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Happy Archives Month

October 3, 2010

Happy Archives Month! I know, I can tell you are as excited as I am about Archives Month. So for those of you living in the United States, October is Archives Month, and for everyone else, please join in the celebration–just make sure to leave your party hats, glasses of champagne, and slices of celebratory cake outside of the archives.

To get you into the celebrating mood, check out this news release that the Smithsonian is celebrating Archives Month and then go sign up for the blog’s RSS feed to get awesome posts about archives every day for the rest of the month. Also, the California Digital Library recently rolled out local history mapped on Calisphere. These are awesome, pass on the news. And for more links, resources, and other stuff than you could possible imagine, check out the Society of American Archivists’ Archives Month page.

Now that you’ve had your fill of links to archives resources to share during the month of October, what will I add to the mix? I was going to talk about archives in general as being places of history, linking people with the past and important events in their collective histories, but then I happened upon this great TED Talk (thanks for highlighting it Lifehacker): How great leaders inspire action by Simon Sinek. Seriously, take the eighteen minutes and watch it. Really. I’ll wait for you; see, I’m not going anywhere.

Sinek’s talk inspired me and I hope it inspires you to think about not just what archivists do, but why we do what we do. Perhaps it will even inspire you to reach out and spread the word about archives to others who still think all archivists do is put papers in boxes.

Sinek said:
“Leaders hold a position of power or authority. But those who lead inspire us. Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves.”

Let’s use Archives Month to demonstrate to others that archivists can lead by inspiration. Let’s bring the value and meaning of archives out into the light of the public’s consciousness (even though we, of course, keep the archives in light-free environments).

I believe in the power of archives to inspire us, to help us remember the past, to help us right past wrongs, and to help us change the world. As an archivist, as a librarian, as an information professional, what do you believe in?

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