The Occasional Webinar Series Continues

The MARAC Communications and Education Committees invite you to enjoy the second of a new Occasional Webinar series on August 5, 2020 at 4:00 pm.  The webinar is free, but we ask that you register at WebinarRegistrationAug5.  Zoom details will be provided upon registration.The webinar is limited to 100 attendees and will be recorded.

Title: 
Publishing and Archiving the Lehigh University Campus Newspaper Brown and White During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Presenter: 
Matt Veto is a professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Lehigh University. He earned his master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in December of 2013 after working in numerous newsrooms across all platforms beginning in 2000. He continues to write and create short documentary videos in addition to teaching multimedia classes and advising the Lehigh student publication, The Brown and White.

Description:
For 126 consecutive years, Lehigh University’s “The Brown and White” student newspaper had been delivering campus and community news to its readers, and it continued to do so despite the university’s closure due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. In anticipation of Lehigh’s likely closure — and just hours before the official announcement — the student editors and faculty adviser developed and launched a remote production protocol that ensured the continuity of the print product despite the challenges of displacement. Sending their first remotely produced paper to the printer mere minutes before a 5 a.m. deadline, the team officially commenced its journey of news production in a new era. The cover of that issue blared “GLOBAL PANDEMIC: COVID-19 fears force students home; Lehigh goes remote” and was followed by 11 more hard copy editions to go along with 24/7 coverage online. The team of more than 150 student editors, reporters, photographers and videographers became a group of global correspondents, continuing to cover events close to home, while also providing perspective from afar.

Occasional Webinar Series Starts July 29th

The MARAC Communications and Education Committees invite attendees to enjoy the first of a new Occasional Webinar series on  July 29, 2020 at 4:00pm.  Register here and read more about the presenter and topic below.

Title: Bethlehem Steel, Industry, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Presenter:
James Higgins is a lecturer at Rider University and instructor at Jefferson University.  He earned his doctorate at Lehigh University.  His 2009 PhD dissertation’s title is Keystone of an epidemic: Pennsylvania’s urban experience during the 1918–1920 influenza epidemic and it is available as fulltext to PQDT subscribers. His first book, The Health of the Commonwealth:  A Brief History of Medicine in Pennsylvania, will be published by Temple University Press in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical Association in October 2020.  He has researched the influenza pandemic of 1918-1922 for twenty years and frequently publishes scholarly articles and lectures on the subject of epidemic disease and public health.  He has consulted for documentaries, podcasts, private industry, and media outlets on avian influenza and COVID – 19.

Abstract
The autumn of 1918 was the most acute and deadly phase of the 1918-1922 influenza pandemic, the worst pandemic in human history in terms of lives lost.  The Lehigh Valley was part of a regional network of rail lines that stretched to the great ports of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.  As such, though it was populated by only small cities and modest towns, its exposure to the virus that caused the influenza pandemic of 1918-1922 was far more akin to that of the great Mid-Atlantic metropolises.  The valley’s connections to the region’s great population centers became even more explicit during World War One as critical war industries, notably Bethlehem Steel (the world’s largest producer of munitions and weapons), Mack Trucks, Trojan Powder (a major manufacturer of explosives), as well as the United States Army Ambulance Corps training base, Camp Crane.

The Lehigh Valley was forced to balance responses to the disease with the need to remain economically operational for the sake of the war effort.  

Lehigh University was in the midst of both the war effort and efforts to combat the disease.  For the first time in its history, the university, which had dozens of young men enrolled in the Student Army Training Corps, closed its doors indefinitely and attempted to carry on with the training of students both intellectually and physically.  The drama that unfolded behind the gates of the university, where students sickened and were cared for on campus, and where a dozen students died in buildings still in use by the university, was a microcosm of the larger struggle waged outside the campus.  

The university’s loss of life from influenza far exceeded its losses from World War One and were the greatest loss of life in the shortest period in the university’s history.  

Lehigh University closed only two other times for extended periods: during the 1958 Asian flu and during 2020’s COVID-19 outbreak.  Nothing, however, compared to the story of Lehigh University during the sad autumn of 1918.

MARAC Statement on Black Lives Matter and Resources

MARAC Statement on Black Lives Matter and Resources
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) stands in solidarity with protesters against violence and racism towards Black Americans and people of color. We condemn the systemic and institutionalized racism, militarization of law enforcement, and unchecked violence committed by the state that led to the murder of George Floyd and so many other Black people. We affirm that Black Lives Matter and support the right to protest peacefully against injustice without violent response.

We recognize that archives have historically been located in institutions and frameworks that reinforce white supremacy and that our organization needs to do more to support efforts to dismantle the historical legacy of oppression both within our organization and within our individual institutions. 

We ask our MARAC members to commit to addressing anti-blackness and to leverage whatever skills, power, and privilege they have towards dismantling oppressive systems in our institutions and communities. We stand with communities everywhere demanding justice.

Ethical Collecting of Protest-Related Materials
To archivists and institutions who are considering collecting protest-related materials, there are important ethical considerations to be aware of, the most important of which is prioritizing the privacy and safety of protesters. It is also appropriate to NOT build protest-related collections if such collection building cannot be done mindfully, safely, and ethically so that they cannot be used to inflict harm. Institutions should also be aware that secondary trauma can be experienced by staff members processing these types of collections. 

For further guidance on ethically collecting protest materials, please consult the Guidelines from Documenting the Now and Guidelines from Witness, as well as resources found on the Archives for Black Lives site.  

MARAC will also host an online discussion on safe and ethical collecting on June 16, 2020 at 1 PM Eastern Time. This informal event, facilitated by members of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, will be a forum for members to share ideas and concerns and discuss ways in which we can support the efforts of those already doing this work. Contact administrator@marac.info for invitation.

MARAC Diversity and Inclusion Resources
Please feel free to suggest any other relevant links directly in the MARAC Diversity and Inclusion Resources Google Document. We hope that you will find these resources useful and empowering.   

MARAC Mutual Aid Network
We would also like to remind you about MARACs mutual aid network, which aims to connect MARAC members with vital resources to those members experiencing need. We hope to leverage this network as a tool during this time of crisis to help facilitate support between members and show solidarity across our community.  

In solidarity and on behalf of the MARAC Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the MARAC Executive Committee.

MARAC Mutual Aid Network

Dear MARAC Members,

Thank you for your ongoing support of MARAC in these difficult times. MARAC is aware that many of our members are currently facing “unprecedented” challenges in both our professional and personal lives as the entire world copes with the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we acknowledge that this difficult reality disproportionately affects our must vulnerable members.

This is why we would like to invite our members to participate in launching a  MARAC Mutual Aid Network  that allows our community to come together and support one another. A form for members to either request or provide assistance is available here:  https://forms.gle/jGfkXaU9U7vLyMcR8 .

MARAC Mutual Aid Network
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The “Mutual Aid 101 Toolkit” explains that mutual aid is: “a practice and politics that emphasizes solidarity rather than charity” and that “recognize[s] that our well-being, health and dignity are all bound up in each other.” In an effort to engage our community and to strengthen our bonds at a time when we are all feeling the enormous pressures, MARAC would like to organize a way for community members to connect to one another. If you’re interested in reaching out to support colleagues in need or in offering your support for the greater community, please use the following form to let us know. We will follow up to put individuals in contact and coordinate a group effort to share resources, spread well-being, and support archivists in need.forms.gle

For those unfamiliar with Mutual Aid Networks (MANs), the Mutual Aid 101 Toolkit defines MANs as  grass-roots efforts that “emphasize solidarity rather than charity” and that allow community members to “plug in where we can make the most impact–locally.”  MANs are simple efforts that allow a community to connect individuals willing to share their resources (whatever they may be) to uplift those in need.This form is a first step in helping understand the needs of our local body of archivist and archival workers.  

It is important to note that all submissions will remain private and no respondent’s contact information will be used without express permission of the respondent (and for those who wish to remain anonymous that will always be an option). 

Thank you for considering participating! If you should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Caitlin Rizzo, the MARAC Secretary at cur585@psu.edu or 301-266-0202. 

Fall 2020 Conference Cancellation

Dear MARAC members,

Late last week, MARAC’s Executive Committee voted to cancel our fall 2020 meeting in Long Branch, NJ.  Again, this was not an easy decision but we were facing too many unknowns.  We could not risk the health of our attendees and canceling now limits the financial repercussions for our organization.

I want to thank everyone who worked to plan our Long Branch meeting and specifically our Local Arrangements Committee Co-Chairs Tara Maharjan and Melissa Ziobro as well as our Program Committee Co-Chairs Don Cornelius and Alan Delozier.  I have no doubt that Long Branch would have been a fantastic meeting, and I am sorry that you will not be able to bring it to fruition. 

I do hope to see everyone at our spring 2021 meeting in Saratoga Springs, NY, which will be held April 8-10, 2021.  Check out https://www.marac.info/spring-2021-conference for more information.  We are also planning to increase our online educational opportunities and publications for members in the coming months, so please stay tuned!

Thank you again for your understanding, and I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Rachel M. Grove Rohrbaugh
MARAC Chair 2019-2020

Support for the Archival Workers Emergency Fund

Dear MARAC Members,

The Society of American Archivists Foundation recently announced the creation of the Archival Workers Emergency Fund (AWEF) to support archival workers experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis.  The fund will supply grants of up to $1,000 to financially vulnerable and at-risk workers.  All U.S.-based archival workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis are eligible to apply, including archival workers who are not members of SAA.

Today the MARAC Steering Committee voted to donate our remaining FY20 advocacy funds, $1,370, to the AWEF.  We encourage you to also consider donating individually if you are able.  Donations are tax deductible.

To donate or to apply for a grant, please visit https://www2.archivists.org/groups/saa-foundation-board-of-directors/archival-workers-emergency-fund.

Sincerely,

Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh
MARAC Chair, 2019-2020

MARAC Mentoring Cohort 2020-2021 Accepting Applications

Dear MARAC colleagues,

The MARAC Mentoring Program is seeking participants for the 2020 cycle! The year long  program will begin in July 2020. All interested mentors and mentees are encouraged to sign up by the end of April. We also encourage folks interested in being mentors to consider self-selecting a co-mentor to work with. Is there a colleague you’d like to partner with? Encourage them to sign up with you!

Applications and more information about this exciting program are available here.

WHY PARTICIPATE?

The MARAC Mentoring Program offers members an opportunity to participate in Mentoring Circles, small groups that typically consist of four to five mentees and two mentors. Diverging from the traditional one-on-one mentoring model, the circle fosters mentoring relationships between mentors and mentees, but also peer mentoring relationships and can help you network with new colleagues gain new useful skills for your archives career.

Mentoring Circles are designed to:

-Encourage the exchange of experiences, challenges, and opportunities to facilitate goal-setting for career and personal development.

             -Build competence and character to reach those goals.

             -Foster self-confidence, communication skills, and collective growth.

Mentors and Mentees are matched to a circle depending on their interests, goals, availability, and geographic location. Circles typically meet in a combination of virtual and in-person meetings. The application process includes an initial survey to determine everyone’s interests and support the initial grouping. All participants should be current MARAC members, able to commit to a full cycle of the program, and be ready to actively participate in every meeting.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Please visit the MARAC Mentoring page to learn more about the program and to apply to join. Applications will be accepted through June 10, 2020. Applicants will receive placement information by July 1, 2020. If you have any questions about the program, please contact the MARAC Mentoring Subcommittee: mentoring@marac.info.

Resources for Archivists

As we continue to work around and deal with the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, MARAC is dedicated to providing help to our profession. We’re compiling a list of resources for archival professionals to assist with those working from home, as well as those looking to document their community and/or institutional response to the pandemic. We are also open to sharing other resources not mentioned here. To submit ideas or suggestions, please contact us at marac.communications@gmail.com. We will also be able to share such ideas with other members via our social media platforms, as well as an updated blog post.

We are also looking to share ideas for practical responses already in place by archives professionals in the MARAC region. If you or your coworkers have a project related to COVID-19 response, please feel free to share it with us – we are happy to help promote your activities further. You can find us on Twitter (@MARACTweets) or on Facebook in the MARAC group.

A Workshop in American Visual Culture and Literacy

The MARAC Blog

The Graphic Arts Department at the Library Company of Philadelphia will host a Visual Literacy workshop generously supported in part by the Center for American Art in July 2020.

Title: Urban In-sights: A Workshop in American Visual Culture and Literacy from the Eighteenth through the Early Twentieth Century

Dates: July 27-29, 2020

Location: Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Application Deadline: March 27, 2020Extended to April 3, 2020

This three-day workshop aims to enhance the skills of historians, art historians, archivists, curators, and other university, library and museum professionals, as well as graduate students who use images to interpret American art, history, and culture. We seek to augment and strengthen participants’ ability to identify, “read,” and analyze graphic material, including prints, photographs, watercolors, paintings, ephemera, and other two-dimensional objects. As the program uses Philadelphia as a focal point, priority will be given to applicants interested…

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Harrisonburg Meeting Update

Dear MARAC members,

After a week of careful consideration and planning, MARAC’s Executive Committee has come to the decision to cancel our spring 2020 meeting in Harrisonburg, Virginia. We wish we did not have to take this action, but the safety of our members and our community are more important, and we could not risk contributing to the spread of COVID-19. 

So many people worked hard over the past year and a half to develop our spring 2020 meeting, and I specifically want to thank our Local Arrangements Committee (chaired by Tiffany Cole, Kate Morris, and Sarah Roth-Mullet) and our Program Committee (chaired by Elizabeth Novara and Vincent Novara). We were all looking forward to coming together with colleagues and enjoying the meeting that you created, and please know that we did not come to this decision lightly.

Information moving forward:

  1. All registration fees, workshop fees, tours, and tickets will be refunded over the next few weeks, and you do not need to contact our Administrator to receive a refund. We appreciate your patience as she processes the refunds.
  2. The hotel is cancelling room reservations. Please contact the hotel directly if you have any questions.
  3. We have consulted with the Program Committee co-chairs, and we are exploring options for sharing the women’s suffrage centennial and civil rights content in the program but no specific plans have been made at this time. 
  4. In accordance with our by-laws, we will hold our spring Business Meeting, but it will take place remotely. More details will be forthcoming.

Thank you for your understanding, and I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Rachel M. Grove Rohrbaugh
MARAC Chair 2019-2020