The Rook attends SAA in Hot Atlanta, Georgia

1398c271-a071-4d34-ac0b-f896d8a98c24In a previous post, I mentioned that I was flying via Southwest to the city of Atlanta, Georgia in order to travel to the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists. As you can see from the picture, I flew out way to early in the morning as well as flew without cappuccino. I arrived in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday morning. After I post about the conference sessions and roundtables that I attended, I will post about the Margaret Mitchell House, the Federal Reserve, and the Jimmy Carter Library. I had a great time. Plus at the reception at the Coca-Cola Archives, I had too much Coca-Cola.

While attending the conference, I met some great people and reconnected with people I went to graduate school with as well as saw people from previous conferences. Even though I was busy meeting people and learning new things, I still had time to eat gelato twice. The gelato was so good that it reminded me of my beloved Italia. The only way the gelato would have been better was if my feet was firmly planted on Italian soil. However, my feet was on American soil, but I just imagined that I was standing in San Marco Square in Venice, Italia.

On Wednesday afternoon, I attended the Research Libraries Roundtable as well as SNAP.

At the Research Libraries Roundtable (soon to be called section), we talked about how to provide services and meet the needs of researchers with fewer resources. One suggestion was to see if your colleagues can help you complete a project. One presenter mentioned that she put out a call for help to her colleagues in order to create a preliminary inventory for a collection. Twenty of her colleagues helped her complete the inventory for the collection. Another suggestion was to make sure the community knows what your repository can and cannot do at certain staff and funding levels. It was also mentioned that we cannot rely on grant funding to meet our budgetary needs. Grants are great for short term financial needs, but cannot solve our budgetary problems in the long run.

We also talked about making sure that we are showing the community that we serve as well as our donors the value of our repository. For the public to support us, they have to know what our repositories do as well as the value that we provide to the community.

Also a good tip for all of our current and future managers was given: be open to your staff’s suggestions and ideas even when limited funding is available.

After this roundtable it was off to the SNAP (Students and New Archival Professionals) Roundtable. It was my first SNAP meeting. It was the roundtable’s  five year anniversary. So Happy Birthday SNAP. The chairpersons from each of the past steering committees spoke about what the roundtable did during their tenure.

Then, we talked about overcoming imposter syndrome, which is when one does not feel that they are qualified for the job they are currently in. We talked about some ways to overcome this syndrome. The first suggestion is to have a network of people that support and encourage you. This is extremely important. We need someone who believes in us even though we may not. A second suggestion was to document your successes. For example, I have a word document called “What I did in 2016?” In this document, I list what I accomplished each month at the Louisiana State Archives as well as what professional development activities I completed. Another suggestion was to make sure that we tell our colleagues who may be suffering from imposter syndrome that we believe in them. Everyone needs somebody to say “hey, you know what you are doing.”

The next subject we talked about was making sure people know how to get involved in archival organizations. Some people may not know how to get involved. If you want to get involved with the REPS Roundtable or NEA and do not know how to go about doing so, just shoot us an email or comment on the blog and we will try to help. Emails and comments are always welcomed.

We also talked about the importance of making sure the community we serve knows what our repository does and the value we provide to the community. We should not assume that everyone knows what we do or the value our repository provides.

IMG_1869After SNAP, REPS held a meet up at Max Lager’s in Atlanta. Chris Tanguay and I put together a meet up. We had a very good turn out. It was great to finally meet a member of the steering committee in person as well as see a familiar face from my conference in Pittsburgh. I even met a student from Simmons College.

Written By: Blake E. Relle, Archives Specialist A, Louisiana State University

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6 thoughts on “The Rook attends SAA in Hot Atlanta, Georgia

  1. Thanks for mentioning “imposter syndrome.” I still feel that way, sometimes, and only recently found out it’s common even among mid-career professionals.

  2. […] I only realized how much of my suffering was self-inflicted when I started preparing for my new job. If I’d only reached out, I would have learned that I was not alone. I would have come across stuff like this and understood the difficulty in finding an archives job. I would have known that no, not all my classmates found archival jobs right out of grad school. Heck, I would’ve realized I wasn’t the only archivist suffering from Imposter Syndrome. […]

    • It took me a year and a half to find my first paying job after finishing grad school. I told our volunteer at the Louisiana State Archives that it took me a year and a half. She was so glad I told her because she felt like she was the only one who could not find an archive job. You are definitely not alone. I am going to write a blog post about imposter syndrome as soon as I finish blogging about SAA.


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