News from Maryland State Archives

New Leadership Potential for the Maryland State Archives

Author: Elizabeth A. Novara, Maryland Caucus Chair

After almost 40 years of service, the Maryland State Archivist, Edward C. Papenfuse, retired on November 1, 2013. Deputy Archivist, Timothy D. Baker, is currently serving in his place until a new state archivist is found. The governor, Martin O’Malley, will appoint the next state archivist after a recommendation from the Hall of Records Commission.

In August 2013, MARAC sent a letter to Governor O’Malley copying members of the Hall of Records Commission and the Society of American Archivists Executive Committee. Jordon Steele, Member-At-Large, drafted the letter and members of the Maryland Caucus were asked to contribute ideas. The MARAC Steering Committee ultimately vetted the letter and MARAC Chair, John LeGloahec, sent the following list of qualifications to the governor for consideration:

Qualifications

• Advanced communication skills to express a compelling vision for the mission and work of the Maryland State Archives and, more broadly, for the responsible stewardship of Maryland memory.

• Commitment to the principle of public ownership of government records and to open and equal access to government records in all media and in all formats, by all citizens, as defined by law.

• Advanced advocacy skills to ensure that government recordkeeping processes provide for accountability, transparency, and openness.

• Commitment to the development of an electronic records management program.

• Commitment to timely and appropriate scheduling, disposition, and declassification of government records.

• Commitment to protect the professional integrity and political non-partisanship of the Maryland State Archives.

• Deep understanding of archival practice and the major issues confronting government records, especially the importance of preserving and providing access to electronic records and the tension between open records, privacy, and security.

• Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in archival studies and/or accreditation by the Academy of Certified Archivist strongly preferred.

• Demonstrated leadership within the archival profession at the local, regional, and national level, including committee work, presenting at conferences, and writing articles.

• Experience in the leadership and management of a complex organization.

• Ability to communicate effectively and partner with a wide range of stakeholders, including archivists, government officials, researchers, the general public, and Friends groups.

• Experience raising money from federal and private sources to support institutional priorities.

• Commitment to continuing the work of the Maryland State Archives to secure a permanent storage space for paper records transferred from state agencies.

Although we have not yet had a response from the governor to the letter, members of MARAC’s Maryland Caucus are especially interested in how a new appointee will shape archival advocacy and provide bold leadership for the archival profession in the state of Maryland. We hope that the appointee will take the state in a new direction in preserving Maryland’s cultural heritage.
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