Jackie Dooley 2014-02-11 11:15:39
My final column in Archival Outlook? Already? Really? Back in September, my presidential year loomed long—kind of like anticipating the interminable drive across Nebraska on Interstate 70. Turns out it was more like a trip on California 101 heading up the coast: there was steady progress but also a couple of overturned trucks and intoxicated motorists. There were beautiful sights and experiences along the way though, and it was ultimately an unforgettable trip. Here are a few highlights from the past year that meant a lot to me. The nearly $500,000 grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to SAA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to develop a diversity recruitment program extending SAA’s Mosaic Scholarship program is a watershed moment. The grant will provide fifteen master’s students in archives or special collections librarianship with financial support, paid internships, mentoring, leadership development, and career placement assistance. Given my decades of investment in both the archives and research library worlds, this grant is doubly gratifying. Actually, make that triply: SAA’s brand-new strategic plan continues and expands our longstanding commitment to increasing the diversity of our profession, and this program is a major step forward. We’ve just launched a second collaboration with ARL to bring our Digital Archivist Curriculum to archivists and others who work in ARL institutions (about 130 research libraries) across the U.S. and Canada via a tailored weeklong set of DAS courses. I was able to facilitate this as a member of ARL’s special collections working group. When they started to think about creating such a training program, I could say, “Good news! SAA already has one. Work with us.” While this project will bring DAS to only one (large) sector of SAA’s membership, I’d like to think that future collaborations with other organizations will replicate and extend it. SAA’s education program already brings DAS to regional archival conferences at greatly reduced registration rates. On a completely different front, I’ve had a great time launching our leadership blog Off the Record. There has been terrific feedback from members who welcomed an informal communication channel—though I hadn’t anticipated that, regardless of its “unofficial” status, readers generally saw Off the Record as “SAA says. . .” Is that a bit ironic for the social media sector? But what do I know? I’m pretty old. There were so many more highlights. The fantastically productive Annual Meeting Task Force. Playing a (very) small part in the heroic responses to Hurricane Sandy and the closure of the Georgia Archives. I could go on and on. Finally, a big shout-out to all of you who have made this year both possible and memorable: • My amazing boss at OCLC Research, Jim Michalko, for his avid support of a major two-year diversion from my day job • My fellow Council members for their hard work, endless talent, and great thinking • The entire SAA staff for their bottomless expertise, dedication, enthusiasm, and support (you hear this all the time, but they really are incredible) • The hundreds of volunteers who make SAA the vibrant organization we all enjoy • You, SAA’s 6,100-plus members, who collectively are our largest membership in history! I’ll be wrapping it up in New Orleans and passing the gavel to Danna Bell-Russel, who will keep SAA moving forward with her trademark enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in NOLA!
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