On Saturday: Going to MARAC Spring 2017

Guess who’s dipping a toe back into the professional waters?  THIS GAL!!

I’m heading to MARAC’s spring meeting in Newark. Yeah, Jersey!!!

But only for a day. The Saturday session. Because I can’t get too wild and crazy.


Anyhoo, MARAC (Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference)!! It’s a three-day event, April 20-22, 2017, that includes a day of workshops and committee meetings, a full day of concurrent sessions and more meetings, and finally a half day of sessions with some tours thrown in for fun. The overarching theme is Adaptable Archives: Redefine, Repurpose, and Renew.

I figure the notion of adaptability, redefinition and renewal meshed well with my status as an archivist on hiatus.

Let’s take a look at the few sessions I’ll be going in and out of while pretending to have my feet in the archiving world.


Since I don’t quite have a career direction at this point, some sessions I’m interested in have a self-help-ish quality to them. Session 17 “Learning to Make Lemonade: Transforming Obstacles Into Opportunities” presents alternate ways of viewing the many negatives that can befall an institution (layoffs, loss of funding, [insert disaster name here], etc.). I’m looking forward to learning how my fellow archivists have turned those frowns upside down and found rainbows in the gloom.


Session 20 “Discovering Primary Source Materials and Road Trip Tales” is concurrent with session 17 and, while I am looking forward to some professional positivity, this one just looks like fun. Archivists are a great big bunch of nerds who like exploring history and finding stuff. That’s what this session is about: finding stuff from all over, putting it together, and putting it to good use. (By the way, the Newark Archives Project is really neat.)

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In keeping with the self-help theme, Session 21 “Self-Help Organizing Strategies for Archivists” sounds like it will be like the group brainstorming sessions my Library Management professor in grad school used to hold. I expect to be sitting somewhere in the back with a large coffee and my knitting, listening and absorbing the words and thoughts of people who likely have a lot to get off their chests. Good times.


Session 24 “When Records Leave Home: Turning the Institutional Archive Outwards,” just seems interesting. I can’t pinpoint why I’m intrigued by this topic — maybe it’s because of my research on the New York State Athletic Commission’s papers and it’s interesting journey out of NYSAC’s hands and into the New York State Archives. Instead of session-hopping, I might be sitting in on the whole thing.

What do I hope to gain from attending MARAC Spring 2017? Insight into the profession, ideas and hope for the future. A glimmer of hope that my fading interest can still be sparked into something greater.

And swag. If I don’t learn anything, I want to walk away with at least a few good pens and some candy.


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