Public Programming for Archives

I thought I would change up the content on my website by introducing my readers to some of my ideas.  Ever since my experience with Teaching American History, I have developed an interest in public programming.  For me, I see archives as the natural extension of history.  And, history is ripe with interesting things.

I often ask myself, as an archivist, what more could I be doing to engage users of archives?  For some time, archives, libraries, and museums have embraced social media and other web 2.0 tools.  I believe these are valuable resources for information professionals to connect with the 21st century and the 21st century user.  But sometimes, I still ask, what more could we be doing?

That is why, my dear readers, I am introducing you to my new series “Public Programming for Archives.”  For several months, I have developed ideas to engage with the public and increase visibility within the local community.  I often feel as if I’m bursting with ideas but no means to share them…until now.

Why wait for the perfect job to put these ideas into motion?

Instead I want to put these ideas out there and obtain feedback from my colleagues in the field.  From time to time, I will post ideas for public programming.  Some may be fully developed ideas down to the most minute detail whereas others may not be.

I strive to be the outreach & education archivist.  Libraries have these positions.  Why not archives?  I often encounter people who are thoroughly surprised that I’m an archivist.  Because to them, archivists are like the stereotypical bookwarm librarian except even more shy and standoffish.  Not so! I’ve encountered outgoing, personable archivists.  But I find the biggest disconnect to be the public’s understanding of what we do and why we do it.

It’s not enough to preserve documents, maps, photographs, and ephemera.  We need to show the public what we do.  Expose them to all of the wonders that we have in the stacks.

Preserving documents is only half of the job, it’s my intention to make these things accessible and build meaningful, positive relationships with the public.

Whether you’re an archivist, librarian, or some person that stumbled upon this website, let me know what you think about Public Programming in Archives and my ideas.




About Ashley S

I'm an archivist!
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