It was so exciting to reunite with the DHC fellows at the Society of American Archivists National Conference last month in Washington, DC. When we first met in Chicago, we had no idea where DHC would take us. Now we have traveled all over the U.S. and delved into amazing projects that have not only helped us develop professional skills, but have also enriched our lives.
Thanks to the DHC, we were able to attend SAA sessions on everything from ensuring access to digital records to how copyright law affects libraries and archives. My personal favorite was a session on archives and activism. Panelists included lobbyists from the American Library Association and American Alliance of Museums and the executive director of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Funding for libraries and archives are constantly threatened. For example, Paul Ryan’s most recent budget plan including cutting the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which funds our DHC fellowship! While we can’t all be lobbyists, we can make a difference on the ground level. Make sure your friends know the importance of libraries and archives. Share the cause on social media. And don’t forget to write your representatives to let them know about how libraries and archives impact you!
We also had the chance to attend sessions related directly to our field and network with other professionals and students. We all attended the SAA Performing Arts Roundtable, which focused this year on archiving punk collections. Though I am not a punk fan myself, I learned about how archivists can connect with music communities and countercultures to ensure their history is preserved. This isn’t as easy as it sounds–forming partnerships often means slowly earning trust and developing long-term relationships to build collections over time.
And no worries. After all of those sessions, we made some time for fun too! Below are some photos of our SAA experience!