What is an archives? What does an archivist do? Why is the work important? Can you answer these questions? Can your employer answer these questions? What about your family and friends, or the person you strike up a conversation with in the elevator?
Archivists often commiserate with one another about how what we do is under-appreciated. We frequently complain that we are figuratively, and often literally, tucked away in the basement. Many archivists have worked hard to change that perception, making the case for how archivists change, enrich, and save lives, but there is so much more work to do to raise awareness about our profession. We know how important our work is, but that will never be enough.
ArchivesAWARE! is an online space where professionals and students engaged in all aspects of archival work can share their experiences of and ideas for raising public awareness of archives and the value that archives and archivists add to business, government, education, and society as a whole.The blog is hosted by SAA and managed by its Committee on Public Awareness (COPA).
David Carmicheal, COPA’s chair and Pennsylvania’s State Archivist, outlines the goals of the blog in its initial post, giving the following suggestions for how you can help make this blog a success.
Read this blog. Want to learn how to better express the importance of archives to colleagues, friends, or even strangers? Want to learn tips and techniques to help you make the case for archives to your boss or your board? Can’t quite get the hang of that elevator speech? Keep your eye on this site. You should find plenty of good advice here.
Write for this blog. Had a great outreach success or an advocacy disaster? Share it here. We’ll all learn from each others’ triumphs and failures. Care to talk about upcoming events related to outreach, advocacy, or awareness? This is your place.
Share this blog. Do you have friends or colleagues who might like to read this blog or write for it? Maybe even some non-archivists who have experience or expertise in public relations or outreach? Share the link!
Want to join the conversation on ArchivesAWARE? The editors are always looking for additional content! Read more about the submission process on the About page, and contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.