Kathleen Roe 2015-07-29 11:01:30
In my incoming presidential remarks last August, I urged all of you, my colleagues, to spend “A Year of Living Dangerously for Archives.” In this final column I would like to reflect on the past year. I ran for a leadership position with a specific vision in mind: After more than thirty years in this profession, I hoped that together we might find a way to move our profession forward—a few steps, or even a mile or two—in the area of awareness and advocacy for archives. My presidential address at ARCHIVES 2015 in Cleveland will focus on archival advocacy and awareness developments during the past year and the implications and lessons learned. I won’t address that here (our plenary session will be taped and available for those of you who are not able to be with us in Cleveland). What I do want to share are some of the “collateral” understandings I’ve gained or had reinforced in the past year as we’ve lived dangerously together as a professional community. Following are some that are most striking to me: • The passion we have as archivists is evident when we speak about our profession. Although qualities like “quiet” or “introverted” are often associated with archivists, we are not shy nor do we lack capacity when we talk about “why I am an archivist.” Archivists want to inspire and be inspired, which was demonstrated in your comments and ideas shared via personal conversations, Twitter, Facebook, and blog posts; in comments quoted by journalists; and in public presentations. • Archivists want to be involved in our profession and our professional association. We are all enriched when more voices are an active part of the profession, but this isn’t easy to accomplish. We must think and talk more about how to make this happen effectively, inclusively, and respectfully. • Archivists have opinions—and want SAA to speak out on many issues of emerging concern. As a professional association relying on a small staff and volunteer time from members, it isn’t always easy, clear, or neat to come to a position or develop a statement. I don’t shy away from stating opinions personally or professionally, but I have been impressed by how much more difficult it is to do this on behalf of SAA as an organization, given our diverse community of perspectives to represent and shifting data (or no data at all!). • Our members contribute a tremendous amount of volunteer time to support SAA and our profession. From standards development and intellectual property issues to public awareness, public policy, measuring holdings, and governance, there are so many aspects of our professional association to which our colleagues give extensive time and energy. I would love to see a “cost contribution” estimate of the time given by our members—it must be in multiples of millions. We should be thanking each other regularly for all the giving that supports our association. In my own way I have been living dangerously, interacting with people I might not have met or talked with otherwise and trying to navigate challenges and situations that were planned and unplanned, sometimes confusing and sometimes downright frustrating. Throughout the year, so many of you have shared with me your dedication to and passion for archives in ways that have inspired me, and you have offered a welcome range of perspectives and thoughts that enriched my understanding of all of us as the individuals who constitute SAA. I can honestly say that it is good to be among you. For your contributions to SAA and to the archives profession, and for engaging with me during the past year, you have my heartfelt thanks!
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