Call for: Reasons to the Thankful for Archives (and Archivists)

Last night via their Twitter account the Australian Society of Archivists called attention to a blog post listing “85 Reasons to be Thankful for Librarians” and asked what the archival equivalent would be. A good question, don’t you think? The libraries list included such gems as:

  • Older books still hold great cultural significance.
  • Girls with glasses can still rock the “sexy librarian”  look.
  • Colleges need something to remodel every so often.
  • With their training in instructional design, librarians can help teachers find resources for their curriculum.
  • A library is much MUCH more well cataloged and organized than the internet.
  • Even though libraries themselves may be losing attendance, their online archives and websites are still receiving plenty of visitors.
  • Not everyone can afford books, but everyone has access to the library.
  • If librarians were no longer around, kids wouldn’t understand the opening scene from Ghostbusters.
  • Libraries are where most colleges store some of their history (choir CDs, videos of athletic matches, etc.)

Ok, so the list is a mixture of the tongue-in-cheek and the serious. Could we come up with a list of 85 for archivists? (Well, really archives and archivists.) Let’s find out. I’ll start us off:

1. Archives hold the records that help your document your legal rights.
2. Archivists preserve records about your family’s history.
3. Archivists love to help you find what you’re looking for.
4. Without archives, would we still have that famous picture of Nixon and Elvis? I’m not so sure.
5. Someone has to keep Hollinger Metal Edge in business.
6. Not to mention keeping the makers of white cotton gloves rolling in dough.
7. Archivists can help you do research on your house or property.
8. Without archivists, David McCollough’s books woudn’t be nearly so long, I’m sure.
9. If a couple of hundred years from now people can actually find out where toxic and nuclear waste is buried, I think it will be because of archivists.
10. Archives help people find documentation to hold public figures and governments accountable for their actions.

Ok, there, I’ve started you out with ten. Now it’s up to you. Why should people be thankful for archivists?

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