The week of August 13th, members of Special Collections Research Center attended the Society of American Archivists’ (SAA) Annual Meeting which was held in Washington, D.C. at the Wardman Park Marriott. The Society of American Archivists is “North America’s oldest and largest national professional association dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists. SAA represents more than 6,200 professional archivists employed by governments, universities, businesses, libraries, and historical organizations nationally…The Society of American Archivists enables archivists to achieve professional excellence and foster innovation to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of enduring value…[and] SAA promotes the value and diversity of archives and archivists. [SAA is] the preeminent source of professional resources and the principal communication hub for American archivists.”*
The SAA Annual Meeting (known to many as simply “SAA”) is a chance for Archivists and other cultural heritage workers to meet, interact, collaborate, and learn from one another through section meetings, informational sessions, workshops, and much more. Here are some reflections from SCRC staff on their 2018 SAA experience.
Amanda Brent, Processing Coordinator
Attending the SAA Annual Meeting this year was an enriching and exciting experience. I attended many section meetings and educational sessions, and felt that each one provided valuable information and experiences to glean advice from. I enjoyed meeting other archivists, both ones that I admire from afar and ones I had never met, and reuniting with old colleagues and friends from library school. I enjoyed discussing issues of concern in the world of archives, seeing other perspectives on these issues, as well as celebrating the successes of other institutions and individuals. Each time I gather with other archivists, I am filled with gratitude that I chose a profession with so many other incredible professionals doing invaluable (and yeoman’s!) work.
Lynn Eaton, Director
Attending SAA was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about emerging trends in the archival field, hear inspiring speakers, and to talk with old and new colleagues across the country about their experiences, ideas, challenges and successes. I returned refreshed and energized for another year of sharing our amazing collections and books with more students and researchers!
Brittney Falter, Research Services Coordinator
I really enjoyed the Library of Congress’s Pre-SAA Unconference and learned some tips on how I can improve instructions in SCRC. As for the SAA conference, I was able to meet some great archivists and learned about what other archival institutions do that work and do not work for them.
Bill Keeler, Processing Student Assistant
My experience at SAA was simply fantastic. I had hopes that attending SAA would push me further into the archival world, and I was not disappointed. Being able to understand what current students are researching while completing their degrees was extremely insightful and exciting. Also, to not only see how other institutions and individuals are dealing with problems but also how they are creating and subsequently implementing ways in which to overcome said obstacles were just a few of many takeaways for me. Looking forward to SAA 2019!
Lana Mason, Processing Student Assistant
This was my first time attending SAA, so I was uncertain of what to expect from the conference. However, as soon as I sat down for my first event, my uncertainty was immediately dispelled and replaced with a deep appreciation for the field and the work its professionals engage in. The conference gave me new insight into important practical considerations, such as the relationships archivists must establish with communities, institutions, and individuals, that I had not considered before. Overall it was a tremendously rewarding and educational experience. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend, and hope to have the chance to go again next year!
Bob Vay, Digital Collections and Exhibitions Archivist
Conferences have the treasured side-effect of reuniting old friends. While the sessions that I attended were interesting, informative, and thought-provoking, what struck me most was seeing former colleagues and students of mine, whom I had not seen in many years. While eating lunch all by myself, a dear friend, whom I had not seen in about 5 years, walked up to my table. We spoke for nearly two hours, not only about the archives business but about our families and what our children were doing. Later I ran into a former student assistant of mine who for the past ten years has been working for the Naval Heritage Center as an archivist. While it had been about ten years since I’d seen him, it felt as if he’d never left our department. I experienced several other of these “mini-reunions” that week. They were truly a highlight of the conference.
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