This post was authored by guest contributor Christine George, Archivist and Faculty Services Librarian, Charles B. Sears Law Library, SUNY Buffalo Law School
Advocacy is a tricky thing. Sure there are definitions for it, but it seems like it means something slightly different to everyone. If you want proof, check out the Steering Shares on the Issue & Advocacy (I&A) Roundtable’s blog. One of the questions each I&A Steering Committee Member answers is “How would you define advocacy?” Each and every one of us has a different answer. Not drastically different, but each comes from a different perspective. Though the Steering Shares are only from the current I&A leadership, I feel fairly confident that past leadership also had varied perspectives.
One of the things to come out of those varied perspectives is the Advocacy Toolkit. Created by I&A’s 2013–2014 leadership, the Advocacy Toolkit was meant to pull together resources on advocacy for archives and archivists. In its own words:
A large part of advocacy involves convincing financial and political stakeholders of the value that archives add to a given community, and all related efforts need be supported by evidence. The resources listed, which also serve as access points to more resources, contain the types of quantitative information and qualitative narratives that help make the case for archives. This list is not exhaustive; rather it is a starting point for those looking for facts, arguments, and compelling reasoning to lend weight to their advocacy efforts. The resources linked here do not indicate endorsement, but offer some templates which can be used to formulate advocacy efforts.
The Toolkit has been updated by subsequent I&A Steering Committees. Over the years, the Advocacy Toolkit hasn’t caught on. We wanted to change that in a big way when we decided to tackle the latest update. To start, the Advocacy Toolkit got a new home. Beginning in 2016, we moved the Advocacy Toolkit and the I&A blog to our new website. Then we reached out to the Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC) to help us expand the Advocacy Toolkit.
Step 1 of this collaboration is to evaluate what we have and plan out how to move forward. To do that, we need your help. Yes you. Chances are that if you haven’t already had to advocate for yourself or your collections you will have to at some point. We’d like your feedback on what we have and what you think might be missing. Please take a few moments and review the Advocacy Toolkit and then go and take our survey available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T9XZ97Y. The survey will be open until THIS MONDAY, 5/16/16. If you have questions about the survey, or thoughts beyond the survey, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.