Steering Shares are an opportunity to find out more about the I&A Steering Committee. This Steering Share is from Vice Chair Christine Anne George.
How did you get involved in archives?
I first learned about archives in college when a professor informed my class that if we didn’t include archival research in our papers, we would fail. All I needed was that nudge to get hooked as a researcher. I found reasons to keep returning in both college and law school. When I went to library school it was to become a law librarian. I took an archives class because it sounded interesting and the next thing I knew, I wound up with a double specialization.
Why did you get involved with the Issues & Advocacy Roundtable?
I got involved with I&A back in 2012. There was an issue that I was hoping that SAA would take a stand on. I reached out to a now defunct advocacy group within SAA and never heard back. Then I got in touch with the chairs of I&A and wrote a blog post. The experience made me realize the importance of advocacy, not just for the one issue I was interested in, but for archives and archivists as a whole. I ran in the next election to become a steering committee member and have been involved since then.
What is an archives issue that means a lot to you?
It’s really important to have as complete a historical record as possible. I realize that it is an impossible ideal, but I still think that, as archivists, it’s something to strive for. In order to achieve that, there have to be some sort of legal protection for archives (as the repositories for collections) and maybe even archivists (as the individuals who are seeking collections). I’ve written and presented about the idea of an archival privilege which, should it ever be obtained, would be a means to provide those protections.
How would you define advocacy?
To me, advocacy is a continual push forward. It’s setting an agenda and doing all you can to reach it. You want to try to improve what was and strive for a better what could be. I don’t think you necessarily need a group in order to advocate, but I find that multiple voices tend to be a lot stronger than just one.