So, here I go throwing acronyms at everybody with my title. Something I find we do too much in libraries and archives – and I can confidently say in other professions too.
Yesterday I returned home from the Archives Association of Ontario Annual Conference in Windsor. The focus of the conference was on building partnerships and many wonderful and great ideas were put forth. I met so many colleagues who I could bounce ideas off and people I could learn from. Although it really was a very small conference it truly was a wonderful experience and I am delighted that I had the opportunity to attend.
The conference began on the VIA train for me – I quickly found out I was sitting beside a fellow archivist who would be attending the conference. I had felt so nervous to attend the conference for the first time, but this fellow archivist made me feel truly comfortable and introduced me to people every chance.
One really big point that was raised at the conference was the need of archives to talk to one another more and to know about what is going on so that we can help one another out. I think that this can really only come through greater communication among archival organizations and developing partnerships and strong communication between other cultural organizations too.
There are many partnerships available to us if we go out looking for them and are creative about it and really think about our needs and the needs of the individuals, organizations, associations we hope to partner with. When attempting to form a partnership, one must talk in words that the potential partner can understand and at the same time show confidence and legitimacy so that you can be trusted.
Examples of partnerships include working with libraries, museums, galleries, volunteers, universities, other archives, schools and government. Partnerships can be started for many reasons from acquiring funding, obtaining/sharing expertise and creating awareness of the role of the archives in the community. A partnership may be started to accomplish a single goal or may be much more long term.
I am very fortunate to be part of an archive with many partnerships – some informal, others formal. Partnerships are crucial to me in my position at work and without partnerships my job right now would not exist. The talk about partnerships was eye opening and fascinating. I really enjoyed the conference.
I wish I had brought a camera with me – there are some nice walking paths in Windsor that I explored while attending the conference and my hotel had a beautiful view of Detroit and the river – though sometimes it was admittedly quite noisy with ships passing by and with the Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup!
I am so fortunate to have a workplace that supports my learning and development by providing me with the opportunity to travel to this conference and am thankful for the people at the AAO for putting together a conference filled with learning opportunities and experiences and for providing me with the opportunity to meet friends and colleagues in this field.