The SAA Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) is excited to be joining this year’s purveyors of hot topics and cool demonstrations at the Reference, Access, and Outreach (RAO) Section Marketplace of Ideas at the 2016 Annual Meeting. In the spirit of trying new avenues for outreach, we are not only encouraging attendees to live tweet with #ArchivesAWARE, but are also experimenting in LIVE BLOGGING–RIGHT NOW.
We are asking groups of Marketplace shoppers some outreach-related questions to get discussions going, and below are some of the responses we are getting LIVE:
1. What was the best new outreach initiative you’ve tried? If not new, what is your go-to for archival outreach?
- Campus-wide open house at MIT. Cartoon of a character crossing the bridge from Boston to Cambridge, blew it up for people to take pictures with. Used a fake plastic torch for people to hold. Inexpensive, fun thing to do. Photos were tweeted out. Big success with families.
- Book talk at University of Hawaii. Air conditioner went down. Made fans out of reproductions of pictures of an individual in the archives.
- University of Wyoming. Faculty members – matched research interests with collections. Invited them to a limited open house. Had materials. Great way to connect materials and faculty members. Had event in the early evening. Did research on faculty beforehand.
- Southern Illinois University. Working with incoming graduate students. Break up into groups and tell them about sources before they decide on theses and dissertation. Offer pizza and beer.
- University of Alaska, Anchorage. Go to new faculty orientation. Anthropology faculty are frequently interested. Basic presence where they are has been really helpful.
- Idea for a bring a friend to work day for student assistants who work in the archives.
- Center for Jewish History. In-reach. Exhibit about historical cookbooks currently. To augment it they are having a historical bake-off, things like a jello mold with horse radish in it.
Go To’s for Outreach
- Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Vine, Instagram
- Movie Night
- Teach with primary sources
- Workshops – Like personal digital archiving. Sexier the better!
2. How do you measure success for outreach activities? What are your benchmarks?
3. That being said, what have been some of your outreach fails?
- Tours and talks to prospective students, was an uninterested audience.
- Library audio tour that said front doors of archives were kept closed to keep room cool.
- University of South Carolina – Twice they reached to every Chair in History and Political Science across South Carolina to generate research use. Reached out to 50 people, zero response. Hard to get faculty to break their patterns.
4. Who do you consider an outreach superstar (not just archives!)
- David Carmichael was on public radio talking about archives, was very impressive.
- Art Museum on Southern Illinois campus has a very vibrant community.