Contributed by Daniel Alonzo
Did you know that there are over 50 regional archives groups (Regionals) in the United States? Some, such as the Midwest Archives Conference, represent multiple states over a large geographic area, while others are more narrow in geographic scope, such as the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc., which represents a single city.
Many of these Regionals overlap geographically. For example, if you work in Cleveland you could belong to up to three Regionals.
By virtue of membership overlap, there probably is coordination between groups that share a geographic area. Can the same be said for Regionals of similar size or type across the country?
The Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC) fosters communication and collaboration among all Regionals. In 2013, RAAC was formed by inviting each Regional to join, with one representative per association. Representatives from each type of Regional–local, state and multi-state–serve together on one of six subcommittees and have been working together on a few stated goals.
The Grant Development Subcommittee has compiled grant opportunities by region for a new online resource.
The Education Subcommittee has created a Governance Document Repository compiled from the working documents of Regionals. The Repository provides examples of governing documents such as mission statements, constitutions & bylaws, and guidelines for advocacy & outreach, event planning, and newsletters & journals.
The Disaster Planning & Recovery Subcommittee has created an online resource that provides information on regional, national, and international disaster planning and recovery resources.
The Directory Subcommittee created a comprehensive list of archives groups in the United States and Canada. The directory makes it easy to see the breadth and scope of the Regional community. The directory includes contact information and a brief snapshot of each Regional’s activities.
The Public Awareness Subcommittee maintains a Facebook page to profile a Regional’s event each month. Beyond simply promoting these events, we hope that archivists will use the page as a catalog of events and programs to borrow from. Public Awareness also facilitates information sharing among Regionals and publicizes the work of the Committee.
With the help of SAA’s Issues and Advocacy Roundtable, the RAAC Advocacy Subcommittee is currently investigating how to best establish formal communication lines through which regionals can report local advocacy issues to SAA and ask for advocacy assistance.
In addition to the work of the subcommittees, co-chair Amanda Focke represents RAAC in the Coalition to Advance Learning in Archives, Libraries and Museums. RAAC joins other archival organizations such as SAA and CoSA to represent the archival field on the Coalition, whose purpose is to work in deliberate coordination across organizational boundaries to devise and strengthen sustainable Continuing Education and Professional Development (CE/PD) programs that will transform the library, archives, and museum workforce in ways that lead to measurable impact on our nation’s communities.
RAAC seeks to ease the burden of new leadership by providing practical guidance. For the coming year we will focus on education, outreach, grants, disaster planning, and advocacy.
For more information or if you’d like make a suggestion please visit us at, http://www2.archivists.org/groups/regional-archival-associations-consortium-raac
Please consider attending our meeting at SAA on Wednesday, August 19. Time: TBD.
Daniel Alonzo represents the Archivists of Central Texas in the Regional Archival Associations Consortium and is Chair of the RAAC Public Awareness Subcommittee.