Archives Week Survey Results

Earlier this year, the NC Archives Week Committee set up a poll to ask a few questions about Archives Week. The survey was advertised primarily on the Society of North Carolina Archivists listserv. We got the results back in March* and here is a brief summary of what we learned.

[*I've removed information from responses to survey questions that might identify the respondent or their institution, but otherwise they are posted as we received them.]

Question 1: "I am a..."

Answers: Of the 15 participants, 2 were librarians; 7 were archivists; 1 was "Staff (non-professional)"; 2 were students; 3 selected "Other" and in their text responses identified themselves as a librarian with an archivist background, an archives associate, and a library technical assistant.

Question 2: "How would you define Archives Week?"

Answers (in no particular order):

  • "Letting those outside the profession know about what we do and the value of archives."
  • "A week to raise awareness about the role of Archives and their specific importance to society."
  • "The opportunity for a repository to inform its constituency its mission and collection."
  • "A week in which NC archives staff highlight their purpose and value to the public and within their own institutions."
  • "A week with programs that highlight what archives are and what they do for society, businesses, professions, academia and more."
  • "Archives week is a time to create awareness of archives and archival practice."
  • "A time during the year to highlight what archivists do and the unique collections around the state."
  • "A week to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining and providing archival materials."
  • "Promote archives and share with people what archives does, why important."
  • "An opportunity to promote archives/repositories and raise awareness of their importance and accessibility."
  • "A way to promote the use and awareness of archives."
  • "A celebration of and an opportunity to promote awareness of our heritage, as preserved in documentary records in multiple formats (oral history, public records, manuscripts, museum objects, documentaries, archival records, etc.)"
  • "Focus on what Archives provides to reach a wider audience. A bit of blowing your own horn."
  • "Archives activities across the state"

Question 3: "Do you find or have you found Archives Week to be a meaningful or helpful program from the Society of North Carolina Archivists?"

Answers: 6 answered "Yes"; 3 answered "No"; 5 answered "Not sure"; and 1 answered "I did not know about Archives Week before this survey."

Question 4: "What types of materials and resources would help your institution promote Archives Week?"

Answers (multiple selections were allowed): 6 respondents selected "Postcards"; 7 selected "Bookmarks"; 7 selected "Posters"; 5 selected "Online calendar"; 6 selected "Planning guide"; 7 selected "Social media (Twitter; Facebook); 0 selected "Nothing; I do not think Archives Week is a useful program"; and 1 selected "Other" and wrote in "simple booklets explaining the general importance of Archives."

Question 5: "Have you or has your institution ever planned an educational event during Archives Week? Why or Why not?"

Answers (in no particular order):

  • "No, I'm not sure why not"
  • "Yes. To be helpful to the AW effort."
  • "No" (2 respondents)
  • "No. We do not have the money or staff."
  • "We have a fair at our church during October and we have a display of our archives resources each year. We also use our display case to highlight some aspects of our archives and the history of the congregation."
  • "For our institution's anniversary our staff dressed up in period clothing and provided period related materials in the lobby of the main library. The clothing and free give aways (candy) attracted many visitors."
  • "Not an educational event because our staff is extremely small and it is a lot of time and effort to plan something and make it successful. A lot of times it is hard to publicize to the university community about Archives Week and get excited, and it often comes at a bad time during the academic year, so people are focused on other things."
  • "No. Our library does not concentrate on archives too much because the local community college maintains a large collection. Our library believes that it is not wise to repeat collections."
  • "No, not enough time."
  • "We are planning on having an open house or some event in October. This is good timing as we can incorporate archives week with our open house."
  • "Yes."
  • "No - I presently work for a corporation for which history is not the primary focus, although I have posted Archives Week posters in an effort to foster awareness."
  • "Our library has not linked up with that"
  • "No because we don't have the staff time"

Question 6: "Do you have other comments and suggestions for improving North Carolina Archives Week?"

Answers (in no particular order):

  • "I also get material from SAA for Archives month, so it would be good to coordinate our week with their month's emphases."
  • "No."
  • "Promote the fact that 'Archives are for Everyone'..."
  • "Maybe more hands on support?"
  • "Involve the local news media - they love to cover special interest stories and reach many people. Also get UNC-TV involved - encourage them to showcase documentaries or such during this week."
  • "Bookmarks would stick around longer than a week."

The survey may be over, but we'd still love to hear from other people with feedback to any of the questions listed above. Let us know what you think in the comments section of this blog post.

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