Present: Debra Bloom, Jim Cross, Dorothy Hazelrigg, Susan Hoffius, Laura Jowdy, Georgette Mayo, Kate Moore, Heather South, Elizabeth West
President Debra Bloom called the meeting to order at 10:06 a.m.
Presentation by Roy Tryon, State Archivist and Records Administrator
Roy Tryon addressed the Board on the subject of the State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) and its five-year plan for the state's historical records. This five-year plan, which covers 2007-2012, focuses on a number of key issues, including gaps in the documentary record, education, disaster preparedness, digital preservation and access, and advocacy and public relations through events such as Archives Month. SHRAB's role is to help identify issues for the archival community to work on together. SHRAB also handles regrants within the state of funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission; the process of awarding those regrants is underway now. More NHPRC grant money will hopefully be available next year. In addition, there is the potential for even more grant money through the proposed Preservation of the American Historical Record program. Roy urged SCAA to support this program, which has not yet been passed by Congress, by sending a letter of support to Connelly Edwards, the president of the Council of State Archivists. He will provide us with a draft letter. SHRAB also sponsors training sessions on archival basics throughout the state, which have proved very popular. Many of those attending these sessions are not involved in SCAA. Roy and Heather can provide SCAA with contact information to try to recruit new members from this audience, including those who work with patriotic societies, churches, genealogical groups, lone arrangers, etc. Holding events in different locations around the state helps draw those who might not be able to travel to Columbia on a frequent basis. SCAA may want to consider applying for a regrant from SHRAB to help subsidize a big-name speaker or conference(s) in different locales. There was discussion about the numerous competing archives-related associations and educational groups within the state, and of the lack of coordination of information. SHRAB has an online archivists' calendar that could possibly be utilized to help spread information about SCAA programs.
Approval of Minutes
There were no corrections to the minutes. Debra moved that they be approved and Susan seconded. The motion passed.
A. Treasurer: Jim reported that this year will be the first year that SCAA has to file with the IRS, although we have nothing to declare. The year was profitable, but this is partly due to the fact that a membership directory was not produced this year and there was only one issue of the newsletter. At the moment, we have only 23 paid members, although more will probably re-join at the time of the spring conference. This reinforces the idea that member-specific dues notifications are needed. Jim also mentioned that we made a small amount of money on the conferences, but we are in danger of only breaking even or losing money because our membership is declining, expenses are growing, and state government/budget cuts are likely. Since some members' dues are paid by their employers, this could have a direct impact on us. The summer social was also not a big money-maker. The social profits go to the scholarship endowment, but since no scholarship has ever been awarded, perhaps the incentive to support the endowment is weak. Jim discussed the proposed budget for 2008, which is slightly scaled back based on the actual numbers from recent years. There is currently $7,357.03 in the bank account. The reports on the CDs have not arrived yet. Susan moved that the budget be approved. The motion passed.
B. Membership Officer: Kate had not yet arrived at the meeting, so membership issues were discussed generally among the Board. The problem of compiling and keeping up-to-date the membership rosters was discussed at length. Most issues about lack of interest in programs, etc., can be traced in part to poor communication from us due to outdated contact lists. In order for SCAA to operate, the dwindling membership must be addressed as the key to all other activities. Dorothy asked what the motivation was for anyone to join or renew on a timely basis, since the only readily apparent membership benefit is the reduced registration fees at conferences, which are offset by the cost of joining. Potential members can and do wait until conference programs and dates are announced, and then decide if they want to attend and join SCAA if so. Everyone agreed that we need to do a better job of communicating the resources we offer and the benefits of being involved in SCAA. Networking opportunities are good, but may be of less value to those working in small archives. One has to be a member to apply for money from the Hart endowment, but none has ever been applied for or awarded. It was suggested that we send information not only to individual members, but to institutions, so that any new staff or interested outsiders are reached. Susan suggested that membership should be an automatic, included part of registering for the fall conference, i.e., there could be one uniform cost for registering that includes membership for the following year. For anyone who has been a member and does not attend the fall conference, we could send a mailing reminding them to renew. It was pointed out that the bylaws say that the Membership Officer is able to put together a membership committee to help with his work.
C.Directors: Debra said that although the directors have responsibility for the conferences, everyone on the Board usually helps put them together. The 2007 conferences were discussed. The spring hands-on scanning workshop was a success, although workshop activities are harder to plan. Most on the Board and most members seem to like the idea that the spring event should be a workshop and the fall event a conference. Also, the fall conference with no concurrent sessions was popular according to the evaluations.
D.Past President: Elizabeth said that her role consisted of serving as chair of the Nominating Committee and chair of the Procedures Manual committee. She will contact former Past President Suzanne Singleton for the electronic version of the manual.
E. Vice President: Susan will serve as chair of the Awards Committee. The awards program was discussed, since there has been difficulty in getting nominations. This should be somewhat rectified if membership numbers and interest can be improved. The vice president also has the duty of planning the social.
F.Newsletter Editor: Problems with the newsletter, namely lack of contributions, are tied to the membership problems. Susan suggested making the latest issue of the newsletter password-protected on the website, so that it is exclusively available for members. She also suggested abstracting the minutes of the Charleston Archives, Libraries, and Museums Council (CALM) for the newsletter. She will contact the group to see if this is possible. Debra said that the newsletter should come out ahead of the two conferences, to generate interest. In the past, the newsletter had come out after each conference.
The meeting adjourned for lunch.
Kate said that Geoff LoCicero has backed out of the job of creating a new SCAA logo and website. Laura suggested that one of the Mass Communications classes at USC could be asked to work on this as a class project, as they often do this kind of thing. She used to work there, so she will contact them to see if anyone is interested. It could be faster and produce more ideas than using a single free-lancer.
Since Kate had arrived, the issue of membership was addressed again. Kate said that at the last conference, she had taken up forms from attendees with updated contact information. She plans to consolidate all the various databases and lists she can find, with updates, but she does not know yet what records former membership officer Henry Fulmer kept. She wants to be sure to have cover letters to go with membership brochures that will be tailored to renewing members. This would let members know that their specific memberships are expiring. Previously, they might not have realized that the brochure they received pertained to their individual status. Brochures without cover letters or with a different cover letter can be sent to people who have never been members or are not familiar with SCAA. There could also be different versions of the brochure printed up that would appeal to different new constituencies. For example, a brochure meant to appeal to students could stress the endowment awards for travel, etc. Elizabeth suggested that SCAA could set up a poster session at various other groups' meetings, such as SCLA, SHRAB, ALA, etc. The current registration system for conferences was discussed. Since Jim receives the checks, it is necessary that he forward all the names and contact info of payees to the membership officer. He said that he had consistently done this in the past and it is not a problem to continue to do so. In conjunction with Jim, Kate will put together an up-to-date mail and e-mail list of members, plus a list of former members to be re-solicited. Debra took a copy of the 2003 membership directory to find people who were members then that have not been members in the last couple of years. These individuals will be contacted. Debra said she hoped to select the dates and themes for both 2008 conferences today. Heather reminded everyone that the fall meeting would be during Archives Month, and that a session about how to handle planning and publicity for Archives Month could be expanded into a general session on publicity. People could be asked to talk about last year's Archives Month events or events in other states. Georgette said she had been asked to speak to schools before, and the session could include tips on how to talk to the general public. It was suggested that a public relations expert could address the session. Another idea for a session centered around “Library 2.0” publicity (Facebook, etc.) There could also be a workshop-style “write your own press release” session, and the releases could be critiqued. If these three ideas were grouped together, the overall theme could be “Advocacy” or something similar. Debra mentioned contacting a professor or graduate student to speak on PR. Heather said that the fall conference, during Archives Month, might be a good time to bring in a big-name speaker. She will talk to Roy about who might be good candidates. The tentative dates for the spring and fall conferences are April 8 or 9 and October 7 or 8.
Date For Next Meeting
The next meeting will be Feb. 20 at 10:00 a.m. at the State Archives.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.