Interview with SAA Vice-President/President-Elect Courtney Chartier

Earlier this year, Georgia’s own Courtney Chartier, Head of Research Services at the Rose Library at Emory University, was elected Vice-President/President-Elect of the Society of Georgia Archivists. She will takeover as the 76th SAA President in 2021-2022.

SGA Communications reached out to Courtney to ask her about her goals as SAA President and how her earlier experiences with SGA helped prepare her for the role.

What motivated you to accept the nomination to run for VP/President-elect of SAA?

It felt like a natural progression. Over the years I’ve held a lot of positions in our volunteer organizations. I was on the SGA Board for years before serving as President; I worked a lot of SAA groups before serving as a Council member (I was also on the Board of Regents of ACA for, before an unsuccessful run for President).

I first got involved with SAA as a student; I was Vice-President of our student chapter at the iSchool at the University of Texas. The whole Board worked together really closely and carpooled to attend the annual meeting in New Orleans. We slept about 5 to a room and went to every event with free food. It was so much fun and I met so many “fancy” archivists (people
well-known in the field) and it really impressed me that at SAA a student could walk right up to the editor of American Archivist or a scholar whose works I read in class and start a conversation. It made me want to get more involved and cultivate that same accessibility for others throughout my career.

There are two people who really encouraged me to get involved and stay involved throughout my career: David Gracy and Brenda Banks. David was my professor in graduate school and Brenda was my first boss in Atlanta. It’s not a coincidence that they were both SGA Presidents and SAA Presidents. I explicitly wanted to follow in their footsteps.

What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as SAA President?

I did not run with a specific platform, mainly because there are too many important issues in the profession. What became clear to me from my years on Council (it’s a three-year term) is that SAA is not maximizing its potential, and that’s what I want to confront. Going on to Council, I knew I’d be in a position to make change (and I was involved in some work that I am really proud of), but I was surprised at how remote I felt. Very few members take advantage of the open-door policy to contact their Councilors or the President; very few people vote in elections or comment on new standards and other documents. Conversations may happen on social
media, but there would be a certain faction in power that thinks those are not “real” conversations.

This is all to say that it was hard to understand what is truly valuable to members. But that should be a priority for Council and the President: to actively keep the pulse and respond to it. I 100% see that as a social justice issue for the organization. Are we not hearing because we aren’t taking all voices seriously, or not seeking them out? The conversations on social media are serious ones, about race, about gender, about fair labor and bad, abusive management, and those topics need to be surfaced and engaged by SAA in a serious way.

How did your experiences with SGA prepare you to take on this national leadership role?

Being on the SGA Board prepared me for SAA tremendously! It’s so essential to understand how Committees work (or don’t work), and what governance really is. Some of it is incredibly dull and process oriented, but you learn how important it is.

Another major lesson that I learned is how to read a budget. The SGA budget is a bit smaller than SAA’s, and the training was essential. I was lucky enough to be on the Board with a very strong Treasurer (Michael Nagy, from the Salvation Army Archives), and I learned so much from
him and realize the value of a member who has strong budgeting and financial skills.

What advice do you have for SGA members who might be interested in taking on leadership roles in professional organizations locally, regionally, or nationally?

One piece of advice is to look at all the different groups in the organization and find something that you are really interested in to get started. That way as you are leaning how the organization works, you are doing it while being engaged with your own passion. SAA has over 50 specialized sections now, as well as Committees and Task Forces. Most sections can’t find candidates to run very year for their leadership, so there are lots of opportunities to get

A good way to get started is to find someone you know who is already involved (or has been) and pick their brain. Find out what are the issues people/groups are already working on and how groups work. Consider how you want to contribute and ask about how that fits in to the organization. If you don’t know anyone, then I am a big fan of cold calling. Anyone in SGA is
always free to email me (anyone in any organization is free to email me, but I won’t pretend like Georgians and Longhorns don’t get special treatment!).

Most importantly: your opinion is valid. Sharing your thoughts is the best way to show your interest, meet others who are working on the same issues, and lead you to get involved with making changes. Speak up when you don’t like something, but also, and I can’t stress this enough, speak up when you do like something. Folx are always more inclined to complain than compliment, and while complaints are important for growth and change, these organizations also need to know when they are on the right track and serving members well.

About Courtney Chartier:

Courtney Chartier is the Head of Research Services at the Rose Library at Emory University. Prior to her position at Emory, Courtney worked at the Archives Research Center of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library. Courtney was the 2014 President of the Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA), and is currently the 2020-2022 Vice-President/President-Elect for the Society of American Archivists Council, an Instructor in Archives at Georgia State University, and co-founder of the Atlanta Black Archives Alliance. She has served as Scholarship Chair
and Outreach Manager for SGA, Regent for Outreach for the Academy of Certified Archivists (2012-2014), and as a Council member (2016-2019), and the Chair of the Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable (2010-2012) of SAA. Courtney attended the University of Texas (BA, American Studies; MS, Information Studies) and the University of Mississippi (MA, Southern Studies).


Attending the SAA Annual Meeting in Chicago this month? Meet up with other current, new and prospective SGA members on Thursday, August 25.

SGA Office Hours are 6:30-7-30 p.m. at the SAA Exhibit Hall. Stop by the SGA Booth and say “Hello!” We will be promoting our Annual Meeting (November 3-4, 2011), encouraging contributions to Provenance and handing out our fabulous SGA mechanical pencils!

SGA Mixer is at 8:30-9:30 p.m. at the Sweetwater Tavern and Grille. The Sweetwater is a comfortable, fun bar just a short walk from the conference hotel. Come buy your beverage of choice and have a good time catching up with other Georgia archivists and friends.

DIRECTIONS FROM THE CONFERENCE HOTEL: Exit the Hyatt Regency using the E. Wacker Dr. entrance. Turn left out of the hotel and walk 1 block. Turn left onto N. Michigan Ave. and walk 1 block. Cross S. Water St. The Sweetwater will be on your left at 225 N. Michigan Ave.

See you Chicago!
Marie Force
Chair, SGA Membership Committee

Edward Weldon Scholarship

Are you planning to attend the SAA Annual Conference in Chicago, August 22-27? Consider SGA’s Edward Weldon Scholarship, which includes the cost of registration. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2011.
This scholarship covers the early bird registration fee for the annual meeting of SAA for one SGA member.  All SGA members (as of February 1, 2011) and Georgia residents are eligible. Preference will be given to applicants who do not have access to institutional support.
The scholarship recipient is responsible for registering prior to the early-bird deadline. After the SAA meeting, the recipient will be asked to write a short article about the experience for the SGA Newsletter.
The Edward Weldon Scholarship was established in 2000 in honor of Ed Weldon, the first Georgian to serve as president of SAA and a founding member and first president of SGA.  Weldon worked to preserve and provide access to Georgia’s historical records. During his almost twenty years at the Georgia Department of Archives and History, Weldon was a driving force behind the creation of the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board, which provides funding for valuable projects.

SAA: Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award

Please excuse cross-postings!

Society of American Archivists – Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award

The Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award Subcommittee of the Society of American Archivists seeks nominations for the 2011 award.

This award recognizes an archivist, editor, group of individuals, or institution that has increased public awareness of a specific body of documents through compilation, transcription, exhibition, or public presentation of archives or manuscript materials for educational, instructional, or other public purpose. Archives may include photographs, films, and visual archives. Publication may be in hard copy, microfilm, digital, or other circulating medium.

Recent winners include:

2010 The Giza Archives Project at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
2009 Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections of the University of Toledo’s “From Institution to Independence”
2008 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the CBC Digital Archives (Les Archives de Radio-Canada)
2007 National Library of Medicine’s “Profiles in Science”

Individual archivists and editors, groups of individuals, organizations.

Application Deadline:
All nominations shall be submitted to the Awards Committee by February 28.

For more information on SAA awards and the nominations process, please go to

SGA Members in SAA Elections

The following SGA members are running for leadership positions in SAA. Please consider showing your support for our colleagues.

Laurel Bowen, University Archivist, Georgia State University is running for Steering Committee of SAA’s Privacy & Confidentiality Roundtable

Courtney Chartier, Assistant Head, Archives Research Center, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library is running for Steering Committee of the Issues & Advocacy Roundtable

Laura Starratt, Circulation Clerk, Athens Public Library is running for Steering Committee of the Issues & Advocacy Roundtable
Elizabeth Russey Roke, Manuscript Archivist, Emory University Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is running for Chair of Manuscript Repositories Section
Renna Tuten, Archivist, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia is running for a spot on the Steering Committee of the Manuscripts Section


SAA Elections Are Here!

If you are a member of the Society of American Archivists, don’t forget to vote in the current SAA Elections! Voting is open now until April 11, 2010. Vote here.

Did you know that a SGA member is up for election? Kaye Lanning Minchew of the Troup County Archives (LaGrange, GA) is a candidate for Council. Learn about her and her plans for SAA here. You can find out what Kaye and her crew are up to at the Troup County Archives webpage.