow us to get the information to you faster.  You may not know that we have already set up the accounts, but we’ve been hesitant to just jump in.  This year, it’s time to make a splash.  The Facebook page is located here:  For now, our plan is to use it to highlight and notify you about the blog posts and also to post important issues that we should get involved in.  To be honest, I’m not sure what the future will be for them other than that, so any suggestions would be great!

As always, if you are interested in getting more involved or have any ideas that you’d like to suggest, you can either email one of the co-chairs (Laura Starratt at or Jeremy Brett at or submit them to the listserv.  This year, my goal is to make advocacy not seem like a big, scary monster; make it something that is doable, and (gasp) easy; make it something that we can just add into our workflows.  As you see, these goals are giant projects that will change the world, but they are important.  We need to start getting the word out that what we do is important, and I think these goals will help us do that.