October is American Archives Month! It’s an entire month dedicated to spreading awareness and bringing attention to archival institutions. Whether it’s your first semester learning about records and retention schedules, finding aids and metadata, or it’s your last semester and you’re looking forward to beginning your career, you probably already know that there is not a lot of understanding out in the world about what archivists do. There seems to always be confusion when I say to someone, “I’m studying to be an archivist.” Common responses I’ve gotten range from, “What’s that?’ to “Hasn’t the Internet made it so we don’t even need archivists anymore?” This gap in understanding and awareness needs to be bridged.
In 2006, the Society of American Archivists created this month-long celebration to provide the “opportunity to tell (or remind) people that items that are important to them are being preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by archivists.” Archives Month is so important because it gives us a chance to spread the word about what we do, what we’re studying, and why archives are necessary. It also gives us the chance to feature some incredible archives doing important work!
This month we will be posting items using #ArchivesMonth and we hope you’ll search through the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. Spend some time exploring what archives are doing across the country to celebrate and educate. On October 3, we’ll be taking part in Ask an Archivist day, where we’ll be asking questions of archivists and sharing responses. We’ll also be featuring 10 archival institutions this month that we think should be getting attention and praise for the work they do.
Follow along as we explore our featured archives and spread awareness of the archival profession. We’re hopeful that activities like these can change minds, create inspiration and foster excitement in archival institutions, and maybe (just maybe) next time you say to someone, “I’m studying to be an archivist” they’ll say, “Archives are essential parts of our collective cultural and historical memory. We should be supporting them as much as we can. I love archives!