November Council meeting – almost time!

For those who haven’t seen it yet, the agenda and supporting documentation for the SAA Council meeting that will be taking place in Chicago November 14-16 is up on the SAA website. I’m currently reading through the documentation, and there are a few things that I wanted to point out:

  • The transition work plan from the Member Affinity Working Group is up. Council will be discussing the proposed work plan and timeline as well as the needed revisions to governance documents.
  • The compilation of annual reports from all of the various sections/roundtables is available. It’s a 116 page document, so you probably aren’t going to read cover to cover. But there is an increasing interest and emphasis on collaboration between the various SAA component groups. And it’s hard to collaborate if you don’t know what the others are doing! At least give this full document a skim just so you have a better sense of what’s happening across the organization. You never know where you might find a common ground for an interesting collaboration!
  • COPP (Committee on Public Policy) has submitted a new issue brief on “Confidentiality of Private Information Held in Records of the Federal Government’s Executive Agencies.”
  • Immediate past president Dennis Meissner has submitted a proposal to form a new Committee on Research and Evaluation (CORE). From the proposal, “CORE gathers quantitative and qualitative information of strategic value for advocacy, awareness, relevance, audience service, and community engagement. CORE evaluates this information and surfaces it to members in dashboards, reports, and data sets that members can use to better understand and act upon their environments.”

Additionally, the Council meeting will actually begin on Monday afternoon with a workshop on diversity and inclusion, led by DeEtta Jones. We will continue the conversation on Tuesday  with an update from the Council Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion and a discussion of ways in which SAA – and us as individual professionals and organizational leaders – can advance diversity and inclusion within SAA and the archival profession. This is an area where I would love feedback from members. What are your thoughts?

Here are my personal thoughts — me as an individual and not anything “official” or decided by Council as a whole. One thing I would personally love to see is an extension of the cultural competency training that Helen Wong Smith has conducted. I would love to see a “train the trainer” system in collaboration with state/local archival organizations and RAAC (Regional Archival Associations Consortium). I would love this type of regional approach to ask people to question both inclusion within their own professional association/environment and within their collections/collecting work. I’m also hoping that we can more heavily highlight some of the important initiatives being carried out within SAA component groups that might serve as inspiration for others. Also — again this is me speaking as an individual and not as “Council” (the whole) — I want to see SAA more vocally speak out, frequently reaffirming the organization’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion in the profession and to its professionals, in both actions and words.

So, that’s what coming up next week. I’m going to be the somewhat odd position of participating in the Council meeting virtually. For those of you who haven’t heard, one of my corgis (Jasper) is facing the possibility of back surgery for a ruptured disk in his lower back. We went to a neurologist earlier this week for a consultation and an MRI, and we’re still in the phase of determining whether he will be able to recover on his own with strict crate rest and pain medicine or if he will need back surgery to remove the disk. He was given a 50-60% chance of recovering on his own, and he’s showing some early signs of recovery. But he’s got a long road ahead, and I’ll need to be here to keep a close eye on him throughout the next few days. Barring any emergencies, I should be able to participate fully in the meeting. It stinks, but, anyone who knows me knows that my corgis are my babies. I can’t leave when one is hurting.

So, please message me on Twitter (@barkivist) or email (elawrimore32 at gmail) with your thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. I genuinely want to hear from folks because I want to be a representative for you….


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