Q and A with SAA’s Newly Elected Brittany Newberry

Today we are featuring Brittany Newberry, SGA member and current Archivist of Popular Music and Culture at Georgia State University. She has been recently elected to the Society of American Archivists Nominating Committee. She has served as SGA Communications Director and Assistant, Outreach Manager and Assistant, and was on SGA’s nominating committee. She has held positions in SAA’s Archivists and Archives of Color section steering committee, SAA’s Membership Committee and Career Development Subcommittee. What better way to learn about leadership in archives than from Brittany who is on a pursuit to uplift our profession.

When and why did you start working in archives?

I started working in archives when I was a freshman in college. I needed a work study job and knew I wanted to work in the university library. When meeting with the administrator to decide which department I would like to work in, I saw the option for rare books. I have been interested in history all my life and I love books and reading. I am one of those people who thinks books have a great smell, well when not water damaged haha. So I chose the Rare Books department to be able to be around the historical, rare first editions, and autographed books. The department was actually a part of Special Collections and would all be named Special Collections and Archives by the time I was a sophomore. I spent the first year working on creating book enclosures for fragile books and working on a collection of an early 20th century American missionary in China who sent handwritten letters to family. I enjoyed the work so much and it didn’t hurt that the reading room looked like it was from Harry Potter. I continued to work there all four years of college. During my time, I was able to process collections, do preservation work, and in-person reference. By my junior year, I was still undecided on my career path, so I spoke with my supervisor and the dean of the library to get some feedback on if I should attend library school and where. I decided to apply, I went to Simmons College in Boston, did my concentration in archives management, and have not regretted one second of the time I spent being in, learning about, and working in archives.

What or who encouraged you to join the Society of Georgia Archivists and Society of American Archivists?

I joined the Society of American Archivists during my first year of graduate school. Professors and classmates talking about the benefits was why I joined. But I didn’t really get involved with sections and committees until after I began my first professional job.

I joined the Society of Georgia Archivists the month after I started my first professional job. My coworkers encouraged me to do so. They told me it would be a great experience and the people are great. FYI, they’re right!

Why did you pursue leadership positions within SGA and SAA?

If you know me, you know I have a hard time saying no and that I have to stay busy. A coworker at my first professional job asked me to be her Assistant Outreach Manager in SGA. I said yes and then after meeting the people and attending the annual meeting, I just kept wanting to volunteer for positions. 

In regards to SAA, they had a program for new professionals and students to be interns for various sections and committees. I volunteered to be an intern for the Archivists and Archives of Color section to learn more about the work of the section. It was a great experience and led me to volunteer to be on the steering committee and volunteer to be on other committees in SAA.

I volunteered to run for SAA’s Nominating Committee because I was asked and I thought it would be a great way for me to give back to the organization and the profession.

How have your roles in SGA and other organizations helped shape you as an archivist?

The leadership roles I have taken on have helped me to be more confident in my abilities as an archivist and as a leader. I used to and still sometimes have imposter syndrome, but when I get asked to take on a leadership role, I know I am doing something right. I am willing to take on new challenges and learn new skills to better myself as a professional. I didn’t think this would be what I would be doing as an archivist. I was content just processing collections. But these roles have helped me to want and achieve more. I have also met great people and made great connections.

What are some key characteristics that you think are important to good leadership?

The willingness to try and try new things and new ideas, to me, is one of the key characteristics of a good leader. And listen. Great leaders need to be able to listen to those around them and understand that even if they don’t have the answer or next great idea that they can figure out who does and how to best support the team.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role on SAA’s Nominating Committee?

SAA’s nominating committee is tasked with finding candidates to fill significant roles in SAA. I think just being able to help recruit the potential leaders is something I am definitely looking forward to. I am looking forward to being able to share my perspective and recommend the great archivists that I know and/or have heard about.

Thank you to Brittany for participating in our interview. If you wish to be a part of SGA leadership, reach out to our nominating committee at nominating@soga.org.

Let’s Advocate!

As archivists, we know that advocating for our profession is a crucial part of our work. The Academy of Certified Archivists includes advocacy within one of the seven main domains of the archival profession. ACA explains that archivists must “develop an understanding of, and support for, the archival program among resource allocators, key constituents, potential donors, allied professionals, and other internal and external stakeholders to the archives’ parent organization” (ACA Exam Handbook 21). Advocating for our profession can take many forms – public programming, meetings with local and state politicians, donor relations, fundraising, activism, etc. For the Society of Georgia Archivists, activism kicked into high gear roughly five years ago when the future of the Georgia Archives was in danger. Now that this threat has passed, it is time to start thinking about advocacy in a long-term sense. While issue-based advocacy is important, it is also necessary to engage in a steady rhythm of advocacy so that our community understands the value of what we do.
The SGA Outreach Team has made it a point to focus on advocacy for fall 2017. We are excited to see the inroads we can make in Georgia to help inform our community of the archival profession. Here are some ideas we are considering…
        Developing an advocacy “workflow” for current and future members of the SGA Outreach Team
        Setting up meetings with our local and state politicians to discuss our purpose as archivists
        Inviting stakeholders to SGA events
        Targeting SGA social media to address issues specifically related to advocacy   
SGA Members with Governor Nathan Deal at the 2016 Georgia Archives Month Proclamation Signing

What other ideas do you have for advocacy? Let us know!!

Continued coverage of the Georgia Archives

A new story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution details the ongoing transition of the Georgia Archives.While the story discusses the ongoing efforts of the Friends of Georgia Archives to raise awareness of the situation with state legislators, it does not mention the recently announced working group that will submit to the legislature a plan of transfer for the Archives to the University System of Georgia.

Read the full story here: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/georgia-archives-supporters-remain-nervous/nTnxX/

News about the Georgia Archives

A University System of Georgia press release announces the formation of a working group to plan the proposed transfer of the Georgia Archives to the USG.

Read the release here: http://www.usg.edu/news/release/planning_begins_on_transfer_of_state_archives_to_university_system

The working groups includes two SGA members: Toby Graham of UGA and Richard Pearce-Moses of Clayton State. FOGA member Dianne Cannestra is also a member of the group. Overall a very impressive list!

Report from FOGAH Advocacy Training

As you may know, the Friends of Georgia Archives and History (FOGAH) has hired Joe Tanner & Associates, a governmental affairs firm, to advise the group on their interactions with legislators and executive officials as FOGAH continues to push for a restoration of the budget and staff of the Georgia Archives.

At the Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA) annual meeting, held November 7-9 on St. Simon’s Island, Joe Tanner & Associates held a FOGAH sponsored advocacy training. Approximately 60 SGA members and FOGAH supporters attended the training.

The purpose of the session was twofold:

  1. Communicate to attendees the language and focus of FOGAH’s current message;
  2. Teach attendees how to approach their legislators to spread the message

A major priority for FOGAH and Tanner was to create simple, clear message that will be effective. What is known right now is that the Georgia Archives will move to the University System of Georgia. This will likely require a budget item in main budget (aka, the proposed budget for 2013-2014) for the State of Georgia.

The message developed by FOGAH can be boiled down to three basic points:

  1. We support the Governor’s recommendation to move the administration of the Georgia Archives to the University System;
  2. The Secretary of State has shown his support for this recommendation;
  3. The University System and the Governor will determine the needed level of funding to restore the Georgia Archives and offer a recommendation for the State budget. We would like a minimum of 1.15 million in new money in the budget. Even though there is a minimum wanted by FOGAH, we want State legislators to support the true assessment of need from the University System.

Attendees were asked to stick to this message when approaching their legislators.

Another major initiative for FOGAH is to find supporters in each House and Senate district who are willing to speak directly to their legislators. Joe Tanner stressed that these officials (who are elected every 2 years) are most likely to be responsive to their own constituents, and that they should hear a repeating, unified message about the issue.

Tanner’s advice included:

  1. Arrange a face to face meeting with your Senator and Representative;
  2. If they will not meet, try to get them on a short call;
  3. If possible, take 1-2 other constituents with you to meet them;
  4. Tell them up front that you are their constituent contacting them about a statewide issue;
  5. Tell them that you are interested in the issue because you are a member of a specific group;
  6. Leave behind the handout created by the SGA President (these were made available to attendees, and can be sent to interested parties by contacting outreach@soga.org);
  7. If you can’t answer a question they have, tell them you will get back with them, contact FOGAH or SGA for and answer, then follow up;
  8. Follow up your call or meeting with a thank you/reminder.

Tanner & Associates encouraged members to look at letters and/or emails as a path of last resort. These are much less reliable avenues of contact when you are trying to communicate a specific message. If you must resort to one of these, make sure to personalize your letter of email. Any kind of form message should be avoided.

These contacts should start in January, after the holidays, and while the new legislative session is still slow and officials have more time to meet with constituents.

FOGAH still needs volunteers to meet their goal of one per Senate and House district. Further training sessions, including web based sessions, will be given in the future.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact the SGA Outreach Co-Managers at outreach@soga.org.

Advocacy workshop at annual meeting

Sign up now to take part in the advocacy workshop sponsored by Friends of the Georgia Archives (FOGAH) at the SGA Annual Meeting. Training will be conducted by Joe Tanner of Tanner and Associates and will cover how to contact your representative so that your voice will be heard!

The training is free and is open to both members of SGA and anyone in the SE Georgia area who wants to participate. It will be on Thursday, November 8 from 3:00 to 4:30 PM at the conference venue, Sea Palms Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Registration is required because of the limited space. Please visit http://soga.org/events?eventId=574216&EventViewMode=2&CalendarViewType=0&SelectedDate=10/30/2012 to register. 

Questions about the training? Contact Dianne Cannestra at
diannebc@bellsouth.net
Questions about registration? Contact Renna Tuten at rtuten@uga.edu

Today’s update from FOGAH and GA in the news

From FOGAH President Dianne Cannestra:

As of yesterday, five of the 10 remaining employees will still be losing their jobs October 31.  We are continuing to work through our consultant, Joe Tanner and Associates, to decrease that number.  He shares our opinion that all 10 of the employees are essential to the Archives operation.  

Unless more surprises are coming our way, it does appear that the Archives will remain in Morrow, even after the Archives operation in transferred to the University System.  Just in case, the FOGAH Board is providing rational to the consultants regarding the benefit to not physically moving the Archives from its current location.

We still need to identify volunteers around the state who will personally make contact with their state legislators after receiving training and “talking points” from our consulting firm.  If you would be willing to volunteer, please email me at diannebc@bellsouth.net with either your district number or your nine digit zip code and I will add you to the list.  The first training session will be November 8 in St. Simons Island from 4:00 pm to 5:30 so we are especially interested in volunteers from South Georgia right now.

Because the consultant contract fee was not anticipated and thus not in the FOGAH budget, you can also assist in saving the Archives by making a donation to FOGAH for the “Consultant Fee” fund.  You can send a check to FOGAH, 5800 Jonesboro Road, Morrow GA 30260 or by PayPal at www.FOGAH.org.  Please check that web site frequently for additional updates.


Links to news items after the jump:


October 21
October 20 

Update from FOGAH

From FOGAH President Dianne Cannestra:

“After reading the October 18, 2012 Press Release from Governor Deal’s office, the FOGAH Legislative Affairs Committee had a conference call with our Legislative Affairs Consultant.  It is unclear how the latest news will impact on the termination of the 7 employees.  The consultant will attempt to get more information on that question as soon as possible.  He shares our opinion that all 7 of the employees are essential to the Archives operation.  It was also not clearly stated that the Archives will remain in Morrow.  We will be working on that clarification as well.

We are all very appreciative of the Governor’s intervention and are especially excited about the move to the University System.  Please write letters to the Governor thanking him for his intervention as soon as possible.
Our fight for restoration of the budget is not over.  The $125,000 is obviously not nearly enough.  No matter where the Archives resides organizationally,  we need to convince our senators and representatives that the Archives needs $5.4 million to get back to the model Archives it once was and be open 5 days a week. 

The first task in the consultants work plan is to identify volunteers around the state who will personally make contact with their state legislators after receiving training and “talking points” from our consulting firm.  If you would be willing to volunteer, please email me at diannebc@bellsouth.net and I will add you to the list.

Because the consultant contract fee of $3,000 per month for 6 months was not anticipated and thus not in the FOGAH budget, you can also assist in saving the Archives by making a donation to FOGAH for the “Consultant Fee” fund.  You can send a check to FOGAH, 5800 Jonesboro Road, Morrow GA 30260 or by PayPal at www.FOGAH.org.  Please check that web site frequently for additional updates.”

Links to news coverage below the jump.


Vivian Price Saffold  http://georgiaarchivesmatters.org/

Statement from FOGAH on the Georgia Archives remaining open

Although the Governor’s press release raises a number of questions,
it’s fundamentally good news.  Archives is in a better place today
than it was yesterday.  With continued efforts, things may improve
further.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, FOGAH encourages EVERYONE to send an email or
letter to the Governor thanking him for his support.  Without his
efforts, we wouldn’t have this victory.

Everyone is concerned about the staff — one of the unanswered
questions.  Please remember that staffing decisions are ultimately the
Secretary of State’s, not the Governor’s.  It’s one thing to ask the
Governor to continue efforts to support the Archives and the Staff,
but please avoid language that sounds demanding.

We still have lots of work to do.  We need to make sure that the
Archives has adequate support when transferred to the Board of
Regents.  That means meeting with members of the Assembly —
preferably in their district before the beginning of session, rather
than at the Capitol.  We’re planning an advocacy training session at
the SGA meeting so that we can all work together as effectively as
possible.  Stay tuned for details.

Again, please use all available channels to say “thanks” to the Governor!

Georgia Archives link round-up

*More in the news about the Georgia Archives new appointment schedule:

Associated Press  http://www.thebrunswicknews.com/story/InState–10-16  (Last entry on 10/16/2012)
Vivian Price Saffold  http://georgiaarchivesmatters.org/
*Link list courtesy of SGA member P.S., who wonderfully posts them to the SGA list!