Friday, July 14, 2017

The Big News

Today I learned that I will be the 2017-2018 Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Society of American Archivists Lone Arrangers Section. What it actually means is three years of service:

  • Year 1 -- serving as acting Chair in her absence and continuing my work on the Steering Committee (I've been on it for 4 years, and it's been a genuine pleasure);
  • Year 2 -- serving as Chair of the Section. This includes directing and reporting the activities of the Section, organizing and conducting the annual meeting of the Section, chairing the Steering Committee, acting as liaison for the Section to other bodies, appointing subcommittees as needed, and handling administrative duties such as annual reports to the SAA; and
  • Year 3 -- serving as Immediate Past Chair, who serves on the Steering Committee and is Chair of the Nominating Committee (putting together the slate of new officers for the election).
I'm not unfamiliar with long terms of service to the profession. I just finished my term as Past-President of the New Jersey Library Association's History & Preservation Section (H&P). That ended 4 years of continuous service in the H&P leadership. My favorite part of that experience was mentoring the incoming Secretary and President-Elect who came after me. Throughout my career, individuals have given of their time to mentor me, and I have enjoyed doing the same for others.

Back to the Lone Arrangers, for those of you who may not know, we are a Section within the Society of American Archivists who are and support those individuals who may be a department of one (like me) at a college or university, historical society, professional organization, religious organization, hospital, business, fraternal organization, private school, public library, or other location. Because they may or may not be paid or paid to be trained as an archivist (or special collections librarian or other related title), or maybe their training didn't cover a particular area they might have encountered, they often come to the Lone Arranger list serv for help (the link is here:, if you want to check it out).

The Lone Arrangers list serv is a group of incredibly helpful and friendly individuals. We handle many questions throughout the week, and are an invaluable resource for the profession and for others in related fields. It is an honor to have been elected to join the wonderful leaders of this Section.

Here is the position statement I submitted for the election (it is a bit informal because it was originally submitted as an email to the nominating committee for their consideration and later used on the web site for the election):

In the next three years, I would like to see the Lone Arrangers more involved with education in SAA, perhaps producing hands-on workshops specifically for Lone Arrangers and those individuals smaller institutions. I can imagine us partnering with regional archives consortiums and organizations, as well as statewide groups, to accomplish this goal. From my experience as an archives and preservation consultant with the MARAC CAPES group, I’ve seen so many small institutions that are struggling with caring for and making their collections accessible. It would be great if we could become more of a resource for those places and develop relationships with them, and encourage partnerships with larger organizations to help them preserve, organize, and describe their collections.
We already provide so much good guidance from the listserv. Maybe it’s time we put together a series of free online guides (or videos!) based on the questions we receive and answer. Perhaps these aren’t just for the next three years, but ongoing programs that could have stewardship through subcommittees. Overall, I’d like to see the Lone Arrangers marshal their energies not just toward helping others to meet their goals (which is why folks think so highly of us), but also toward raising the awareness of what we do on a larger scale – not just advocacy for the profession, which is great, but for our Section specifically.
I also would like to see more networking events on a local or regional level. We are doing very interesting, good work, and should be sharing it with others in our field. Also, we’re fun and enjoy eating good food and socializing. I can imagine a “Tell me about your current project” meet up? Or, a “What’s the next exhibit you’re planning, and what kinds of challenges/joys have you experienced with it?” luncheon.
For now, I look forward to the SAA Annual Meeting in Portland, where I will receive a brain-full of great ideas by the leaders in the field and hear how other professionals work to address their challenges. I also cannot wait to meet the other members of the leadership, steering committee, and members of our lively and collegial Lone Arrangers Section. I'll be sure to post here afterward.

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