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Archivists of the Houston Area Statement on Texas Legislature HB 1962

The following letter was sent out today to Senators Creighton, Alvarado, Bettencourt, Taylor, Miles, Whitmire, Huffman, and Kolkhorst in response to the HB 1962:

Dear Senator _________,

The Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) is a professional organization of archivists and those with an interest in archives made up of about 150 members across the Houston area.  The organization exists to increase contact and communication between archivists and those working with records, to provide opportunities for professional development, and to promote archival repositories and activities in the greater Houston, Texas area.

The Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) object to Section 441.206 of Committee Substitute to HB 1962 (The Texas State Library and Archives Commission “Sunset Bill”) which changes the ownership of records housed within the TSLAC repository, as well as Regional Historical Resource Depositories (RHRD) across the state.

Professional archival practice is that an archive will have ownership over the records they house.  Section 441.206, as currently written, will abandon professional standards and leave ownership with the various legislative bodies that transfer the records, rather than the archives.  This would make TSLAC and other regional archival facilities into record storage locations rather than institutions preserving and providing access to the history of Texas, including the legislative process. 

Allowing the transferring entities to remove records at their discretion is an even greater risk.  Due to the length and complications of the legislative process, records may never be returned to TSLAC et al.  With no provisions made for their safety and security, these records could be mistakenly or intentionally destroyed without proper or legal authorization.  As archival materials are often unique and irreplaceable items, losing them would create significant gaps of the in the historical record, leaving Texans and researchers with an incomplete account of the state’s history.  If TSLAC et al. do not receive legal title to the records transferred, their ability to process, provide public access, and invest resources into the stewardship of the Texas legislature’s historical record will be irreparably compromised.  Their focus, understandably, would be with records that are under their permanent protection. 

Being asked to fulfill public information requests on records that they do not control is an undue burden on TSLAC and regional repository staff members.  Additionally, regional repositories do not receive state funding and would be under strain to send in records when requested.  This could end up costing the state more money as the colleges, universities, and public libraries that serve as regional repositories may decide the cost of participation is higher than the benefits. This would leave TSLAC to house the records and fulfill requests left in the wake of these previously dedicated partners.

The Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) requests the removal of Sec 441.206 from HB 1962 to ensure the preservation of archival records of historical and cultural significance to the State of Texas.

Sincerely,

Board Members of the Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) on behalf of the group membership.

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Texas Legislature House Bill 1962


Please see the below SAA announcement in  opposition to Section 441.206, Committee Substitute to House Bill 1962 (The Texas State Library and Archives Commission “Sunset Bill”).

Former AHA! President Emily Vinson notes, “it is very important that records be maintained by the Texas State Library and Archives in perpetuity to ensure access to the state’s legislative history. In addition to the alert below, here is a link to a statement by the Council of State Archivists.

https://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/CoSA_Statement_on_Texas_Archival_Legislative_Records.pdf and the Society of Southwest Archivists: https://www.southwestarchivists.org/ssa-objection-to-a-section-of-hb-1962-in-relation-to-texas-state-records/.”

We encourage you to find your Texas Senate and House representative here and contact them today! For information on monitoring the bill’s status see this page.

SAA Update: Advocating for Archivist Pay

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Meredith Evans | Leave a comment

The Society of American Archivists is committed to advocacy on behalf of our members. In our Strategic Plan, the goal of “Enhancing Professional Growth” is focused on archivists having access to the professional community and resources they need to be successful and effective in their careers. Fair wages and equitable salaries are part of this work and we want to share the results of our ongoing discussions and future activities of SAA in support of this issue.

  • Professional support at the Annual Meeting
    • Salary Forum: hear a panel of experts participate in an open discussion about salaries in the archival profession and explore potential solutions, including those that place responsibility on institutions and administrations.
    • Onsite Career Center: from mock interviews to tips on salary negotiation, seek out mentors who can help you navigate the job market and your professional growth.
  • Mentoring Program
    • Meet and connect with a mentor who will listen and provide guidance on negotiating and advocating for better pay.
  • Job Postings in the SAA Online Career Center
    • We strongly recommend salary information be included in all job ad postings.
    • “Research Salaries” button on all job ads can help with regional salary range information, even if a job does not include a salary range.
  • A*CENSUS II
    • An updated data set will illustrate salary ranges per state and by region, helping archivists stay abreast of current salaries across the U.S.

For those attending the 2019 Annual Meeting, join the SAA Council on Sunday, August 4, 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm, in Austin for an Open Forum on Archivist Salaries. This forum will serve as a space for members to discuss the initiatives listed above as well as brainstorm additional ways that SAA can continue to advocate for archivist salaries. Mark your online schedule!

2019 AHA! Happy Hour Schedule

Below are the dates, times, and locations for all the AHA! Happy Hour for the year (and then some). Please join us every 3rd Tuesday* when you can!

Public House
Time: 6pm
Address: 2802 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007
Dates*: April 16, May 21

Rudyard’s
Time: 6pm
Address: 2010 Waugh Dr, Houston, TX 77006
Dates*: June 18, July 16

East End Hardware
Time: 6pm
Address: 3005 Leeland St, Houston, TX 77003
Dates*: August 20, September 17

Java Lava Brew
Time: 6pm
Address: 1201 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX 77004
Dates*: October 15, November 19

Kelvin Highlander
Time: 6pm
Address: 2424 Dunstan Rd, Houston, TX 77005
Dates*: December 17, January 21

Bohemeos
Time: 6pm
Address: 708 Telephone Rd, Houston, TX 77023
Dates*: February 18, March 17

* Dates could change due to conflicts or popular demand. If locations or dates change, an announcement will be made on the website, email list, and social media.

First AHA! Meeting of 2019!

Our first meeting of the year will be Thursday, April 11 at 6:00 PM at the Woodson Research Center, located in Fondren Library on the campus of Rice University. Dr. Joshua Furman will speak to us about the Houston Jewish History Archive.

Founded in 2017 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Jewish History Archive is dedicated to the study and preservation of Jewish life in South Texas. By collecting artifacts from all facets of Jewish life, the HJHA sheds light on how Jews in and around Houston have balanced maintaining their traditions and heritage with adapting to life in Texas and the United States.

Prior to Dr. Furman’s discussion, we will have a short business meeting including an update on the upcoming Houston Archives Bazaar. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Lilly Carrel at lcarrel@menil.org.

Logistics:

The closest parking to Fondren Library is the Rice Central Garage.  Please see the Rice University interactive campus map for more information: https://parking.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=32

Questions please contact: Emily Scott at Emily.Scott@houstontx.gov

We hope you will join us for our 2019 inaugural meeting!

SSA Education Coming Near You!

Do you steward digital archives and electronic manuscripts through the digital curation life cycle?

SAA is offering the following DAS course at Rice University in the Fondren Library:

Tool Integration: From Pre-SIP to DIP #1962
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Friday, May 3, 2019
Collaboration Space, Fondren Library
Rice University

Instructor: Max Eckard

REGISTER NOW!
Early-Bird Deadline: April 3, 2019

Description:
The digital curation “ecosystem” is large and complex. Made up of tools that perform small, discrete tasks, to those that cover particular format groups or functional areas of models (such as OAIS), and even those that claim to be more or less comprehensive, this ecosystem is in a constant state of flux. In this course, you’ll explore options for suites of tools that can work together to steward digital archives and electronic manuscripts through the digital curation life cycle. 

Who should attend? Archivists, records managers, special collections curators ,and other practitioners or managers responsible for stewarding digital archives and electronic manuscripts through the digital curation life cycle

Additional information on the course can be found here.

Information on visiting Rice, including campus maps, can be found here.

Job Posting: Public Service & Instruction Librarian, Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Public Service and Instruction Librarian

Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is the largest cultural institution in the southwest and ranks nationally among the top 10 art museums in exhibition space, memberships, endowments, and attendance. The Museum is a multifaceted institution comprising two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, two art schools, and two house museums for decorative arts. Resources that can be found throughout the institution include a repertory cinema, two significant research libraries, public archives, two digital archive initiatives, and a conservation and storage facility. The encyclopedic collection numbers nearly 70,000 works of art.

Hirsch Library

The Hirsch Library is the largest library dedicated to the visual arts in the south central United States. Since the late 1920s, the Library has maintained a strong commitment to serving the Houston arts community, opening its doors to more than 5,000 patrons annually. Our collection of more than 175,000 volumes reflects the encyclopedic nature of the Museum’s holdings with particular strength in the areas of Modern and contemporary art, photography, decorative arts and design, European painting, prints and drawings, Latin American art, and American art.

Position

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Hirsch Library seeks a creative, committed, and passionate information professional to oversee our reference, research, instruction, and interlibrary loan initiatives.

This position reports to the Chief of the Library and Archives.

Responsibilities

The primary role of the Public Service and Instruction Librarian is to oversee the reference and research services to Museum staff and external researchers. This individual is also responsible for directing the Library’s instruction program. Additionally, this position manages the Library’s interlibrary lending service, liaising with libraries and scholars to provide access to the Hirsch Library’s extensive collection of resources. The role requires a strong commitment to public service coupled with a vision for using emerging technologies, as well as a high degree of knowledge pertaining to print and electronic resources in art history and the humanities.

Primary duties:

  • In conjunction with the Chief of the Library and Archives, determines and executes public service policies and priorities; develops strategies for the provision of services
  • Oversees the Library’s interlibrary lending service and trains staff members on interlibrary services procedures
  • Supervises the Library Assistant for Reference position
  • Trains and schedules the information services staff
  • Develops classes, workshops, and training materials for Museum staff, docents, and volunteers on library research methods
  • Collaborates with staff in the Learning & Interpretation department to ensure that all docents receive regular library instruction
  • Trains fellow team members on class content creation, instruction, and public speaking
  • Provides reference service at the information services desk on a regularly scheduled basis
  • Provides research services to museum staff on demand outside of regularly scheduled periods
  • Reports regularly to the Library Committee at committee meetings
  • Assists with other projects as necessary

Skills, Knowledge and Abilities

  • Broad knowledge of scholarly resources in art history and the humanities including print and online reference resources
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to provide high quality reference services and to make presentations to a broad range of researchers from novice to advanced
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to establish positive and productive collaborations with library colleagues and Museum staff required
  • Ability to plan, manage and oversee multiple projects, meet deadlines and prioritize work in alignment with the strategic goals of the library required
  • Ability to adapt to changing organizational priorities and to ever-changing technological environments required
  • Strong sense of the future directions of research libraries and able to articulate this in meaningful ways to colleagues, Museum staff, and outside researchers
  • Knowledge of current trends and best practices in research/reference services required
  • Knowledge of digital projects in art history and the humanities and their relevance for the library researchers
  • Familiarity with new and emerging models of scholarly communication preferred
  • Knowledge of one foreign language: Spanish, French, German, or Italian preferred
  • Ability to carry heavy books and climb ladders

Education and Experience

  • ALA-accredited master’s degree in library or information sciences required; M.A. in Art History or significant experience working in the humanities preferred
  • Minimum of three years of instruction and reference experience in research or academic library required
  • Experience or capacity for developing creative and entrepreneurial approaches to promoting and delivering reference, instruction and outreach services
  • Some supervisory experience preferred
  • Experience working with interlibrary loan software; WorldShare Interlibrary Loan service preferred
  • Experience working with an integrated library system; WorldShare Management Services preferred

How to Apply: 

Send resume and cover letter to Human Resources, Job 19-152LIB, email: jobs@mfah.org or visit our website https://www.mfah.org/about/careers/

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.