MARAC Fall 2012 Conference Roundup: Advocacy

Author: Tammy L. Hamilton, Member-at-Large

First and foremost, a hearty congratulations and thank you to Paige Newman and the members of the 40th Anniversary Committee for honoring our organization and creating an atmosphere of celebration. From trivia games to visual reminders of our past culled from the MARAC Archives, our organization’s past permeated the conference. 
Throughout the conference, the buzz word in all of the sessions I attended, and in the hallways, was advocacy. This was not unexpected, as plenary speaker Christy S. Coleman, President of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, charged the MARAC membership with advocating for our institutions to our politicians, board members, and stakeholders. 
One of the ways we can advocate for our institutions is by being more vocal about our needs but also our accomplishments. How are we reaching our users? What educational programs are we developing to bring archival resources to schools? How are we holding public officials accountable? 
The MARAC conferences are wonderful networking opportunities and provide us with the chance to “check-in” with other repositories and archival professionals. But they are only twice a year. We can “check-in” remotely with each other and publicize our accomplishments using social media. We can use this blog to inform each other about funding cuts, newly developed educational programs, outreach and advocacy strategies. I would encourage all archival professionals in the MARAC region to send us blog entries. Connect with your colleagues year-round. Tell us what you’re doing. Tell us how MARAC can help you advocate.

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