This past week, I took a road trip with your pal and mine, Craig Fansler, and Karen Feeney, a special collections librarian with Forsyth County Public Libraries, up to UNC Asheville to spend a day at the Society of NC Archivists annual meeting. The meeting spanned from Wednesday to Friday, but Karen, Craig, and I were all attending only Thursday so carpooled. Thanks to Karen for driving us hither and yon! It meant an early departure of 6:30am and a late arrival home around 11pm, but it was a pleasure to spend a day with other NC archivists.
The morning plenary was from Dr. Darin Waters, a visiting professor of history at UNC Asheville who also hosts a radio show with Marcus Harvey, a professor of religious studies. Dr. Waters spoke about his research on African American family histories in western North Carolina and his own genealogical research. I enjoyed hearing the personal stories as well as the appreciation for archivists’ work professionally. My first session of the day was regarding advocacy recently begun for community college archivists, who are mandated to collect the records of their institutions but who have neither archivists nor space allocated for their work. I am hopeful SNCA’s leadership can help support the important work that needs to be done within community colleges and so many other state bodies. As budgets continue to shrink, records that support government transparency are ever important.
I also saw Craig speak about his and Sophie’s work with the Dolmen Press Collection printing blocks on a panel called “Making the Hidden Visible.” But I’ll let him talk more about that! Lastly, during SNCA’s business meeting, my election as Education Chair for SNCA was announced; I’ll be working with a subcommittee of the Executive Board to provide NC’s fine archivists with training that helps us do our jobs more effectively.
All in all, I enjoyed my whirlwind day talking with colleagues and learning about everyone’s efforts to make our collections ever-more-accessible and make the work of archivists more visible. I was surprised to discover at this SNCA meeting how many connections I’ve made in my two years in NC; it’s nice to have a wide array of fellow archivists who are close by and can consult as we adopt new software, shift collections, work on decreasing our backlog, manage the challenges of digital and digitized photographs and documents, etc.