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Special Interest Group Archive: Archives SIG 06/19/2019

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

June 19th meeting

The archives SIG was held on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. It was facilitated by Debbie Klein of Bard College.

Notes from the meeting

Possible topic for another time: cultural appropriation, students are aware of this and sensitive to this, as an example at Bard College.

Madame Brett house just did an updated website and Facebook page for their site. A lot of organizations use it when they don’t have any funds.

What is your message? The best thing to keep in mind when you’re posting.

Blodgett, Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck are the only libraries in Dutchess County that have local history room.

Sometimes you have to be a gossip to know what’s going on in your organization. All staff meetings don’t always work, because there are too many announcements, but the little things get lost. Interdepartmental meetings might help get the communication go.

Bard just had a retreat with a facilitator to help the communication flow. Even just telling people what you do is very helpful.

Cross-training at the desk at New Paltz has helped with some of the silo issues at their library. It helps when people need to fill in, or at least people can give a thoughtful answer.

Do you keep track of all the requests? One person keeps a log book of requests, including drop-ins, calls, and questions. Another person uses Google Forms for local history questions, some of which are required, some are not, which automatically transfers things to a spreadsheet.

Another person uses a spreadsheet with different tabs to keep track of the kinds of questions they’re getting.

Keeping emails in Gmail lets you be able to keyword search after the fact if emails are archived.

Another uses a spiral notebook because having the visual to remind helps to keep track of projects. It also helps if other groups come in and use the space so things stay where they were. One problem is if you get a call on your cell phone and you’re not with the notebook to log the call.

For getting grants, you need to account for where your time goes, and numbers are helpful for when you talk about what you do. You can also see if your time is going where you need it to go. One way to help: Schedule regular tasks at regular times.


Microfilm can be connected remotely, the technology exists to research it off-site.

Local papers, how to save them. Do you do backups of papers? Keeping up with technology? DHPSNY has a webinar on newspapers. Southeastern runs the newspaper site for digitization and access.

Marketing – Instagram is a good way to visually promote collection items. Facebook, a local history column in the paper, using HRVH, word of mouth, participating in local art shows…

LinkedIn is another way to find people, but you can’t always get information unless you’ve connected with the people.

How do you create presentations if you need to do them frequently? It’s helpful to invite members of the community or authors or others. You can also repurpose presentations to use at other organizations.

Somers collaborated with an alumni group, and that led to their best attended events.

Next Meeting

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 7. The discussion topic will be working with interns, volunteers, and students.

Somers gift

Somers just recently got a gift from a local artist and retired engineer who had Hudson Valley art and other various souvenirs. He was a documentarian; his wife was a librarian who had all the paperwork for their DAR membership and historical information about their ancestors. There were a ton of photographs that were all labeled, as well as items that they couldn’t get rid of.

This collection had a dresser filled with composition notebooks. The diaries were a complete listing of every aspect of the day: weather, tickets, and a log of every work of art he ever did. But it also contained personal information.

They were very careful not to pick apart the collection until they had inventoried it and issued a deed of gift.

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065