Archives in Conversation (A Glimpse into the Minnesota Archives Symposium, 2016)

Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to AMIA due to a family commitment, and I very much missed the cohort, and a very popular conference! In a rush of guilt, I instead agreed to speak on a different panel here in the Twin Cities.

I’ve been a member of the Twin Cities Archives Round Table (TCART) for about three years. TCART has been very good to me, as I get to meet archivists from all around the state, and even western Wisconsin. At $10 a year for membership, it’s the best deal in town. At the Minnesota Archives Symposium, I spoke on the Young Professionals panel. Six archivists spoke to our experiences as up and coming professionals, most of our experiences were centered on the local metro area, though some of us had followed jobs around the country.

We spoke about establishing an archival career, from volunteering all the way up to establishing full-time employment. With positions from non-profits to academia to corporate archives, we reflected on how they got to where they are today (including hurdles they faced along the way.) We talked about how established professionals can mentor and supervise new graduates and employees to success.

Of the hurdles, most of us talked about unpaid internships as being a real barrier to those of us starting out in the profession. I only took one unpaid internship as a student, but one panelist had taken eight, while working full time. Across the panel, we tried to impress upon our local community that this is not sustainable. It’s a message I think all of us need to hear, across the entire profession.

I also spoke about my experiences with the AAPB NDSR cohort. When I mention this residency I am often met with blank looks, even by those in my profession. Part of that is geographic, I think. With the first three residencies being concentrated on the east coast, other areas of the country are often not aware that this amazing experience is available to them. I highlighted what I feel are three of the strongest aspects of the program. The first is mentorship, with a shoutout to my local mentor, Jason Roy. It’s more than that, though, mentors include everyone involved, and (of course), the peer-to-peer mentorship. Second is professional development, including writing and more public speaking than I would have been willing to do even last year. That’s huge for me, personally. And of course, the invaluable practical experiences of diving into a project for ten whole months. Those kinds of opportunities are hard to find.

I look forward to being a link between my beloved Minnesota (and the Twin Cities in particular) and the greater NDSR community. Thank you, TCART, for the opportunity!

Which brings me to the very first NDSR Symposium:

The National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) will hold a Symposium on April 27-28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. It will be free and open to the public and aims to: discuss and create standardized guidelines based on the NDSR evaluation being undertaken by the Council on Library and Information Resources; develop sustainability strategies; expand the geographic reach of NDSR; foster a digital preservation community of practice; and raise awareness of the NDSR program.

Registration will be required and space is limited. Travel grants are available to NDSR alumni and those organizations interested in organizing a future iteration.

Open call for session proposals and applications for travel grants will be accepted now through mid-January. Please visit https://ndsr-program.org/ndsr-symposium/ for more information.

This symposium is being funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and presented by The Metropolitan New York Library Council, in partnership with WGBH.

This post was written by Kate McManus, resident at Minnesota Public Radio.

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