Someone asked in regard to yesterday’s post what I would want to spend the money on if there were to be cost savings available from a change in how Archival Outlook is distributed. Without having given it extensive thought, my short answer is advocacy and flexibility. Advocacy is, I think, a no-brainer. Archivists need jobs, and those of you with jobs need more resources to support your mission. SAA needs to be able to devote more time and resources to advocacy.
Here’s what I mean by “flexibility.” As I said in yesterday’s post, my sense is that the current budget has so little slack in it that SAA feels it can’t take risks that might result in decreased income in any of the key income categories. Let me discuss a specific example. I’m concerned that the Annual Meeting Task Force will be too influenced by the need not to disturb the revenue SAA gets from the annual meeting and so will be too timid in their recommendations. And if they do propose changes that are risky, I’m concerned SAA Council will decide not to implement them because there will be a sense that we can’t afford to run that risk. So when I talk about wanting to use a theoretical budget surplus to support flexibility, I mean it will allow the organization to try new things without worry that they will drive the budget into the red. It will allow the organization to invest in new ideas and to fund new initiatives.
Now that might sound a lot like the kinds of “schemes” that a commenter on the previous post was worried about. But I don’t mind being called a schemer.
Now, it’s your turn. In January, SAA Council will begin the process of developing new Strategic Priorities for SAA. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the current Strategic Priorities document (what, you’re not? it’s here). The big three priorities in the current document are Technology, Diversity and Advocacy/Public Awareness. Those are good priorities, but maybe you have others you want to suggest? Do you have specific “Desired Outcomes” that you’d like to see? It’s my last year on Council. Are there specific changes that you’d like to see me try to pursue before I ride off into the sunset? I’m throwing it open. What do you want?
I should also say that the indefatigable and delightful Terry Baxter and I will have the pleasure of reading through and analyzing for Council’s edification all the comments that SAA members left in the two final open questions on the SAA Member Survey. (Although I think we will be throwing out the responses of people who said “no” when asked if they had anything else they wanted to say.) Terry and I have both done a quick skim through and there are a lot of great observations there. We’re looking forward to hearing what you had to say in those comments, and again, if you’ve got anything you want to share here about SAA’s strategic priorities or anything else that needs to be done, let me know.