At its November meeting, the SAA Council made several decisions that will be of interest to all SAA members.
First, the Council made the difficult (although unanimous) decision to decommission the Archives and Archivists Listserv, agreeing that this seemed to be the best time to regroup and plan for the future. In 2018, the SAA staff will be working on implementing a new Association Management System, paying special attention to the online community forums with which it will interface. The Council will also be taking time to review what guidelines and procedures will be needed to govern a new and inclusive space for archivists. Please contact me with any ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also like to call your attention to the following:
- The Council approved the Committee on Public Policy’s proposed revisions of the SAA Public Policy Agenda and Procedures for Suggesting SAA Advocacy Action, as well as issue briefs on Federal Classified Information and Controlled Unclassified Information and Police Mobile Camera Footage as a Public Record.
- Nearly 10 years ago, a working group of the Archives Management and Records Management roundtables created SAA’s “Best Practices for Working with Archives Employees with Physical Disabilities” and “Best Practices for Working with Archives Researchers with Physical Disabilities.” In November the Council approved creation of a Task Force on Accessibility to review, revise, and expand these Best Practices to include neuro-disability, temporary physical disabilities, and any other topics that should be considered within the scope of the document. I’m delighted that the following individuals have agreed to serve on the Task Force: Co-chairs Kathy Marquis and Sara White, as well as Krystal Appiah, Daria D’Arienzo, Alan Lefever, and Donna McCrea. Their final recommendations will be submitted by November 2018.
- The Council has also approved creation of a Tragedy Response Initiative Task Force (proposed by the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Section) to 1) create and/or compile material for ready accessibility by archivists who are facing a sudden tragedy and 2) explore the feasibility of creating a standing body within SAA that would update documentation as needed and serve as a volunteer tragedy response team. Vice President Meredith Evans will be making these appointments soon, and the group’s work will be completed in two years.
And finally, two pieces of news from the SAA Foundation. First, the guidelines for our National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives have been revised and expanded. The maximum grant award has been increased from $2,000 to $5,000 and, particularly in light of recent events, the Board will consider applications from Mexico and non-US Caribbean Islands. Second, the Foundation Board has agreed to explore the possibility of providing funding to assist archivists who need financial support to attend the 2018 Joint Annual Meeting. A subgroup of the Board will consider options for administering such a program on a one-time basis in 2018, including award amounts, eligibility, and criteria for vetting applications, and will report back to the Board by January 15, 2018. The cost of attending the Annual Meeting is often mentioned as a barrier to full participation in SAA. When I “retire” from my SAA presidency (but remain for one year on the Foundation Board), I will be exploring possible external funding sources for travel support. Stay tuned!