Archives Month in the MARAC region

2011

Celebrating Advocacy for Archives

American Archives Month is intended to raise public awareness about the importance of historic documents and records. To celebrate Archives Month in the MARAC region, the Steering Committee designated the month of October for activities to raise awareness and to publicize the importance of archives. Although member states and institutions may promote their own themes, MARAC encourages all members and member institutions in 2011 to consider the role of archives in relation to advocacy.

We normally think of advocacy in the context of influencing policy, but advocacy has a more expansive and generous role in the world of archives. The archival profession is dedicated to ensuring the preservation and access to records by developing the tools to help people get connected to information, to find correct answers to questions, and to discover the past. In reality, archivists can be, and often are, advocates for fair and equitable access to data that are useful not only to decision-makers at every level but also to ordinary citizens.

In quietly assuming the role of advocacy, archivists uphold standards of utility – that documents and information held in both public and private repositories have a general usefulness that is protected by techniques of careful preservation. Specifically, archivists work to increase the visibility of historical records, to save records from destruction, and to prevent the closure of repositories with documents that have common and public value. In essence, as advocates for records and historical data, archivists preserve the future of history.

To promote access to information by nurturing archives and serving the public, archivists reinforce our inter-connectedness and common heritage. In doing so, archivists protect principles of democracy and freedom of information. Locally, archivists may rally a community to action when records are threatened by disasters, inspire supporters to help maintain records repositories and their funding, and facilitate the work of policy- makers with information that is important to public welfare. Archival advocates support, defend and preserve history. MARAC encourages you to consider the ways the archival profession and the role of advocacy shares common ground in order to promote the world of archives for Archives Month.

April 27, 2011 / David Rose / Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC)