Arline Custer Memorial Award


DEADLINE:  July 31, 2018

The Arline Custer Memorial Award is presented by the MARAC Arline Custer Memorial Award Committee.  This award honors the memory of Arline Custer (1909-1975), MARAC member and editor of the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.


The Arline Custer Memorial Award recognizes the best books and articles written or compiled by individuals and institutions in the MARAC region – the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Works under consideration include, but are not limited to: monographs, popular narratives, reference works and exhibition catalogs using archival sources.

Individuals or institutions may submit up to two works published between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.


Works must be relevant to the general public as well as the archival community. They also should be original and well researched using available sources. In addition, they should be clearly presented, well written and organized. Visual materials, if used, should be appropriate to the text.

Preference will be given to works by archivists.


Up to two awards may be given, with a maximum value of $200.00 for books and $100.00 for articles. The 2018 award(s) will be announced at the Fall 2018 Conference in Wilmington, DE.

Submission Instructions

Please send two copies of each submission with a letter of nomination to the Senior Co-Chair of the Arline Custer Memorial Award Committee:

Tara Wink
Health Sciences and Human Services Library
University of Maryland, Baltimore
601 West Lombard Street Baltimore, MD 21214

Entries must be received by July 31, 2018

For additional information about this award and a list of previous award winners, see the Arline Custer Memorial Award site.


S22 – Donor Relations 101

I did not know what I was getting in for when I sat down in Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh and Lynda Kachurek’s session, “Designing a Legacy: Collaborative Donor Relations with the Living Donor.” Like every archivist introvert’s nightmare, when Rachel and Lynda let us know that this would be a group participation type of a session, I fought the urge to flee. In part to hear from others in the field, and in part to improve my public speaking skills, I decided to stick it out. I’m glad I did, as the session turned out to be the most memorable one of the entire conference.

We broke up into small groups, and discussed several outlandish but realistic donor scenarios. The scenarios included a roller derby donation with processing expectations and a family dispute, a pesky volunteer with a lot of information about a large collection that needs description work, and a former madam with a collection riddled with privacy concerns. After discussing each scenario in small groups, we reported back to the session at large. This part was really interesting in that while there were some common themes in how the various small groups decided to handle the situation, some ideas were really unique. Everyone really brought their own personal experiences into the discussion, and it was really empowering to brainstorm in a room filled with archivists from many types of institutions.

Some themes that cut across all three scenarios included flipping negative aspects into positive ones, communicating openly, and educating non archivists in basic archival practice. The themes really resonated with me, and I think they apply to all public facing aspects of our field.

The session turned collaborative workshop was a great way to end a great weekend at MARAC. While this was a “bird of a feather” session this year, I hope we have more in the future.

By: Marci Bayer
National Archives and Records Administration

S17: If You Plan It, They Will Come: Archives Month Event Incubator

Archives Month Philly (AMP) is a month-long city-wide festival. Yes, you read that right. Month-long and city-wide. (I only put up a Archives Month poster last year, does that count?) AMP focuses on educating the wider community about local archives through public programming and exhibitions. Since 2013, AMP has held over 100 events at more than 60 participating institutions in the Philadelphia area. In 2017, they had more than 500 event attendees throughout October.

AMP’s lead organizers gave an overview of planning individual events and coordinating multi-institutional partnerships. Such as Nerd Nite Philly, where archivists take over the popular bar-based monthly lecture series. Or the Philadelphia Lantern Slide Salon that showcased glass lantern slides from the special collections of several Philadelphia institutions projected from an historic lantern projector in the Wagner’s Victorian-era lecture hall. Speakers shared suggestions and words of caution. They shared their website,, where you can further explore the different kinds of events they have done in the past.

Some of the main organizing principles takeaways shared were to plan events for the general public. In order to expose new people to the archives, you have to meet them where they are at, such as a bar for Nerd Nite Philly. Even if your institution cannot host an event, you can partner up with one that can. This multi-institutional events has the potential to lead to partnerships. It helps to build relationships with other archivists in your area.

Some tips for success:

Start planning early: Planning early is especially important if you are part of a large institution and you need to go through the bureaucracy to get things approved. Or if you need buy-in to do something your institution had never done before. One presenter mentioned, how she had to explain that this wasn’t an event for other archivists but for the general public and selling that idea took sometime.

You’re only as strong as your planning team: Since AMP is completely volunteer based, having an active engaged team is important. Holding team members accountable to assigned tasks helps to get things done. But also keeping it light and informal helps to keep people engaged.

Mobilize your community: Outreach is the key to planning an event. It’s important to get the word out via social media. Reaching out to colleagues, who in turn reach out to their connections helps to spread the word of your event. Getting your event on local event calendars and blogs is also helpful.

Keep it fun: When it comes down to it, have fun and keep it fun. Planning for a month long festival can be stressful but it should be fun.

Session attendees broke into small groups to brainstorm creative ideas and planning their own events for Archives Month this October. I was super pumped and excited to hear about all the cool things AMP had accomplished and it was great to break out into the sessions and to brainstorm. I walked away with a lot of great ideas and Monday morning I will be sending an email to the powers that be to get the ball rolling on some of them.

Karolina Lewandowska, M.A., M.L.I.S.
Processing Archivist
Naval History & Heritage Command