When it all comes together

A&SC has been working on a number of department-wide tasks lately, but two have come together in an interesting way.  Task one is to write a report on our activities over the past year and our goals for the next.  That’s due at a library meeting the first week of August.  Task two is to start preparing the required documentation and such for our upcoming archivist recruitment.  That’s due in the next week or so.  So we were talking about the various specific task-oriented goals we have and how to fit them in a broader framework of the library’s goals and strategic plan–a mission, a vision, what-have-you.  And then we were talking about drafting the job advertisement what we’d like to see in a successful candidate for our open position and how that position can fit within the department and the library, and suddenly we found ourselves talking about our vision for A&SC again.  Because, for example, formatting all the legacy finding aids into a standardized format needs some justification at a much higher level given the commitment of staff time and resources. 

So what is our vision? Well, we haven’t exactly managed to codify it in simple, easy steps, but we all agree on a few over-arching philosophies, as Mariecris would phrase it.  First is that we want to be access-oriented.  The materials held in A&SC are a research resource for a huge potential audience of researchers in all kinds of fields.  We need to make sure they can find and use the materials for which we serve as caretakers.  Second is that we want to be service-oriented.  Our researchers come to us with all levels of familiarity with archival research and need to make sure we’re providing an appropriate level of help or instruction as they go about their research.  Third is a crossover goal that encompasses the two previous but from a different perspective: we want to always keep the end user in mind.  When bringing in collections, describing collections, providing access to collections, we do it all remembering who the users of these materials will be.  

Sound simple?  The best mission statements always do.  If we can keep these three goals in mind as we craft our day-to-day plans and job descriptions and such, we’ll be in pretty good shape.  Now, back to drawing up the phone interview questions.

About aschmuland

I'm head of Archives & Special Collections at the Consortium Library. I've been with A&SC since 2002, first as reference archivist, now as head of the department.

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