Love in the library, FamilySearch, and archivists

In this newsletter, I share my recent review of two fictional libraries, my current projects, and an upcoming archivist discussion, among much more!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a great week.

A couple days ago I continued my reviews of fictional libraries and highlighted two movies where love is sparked in a library setting: the 1998 movie, The Truman Show and the second Harold and Kumar movie. With that, if there’s any movies or shows you’d like me to write about, which have library scenes, let me know, as I can certainly do those next.

Apart from that and my research bust in researching Packards in Tennessee, I’d like to highlight my ongoing project, to learn more about FamilySearch’s use of prison labor to index records. I am using the site, MuckRock, where you can make public records requests. So far, I have had one success, in getting a copy of a contract Summit County (Utah) Jail has with FamilySearch, and I hope to get more copies of records in the coming days. But that isn’t the only project I have going on. I also have created a “virtual cemetery” on Find A Grave of U.S. slaveowners and those who stood against slavery, which anyone can add to, if they have a Find A Grave account, in an effort to counter adoring bios on the pages of slaveowners. Of course, schoolwork takes priority and I only do these projects in my free time.

I’d also like to point out a discussion by SNAP, the group of new archivists and professionals, happening tomorrow (with the #snaprt hashtag) where there will be a discussion of “age and power dynamics in the archival work environment” which sounds pretty interesting!

Otherwise, there are various articles I’d like to highlight. One is from the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, focusing on the groundbreaking ceremony of a major renovation and expansion project of the Truman Presidential Library. The second is a discussion of self-serve libraries. I’m relatively skeptical of them, although this article seems to try and portray them positively. It ties to the third article, a focus on how machine learning (a subset of A.I.) can be applied in archival settings.

Finally, I’d like to highlight a post by Rachael Woody who tries to counter devaluation of archivists not only by those outside the profession, but those inside the profession itself! This includes a response to SAA sessions, the importance of including a salary range on job postings, along with recommendations for what the SAA and SAA council can do to better support archivists.

That’s all for this week’s newsletter. I hope you all have a great rest of the week.

- Burkely